Well I had it on the calendar to read Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. I’m sure I have probably read that at some point in my life, but I don’t remember. I found it on the internet and thought, “gee, was it really that short and yet so powerful?”.
When I was a kid I had to stay with my Grandparents a couple different times. One of those times, my mother had broken her hip, sledding and spent quite a bit of time in the hospital. It was a traumatic time. My Dad and I came down the big hill after my Mom and her friends and I remember seeing her laying in the snow, by a station wagon, that had a huge dent in its side. I don’t remember how she got to the hospital, but it could very well have been in the back of that car I think. It was the 60’s.
Mom was in the hospital for several weeks and then because she was in a full body cast, they set up a hospital bed at my Grandparent’s house and we both stayed there. My Dad lived at our house, went off to work every morning and then came to visit us at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.
My room at my Grandparent’s house was a bed in the sewing room. I know I have written this story more than once, but it’s Lincoln’s birthday today and it also would have been my Grandma’s 102nd birthday. She’s only been gone for two years. Yes, she just made it to 100 years of age, before dying just 5 days later on the 17th of February, the same date as her sister so many years before her.
Grandma’s way of making that room special for me was hanging a picture of Abraham Lincoln over my bed. I do remember she and I have conversations about old Abe, the President. I just don’t remember all that we talked about. The thing is since that time at my Grandparent’s house I’ve always held on to that part of the memory of staying there. I remember very little of my mother in her full body cast. Grandma said she wasn’t a very good patient, but then I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lay still that long. I know what it feels like to have your mother take care of you when your an adult, because my Mom helped take care of me when I was very sick with my cancer treatments. You are grateful for their care, but its a bit humiliating to be in such a position that you need all kinds of help.
So long story I don’t think is terribly short, that is why I wanted to read Lincoln’s Gettysburg address today and I did read it. However in the wee hours of the morning I woke up and thought about a conversation I had with an older woman of color (I only mention her skin tone because of the whole Abe Lincoln story, because I try not to notice skin tone and do try to notice what is in one’s heart). Her name is Alice she works at the local Walgreen’s. That’s the only way I know her. Every time I go in and she is there, she always says “Hello Jerri Lynn”. I like the tone of her voice and how she says it. I like that she makes me feel like I’m worth noticing when I come through the door. She always does this and if I come to the counter to make a purchase she always talks to me. This seems to come so easily to her. I admire her for that because it’s difficult for me to speak to people I don’t know. I’ve gotten better about it, but I still get a bit of churning in my stomach. I’m quite sure she doesn’t do this just for me, but others who come into the store regularly.
So yesterday Alice and I talked while I bought my Almond Joy. She asked me if I was ready for Valentine’s day and I told her this was why I came into the store to look for something for my husband and here I was with just an Almond Joy in my hand for me. She said she was quite sure she wasn’t getting anything for Valentine’s day and I asked her if she hadn’t been good. We laughed a bit and I went on my way. So at 3:00 or so this morning, I thought to myself, she is such a nice person, why wouldn’t she get a valentine’s day gift. I have no idea if Alice is married or if she has any children or if she has any friends. I can’t believe she doesn’t have friends. I decided to be her Valentine and give her a gift. I don’t know why at 3am this came to me, but I knew in my heart it was what I really wanted to do today. I have NEVER done something like this before. At least not that my fuzzy brain remembers!
I went to Hobby Lobby and found a little wall hanging that read, “Bless Your Heart”. I knew that was what I needed to buy. Alice has a big heart, I’m sure of it. People come into my life in different ways and help me be a better person. She took it upon herself to remember my name from my Walgreen’s card and speaks to me like she knows me every time. Some of it I know is job related, but not knowing my name. She is the only one who does that! So this was my new thing for today. I’m not even sure what to call it, but suffice it to say I gave a Valentine’s gift to Alice, the kind woman who just happens to work at my Walgreens and I’m missing all my Grandparents and my Mom today and it felt right to do something nice for someone I really don’t know anything about. I don’t know how old Alice is, I’m pretty sure she’s older than me and so if I could pick a “Grandma” with both of mine gone. I’d pick Alice. Go do something new.