My mother was doing some organizing around Christmas last year and stumbled upon a few items she had long thought missing and one in particular she had not ventured to find. My grandmother's best friend was a quiet lady who had worked with her for many years in a local factory. Each year they exchanged Christmas gifts, like the pair of crocheted red, green, and white stockings that hang in our home around that time of year.
Among the photos and affects was a sheet of old notebook paper, signed at the bottom, belonging to my grandmother's best friend. It was probably a gift from her to my grandmother, and one she treasured for having kept it for so very long. Below is the poem she wrote out, word for word, and without edit. This story is meant to read as a poem, and written by Mary Dow Brine. The poem speaks of the wonderful values of care and love for others.
The woman was old, ragged and gray and bent with chill of the winter day. The street was wet, with the recent snow the woman's feet were aged and slow.
She stood at the crossing and waited long, alone uncared for amid the throng of human being who passed her by, nor heeding the glance of her anxious eye.
But down the street with a laughter and shout glad in the freedom of school let out. Came to the boys like a flock of sheep, Hailing the snow piled white and deep.
Passed the woman so old and gray hasting the children on their way nor offering a helping hand to her so meek so timid afraid to stir lest the carriage or the horse's feet Should crowd her down the slippery street. At last, came one of the merry troops the gayest laddie of all the group, He paused beside her and whispered low I'll help you across if ye wish to go.
She placed her hand on his strong young arm. Safe and so without hurt or harm, he guided her trembling feet along proud that his own were firm and strong.
Then back again to his friends he went his young heart happy and well content. She's somebody's mother boys you know for all she's poor and aged and slow, and I hope some fellow will lend a hand to help my mother you understand if ever she's old and poor and gray and her own dear boy is far away and somebody's mother bowed Low her head in her home that night and the prayer she said was God be Kind to the Noble boy who's somebody's son of pride and joy.
The paper held a date of 1997, just a few years before my grandmother passed in 2005. Her best friend proceeded her in death some years later, but we still have such fond memories of them both. Gifts like this mean more than all the money in the world, and the stories behind them teach generations what is truly important.
Letter written 1997, photo by Stacy N. Hawks (c) 2020