Lunch had been carry-out from Timbers Grill just up 82.
Who would’ve thought the first day of February could be so pleasant? The temperatures had slingshotted from a low of nine degrees two nights before to a springlike mid-60s that afternoon.
Aubrey, Patricia, Sissy, Ann, and I had finished lunch at the picnic table on the carport. Anytime we’d have get-togethers at the house in Maplesville, we’d always eat outside if the weather was fitting.
Sure, our gathering that day had been small, but still, it was too pretty to eat inside…Daddy would’ve agreed.
Aubrey and Patricia had gone back to their house on Brown Lane…Sissy and Ann had gone in the house to get some rest…sleep had been hard to come by for all of us the couple nights before.
I was sitting in my usual straight chair on the carport when a vehicle I didn’t recognize pulled up in the driveway. A tall, slender lady opened the door and stepped out.
“You don’t remember me, do you?”
“Miss Addie, how in the world could I ever forget you.” She was the mother of Bernard, a high school classmate. I had often carried groceries out and pumped gas for her during the high school years I worked with Momma at Higginbotham’s.
She walked over and hugged my neck.
We shared a minute or two of pleasantries and I got caught up on Bernard. But we both knew why she stopped by…”I was so sorry to hear about Mr. Jim. How’d it happen?”
I recounted the events as I knew them at the time as Miss Addie shook her head and breathed an “Oh, my” a few times. I concluded with, “Only thing we could figger out, Miss Addie, is that he was goin’ to Clanton to gas up his pickup or buy groceries or somethin’.”
“I bet you didn’t know ev’ry time yo’ daddy would go buy his groceries at Walmart, if I was workin’ he’d come find me at my cash register and get me to check him out.”
“No, ma’am. He didn’t ever mention that.”
“Drivin’ over here, I was thinkin’ about how I always loved seein’ yo’ daddy’s biiig, pretty, green gardens all those years when he’d have one. He ain’t had one lately that I remember?”
“Not since Momma died. No, ma’am.”
“Well, lemme say this. I know you and yo’ brother’s sad and you gonna miss yo’ daddy.”
I couldn’t say anything…just nodded.
“Be encouraged. Yo’ daddy’s done hoed his row to the end. We got to keep on workin’ ours.”
She walked over to me and hugged my neck one more time…didn’t either one of us say another word to each other even though I tried to get a “Thank you” out before she got back in her car. But the sound didn’t make.
Miss Addie couldn’t’ve said anything better…not a thing.
I told Aubrey, Patricia, Sissy, and Ann about the visit and they were just as moved. I even asked Junior to include Miss Addie’s declaration in his remarks during Daddy’s service the next day.
Those three sentences gave me chills that warm Saturday afternoon…and truth be told…they still do.
I’ve talked about Miss Addie and her words of encouragement on social media a couple times and in person many more…I also alluded to them in my first post here at Stretchin’ from Here to Pletcher – “91.” So…this story’s not new to a lot of y’all.
You can see what brought Miss Addie to mind and led to this post by looking at the picture and the words my friend Karen shared with me this past weekend. She’s a social worker in a hospice care facility in Texarkana, Arkansas.
Karen does God’s Work.
And on that first day of February in 2014, Miss Addie did God’s Work.
Steve Latham – May 11, 2017