The young girl got off the school bus in front of the big farm house. She walked up the driveway, hearing the crunch of gravel beneath her shoes. She turned at the sidewalk that led to the tiny side porch. The door opened…..
The elderly lady stood at the door, smiling. As the little girl got closer she could smell cookies. Sugar cookies. The older woman knew that the little girl loved her home made sugar cookies, warm out of the oven. She ushered the little girl inside to have a seat at her worn Formica kitchen table. The kitchen was warm and cozy. The woman quiet and kind. The girl happily munched on cookies while telling the woman of her school day. The older lady nodded and smiled. The girl asked about the horses, that she could see from the kitchen windows. The grandmotherly woman told stories about her Petunia and Judd and their antics. Sometimes the girl ran through the backyard and over to the fence near the big, red barn. She liked looking at Petunia and Judd up close.
After the sugary snack, there was much to explore…and the woman always let the little girl explore. There was a parakeet to say hello to, in the living room. There were three steps to “no where” in the living room, near the back porch door. The girl imagined it was a secret hideout, instead of what used to probably be a back stair case to the upstairs that had long been covered up. Then there was the organ in the parlor. It looked pretty sitting in there. Formal and quiet. The kind woman even let the young girl explore her bedroom and tiny bathroom, with all the colors from decades past. The bedroom was small, but warm with braided rugs on the floor.
The little girl enjoyed her visits. Time passed, the girl got older, and her visits were more sporadic. In 1982 the older woman became ill. She went to the hospital. The little girl was now a teen. She saw her friend in the hospital bed. Someone had tied a bright pink ribbon in the elderly woman’s snow white hair. A splash of color in an otherwise sterile room.
The little girl, was me. My friend was Mrs. Saylor. She was like a surrogate grandmother to me. To this very day when I make a trip back to the place of my youth, I cannot pass by her house without remembering her. She might be gone for many years now, but she lives in my memories….and in my heart.
Don’t ever think that you can’t make a difference in a child’s life. I know you can…just like Mrs. Saylor. All it takes is a cup of kindness, a heaping spoonful of time, a dash of a listening ear, and some really good sugar cookies to munch on.
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