Steering around the corner with a car full of groceries, I caught a glimpse of her familiar frame. It was just one year ago, I admired her tending to her relatively spacious yard. Her aged, yet sturdy frame, logging in a day’s worth of physical labor. She always kept her yard pristine.
Today, she held a cane in one hand as she stood cautiously opening her mail box across the street from her home. She slowly turned and gingerly stepped over an incline. Her gait and her posture was much less steady than in years past. She was now in my rear view mirror and my heart raced for her safety. After all, this heat has been dangerous.
I anxiously pulled my car into our driveway, one block away. I hurriedly requested the kids to unload the car as I turned to leave, “I need to check on a neighbor.”
I approached her as she stood at her gate that she had just closed. She was very slow to proceed and her arm was resting over the metal bar. She was staring down at her swollen knee.
“Hi, my name is Mary.” I gently introduced myself. “I want to be sure you are Ok in this heat. Do you need anything?” I touched her forearm to be certain she heard me.
Her clear blue eyes met mine, “Oh!” She smiled kindly. “I have AC in there.”
“Thank goodness,” I responded relieved by this information. My mind scanned, “Do you need groceries?”
“My brother brings them to me tomorrow.”
I would learn a lot about my new friend, E, as I will refer to her now. She is 92 years young! She lives on her own, has never been married and is a resident of our town for over 80 years. She had five brothers who “watched out for her”, one of them to this day. She has not had the strength to care for her yard like she used to. I sensed her defeat in admitting that fact. “I need to get my son up here to help with that!” I offered.
I left so fulfilled by our chance encounter. I shook my head that I had not introduced myself sooner. All those times I drove by and admired her work ethic, I could have paused to say, “Hello! Your yard is beautiful!”
In the end, life is what you make of it. I am thankful to my friend, E, because she inspired me take a peaceful moment or two to write. It is here that my flowers come into full bloom.