Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: RESOLUTION (01/07/16)
- TITLE: Sappy sweet and comitted
By Francie Snell
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Paul knelt down and unzipped his father's shoe. "Size nine Dad?" he asked loudly as he slipped the shoe off Louie's foot.
Louie nodded. "Yeah, nine," he confirmed in a raspy voice.
The salesperson standing by ducked out of sight, then reappeared holding two boxes. "I brought a nine and a nine-and-a-half."
"Good. Let's try the nine first," Paul said as the man handed him the box. He opened it, pulled out a cowboy boot, and held it in front of Louie. "You like black Dad?"
"Yeah, black is fine."
Paul got down on both knees and carefully maneuvered the boot around Louie's foot, then gently pushed and tugged it up his calf as far as it would go. Louie feebly pushed with his leg, trying to assist in the effort.
"Too small," Paul said, slipping the boot back off. "Let's try the bigger size." He opened the other box lying on the floor next to him and took out another boot. After twisting, pushing and pulling, still he couldn't get the boot on Louie. "That won't work either." Appearing slightly frustrated, Paul looked up at the salesperson. "You got any cowboy boots with zippers?"
A puzzled expression came across the young man's face. "Nooo, not that I'm aware of. But let me check to make sure." The man disappeared around the corner again, and then was back. "Nope, no boots with zippers. Sorry."
Paul sighed and looked at Louie. "Well Dad," he said in a sympathetic tone, "it looks like you won't be getting your cowboy boots today."
Louie slouched, appearing disappointed. Cowboy boots were the first on his bucket list. "That's okay. The other boots you bought me will be just fine for now. I can get cowboy boots later," he said, with a tired smile.
Fitting a ninety-year-old man for cowboy boots proved more of a challenge than we expected.
Old age was reversing the parenting roles. It was the first time Paul took Louie for a haircut and bought him new shoes. I admired Paul's willingness, and gentle kindness, in taking on his new position as caregiver. I gained a new appreciation that day, and the days that followed, for the tenderhearted man God had given me.
It was throughout the next two weeks, just after the death of Paul's mother, when God revealed to me true patience, and what it meant to have a servant's heart.
Paul always made it first to the kitchen in the mornings to make coffee for him, me, and breakfast for Louie. When I entered the room, they'd be sitting at the table making plans for the day, creating a list of things for Paul to do.
The first was separating treasures from trash in the basement piled high with half a century's worth of collectibles. Then snow blowing the driveway was usually required before getting the ailing truck out of the garage and down the driveway. The truck lumbered down the icy roads to the donation centers, spurting oil most of the way. The other car was inoperable. "I'd like to get that one cleaned out and towed away," Louie firmly stated. The car was gone a few days later.
Every task on the list that covered an entire sheet of paper was completed. "Next visit, we'll get more done, okay dad?"
"Okay." Louie nodded.
Before I met Paul, I use to wonder why some couples, after years of marriage, chose to renew their vows to each other. The concept eluded me. How silly , I'd scoff in my heart. To me, it was nothing more than a sappy sweet public spectacle - sentimentality at its worst.
I didn't understand that thinking then, but I do now.
God provided me a life preserver in a stormy sea by giving me Paul. I didn't realize how much I really needed someone I could trust. But God knew. From California to Nebraska, distance proved no obstacle for God to make His match.
In mid-life, like matured fine wine, we were reserved for each other. God had saved the best for last.
Paul still holds my hand when he's driving, just as he did the first time more than thirteen years ago. It still warms my heart as it did back then, and I am committed to him more than ever.
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