Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Handout (04/14/11)
By Connie Dixon
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The only variation to her simple wardrobe was an occasional new patch, sewn to her hand washed, pink cotton dress. Marge loved to show up five minutes before the doors were unlocked to greet all of her shelter friends with a hug and a kiss. We estimated her age to be about 50 years old or more…but deciphering the age of a Down’s syndrome adult is tricky. She didn’t remember her birth date, or so she said.
The staff at Circle of Love depended heavily upon their volunteers and on Marge in particular. When the other helpers needed job instructions, they automatically searched for their favorite singing phenomenon. She was the engine that drove the train and everyone knew it…everyone but Marge.
After the Thanksgiving meal had been prepared and served to over 300 guests – and the dining hall was returned to its spotless condition, staff members crumpled onto hard benches placed around the center’s white picnic tables. Marge, always the last volunteer to leave, quietly made her exit through the front door. Soon someone noticed a brown purse near the coat rack and yelled out, “Marge, your purse…” By now she was half-way down the block. Billy, our custodian, grabbed the bag and ran out the door, “Marge…MARGE!”
A few minutes later Billy was back – still holding the tattered handbag. Before I could ask the question, he blurted out the answer, “She disappeared.”
“What do you mean – disappeared, Billy?”
“I mean she vanished. I almost caught up to her, but she ducked around the corner. When I reached the end of the building, she was gone.”
Searching the purse for an address or phone number I pulled out a small leather wallet. Dumping its contents on the counter revealed more about Marge than I wanted to know…two quarters, a dime and seven pennies. A closer look into a zipped pocket exposed her seemingly one and only treasure, a Portland Library card issued to Marge Smith…no address, no phone number…nothing.
Today when Marge did not show up, I called the police. Filing a vague missing persons report did not bring a lot of empathy from Portland’s finest. They took her name and description and told us they’d call if they heard anything.
James, our resident college student, had been reading a book called NOW I BELIEVE IN HEAVEN. “It’s about this guy who drowned, but was brought back to life by some fishermen. While he was dead, he went to Heaven and the angels were there to greet him – thousands of them – singing like, umm…angels. He said it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen or heard. Jesus was there, high-fiving the front row of singers as He passed by. Then the author stated a most amazing thing…all of the angels looked as if they had Down’s syndrome. Occasionally these angels were born and raised on earth, but they usually didn’t stay very long because they couldn’t wait to get back to the choir.”
I smiled at the thought of Marge – back in the heavenly chorus singing, glory and honor and praise to our God. I miss her.
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