Laura paused at the base of the hill and shifted a cast iron pot to her other hand. She had been nursing her elderly neighbor for several months. The arduous trek from her house at the bottom of the hill to the one at the top occurred several times a day. She squinted at the Georgia midday sun, hiked up her skirt, and climbed to the top. A moss-covered path led to a ramshackle house. Laura turned the porcelain knob, pushed open the weather-beaten door, and rushed to the kitchen to deposit her weighty load on the table. As she headed toward the bedroom, she heard a man’s voice.
Laura tapped on the door then entered. Dr. Adler sat on the edge of Miss Abby’s bed with his stethoscope against her chest.
“It’s bad, isn’t it Doc?” Miss Abby croaked.
“Well, I won’t lie to you. You have congestive heart failure. Your heart is worn out.”
“Like the rest of me.” Miss Abby cackled, followed by a coughing fit. “What . . . do you expect . . . I’m ninety-five?” She gasped.
Dr. Adler turned to Laura. “Are you giving her the medicine as I directed?”
“Yes sir. Every four hours.”
Miss Abby turned toward Laura with a raised hand. “Angel Girl . . . has too much to do.
She should be . . . spending time . . . with her friends, not with . . . a poor old hag.”
“Oh No, Miss Abby; I won’t leave you.” Laura reassured her bending to kiss her cheek.
Dr. Adler placed his stethoscope back inside his black bag and stood.
“Miss Abby, I’ll stop by later. Laura, walk with me to the door.”
“Laura, I know you are loaded down with the responsibility of caring for your invalid mother but you are all Miss Abby has to help her. I appreciate your devotion to her these past months. She is not long for this world. I’ll stop by later this evening. In the meantime, continue to give her the medication.”
Dr. Adler started to leave then turned to Laura and said, “Oh, by the way, how are you and your mother doing since your father died?”
“Very well. Mama uses that wheel contraption you gave her to get around in the house.”
“Good, I’m sorry the car accident left her legs paralyzed but I’m glad she is using the wheelchair for mobility. You would make a dandy nurse, Laura.”
Dr. Adler glanced at his watch. “I have to get back to the city. See you later.”
Laura watched Dr. Adler disappear over the hill. Yes, I would like to be a nurse but with Daddy gone, no money, and the Depression, it’s just not possible.
Back inside Laura found her charge sound asleep. Two hours later, she fell into a coma. That evening as a cool breeze blew through the window, Dr. Adler and Laura witnessed Miss Abby’s last breath.
* * * * *
Two days later, as Laura cleaned Miss Abby’s house she answered a knock at the door. A tall, dark haired man with a brief case removed his hat.
“I’m Floyd Ellison, Miss Abigail Riley’s attorney. Are you Laura Brown?”
“May I come in? I need to talk with you.”
“Oh yes . . . please . . . and have a seat.” Laura stammered, wandering what in the world he wanted to talk with her about.
“I have a nice surprise for you, Miss Brown. Miss Riley left you all her property—the house, twenty-five acres, and five hundred dollars. The house is not worth much, but the land is valuable. I have a buyer if you want to sell.”
Laura was speechless for a moment. “I didn’t expect to receive anything for taking care of Miss Abby. I was blessed to know her.”
“She was very fond of you. She said you were a perfect example of how a Christian should live. Miss Abby wanted you to have an opportunity to go to nursing school.”
Laura dabbed her eyes with the sleeved of her dress. “I thought my dreams to be a nurse were just that—dreams.”
“Life is full of endless possibilities.” Mr. Ellison said as he rose from his straight back chair. “I have to leave now but I’ll be in touch.”
Laura leaned against the closed door. ”Thank you, Lord. All things truly are possible with You.”
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