She was a beauty in her day.
I've known her for thirty years.
She was well into her 50's when I met her.
My wife and I were 30, moving into our new home.
She and her daughter were to be our new next door neighbors.
Mary had a flair for elegance, wit, and fashion.
She always gave my wife home made cookies, or spaghetti sauce for me.
She knew I loved these gifts.
I was there for her when she needed repairs on garbage disposals or hot water heaters. Sometimes, bad light switches, or heavy boxes were in my routine.
She needed my help, because she was a widow.
Now, she is in her late 80's.
She doesn't go out anymore.
I rarely see her, or bother to visit.
A home health aide nurse is by her side during the day.
Her daughter has a day time job. She never married.
I received a phone call today.
Mary had fallen, and instructed her nurse to call me.
When I opened the door, Mary smiled at me from the floor of her kitchen.
The walker stood without her.
Mary looked like an impish, dark haired, raggedy-ann doll.
Mary's dark wig was askew.
We both laughed at the situation.
As small and frail as she was, I had a hard time getting her in her chair.
I'm getting older now too, I guess.
I didn't want to hurt her.
I remember how the EMT's hurt my mom, when they picked her up off a gurney and flung her on her hospital bed.
I remember how angry I was. I gave them hell, and glad I did!
We finally got Mary in a sitting position, in one of her kitchen chairs.
I kissed her on the cheek, and told her to call me anytime.
She didn't say too much. I think she has difficulty speaking now.
She cracked her famous smile, and pointed to a corner on her kitchen countertop. There sat a plate of freshly baked, chocolate chip cookies.
I cried on the way back to my house, next door...
but I felt full of love.