It was a delicious day! Humming birds flitted about Granny Gray’s feeder. Doves cooed contentedly in the shade tree, while occasionally delighting Granny with their antics in the bird bath. Gray Boy, Granny huge cat, played hide-and-seek in the tall Ruella in her flower bed.
The town always laughed about Granny Gray’s name. There was nothing gray about Granny. Her hair was an explosion of white, and her eyes sparkled with the joy of deep contentment. Her demeanor, her attitude, and her zest for life were far from gray. Granny Gray was a town treasure, open to all who came to her.
Peas plunked into the bowl as Granny shelled them one by one. She ran her finger down the condensation on her tea glass before taking a deep drink of the cold, sweet liquid. She closed her eyes, thinking deep thoughts that brought a smile to her face. When she opened her eyes, Jolene was coming up her walkway, baby Katie on her hip and little Ben running full tilt for her arms.
After his hug, little Ben ran to find Gray Boy. With a deep sigh, Jolene sank into the chair beside Granny. Granny busied herself filling a glass with ice and pouring sweet amber liquid into it. Jolene took a deep drink, closed her eyes and shook her head.
“I was so excited about Katie’s birth, but ever since we’ve had her, life’s been a nightmare. I wanted little Ben to enjoy his sister, but my sweet little boy has become a monster who seems to hate Katie. I don’t even know him any more! I don’t even like him any more!” Jolene’s voice shook with the depth of her frustration.
Granny got the look on her face that told everyone who knew her that she had gone back in time. She mumbled softly, “My Roger did the same thing when Jake was born. I learned why people use the term ‘Tear your hair out!’ Nothing I said made any difference. He just got angrier, more difficult and harder to live with.”
Jolene didn’t say a word. She knew better.
“I remember that very day. I was exhausted, and Roger was on his third temper tantrum of the day. Mrs. Starnes, my pastor’s wife, came by for a visit. It took her only a few moments to understand my need, then she bestowed upon me the best advice I’d ever been given! I couldn’t wait for Mrs. Starnes’ visit to be over, so I could escort her out the door. I was that eager to begin experimenting with her advice. Finally, I had my chance!
“My Roger was seated on the couch where he had been all during Mrs. Starnes’ visit. His feet were on the couch, his arms wrapped around his knees; a hideous scowl deforming his face. I began rocking Jake gently, cooing in his ear, ‘That’s your big brother, Roger. He’s going to be your best friend ever--and your hero. He’ll teach you to play baseball and football. He’ll even teach you to catch crawdads in the creek.’
“Roger’s arms loosened around his knees, and although he did not look in our direction, he cocked his ear our way. The cooing and rocking continued, ‘You’re not much fun for Roger now, but soon you’ll be walking and laughing. Roger’s very funny! I’m sure he’ll tease you a lot, so you’ll have to be a good sport.’
“Jake wiggled with pleasure at the cooing tone of my voice. ‘You’re going to have to realize that Roger is the big brother, and you’re the little brother. Then too, there may be times when the neighborhood kids are too rough for you, and Roger will have to defend you. He’ll take good care of you, I know!’
“Roger’s scowl disappeared and a tiny little grin played at the corners of his mouth.”
Suddenly Granny was back with Jolene, though little wisps of memories remained in her eyes. “I have confidence in you, Jolene! You’ll do the right thing with your kids! God will show you the way!”
Jolene drained the last of her tea as she stood and hitched little Katie onto her hip. She hugged Granny and kissed her on the cheek, then she rushed down the sidewalk, calling for little Ben.
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