Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mrs. E

“Never forget the days I spent with you. Continue to be my friend, as you will always find me yours.” Ludwig van Beethoven

Mary Alice has a good friend who lives across the street. She is funny and full of wit and charm. She is classy and interesting, just the type of person I like Mary Alice to be around. She and Mary Alice love to chat about world events, people, religion, all of the important things in life. They are kindred spirits. Her friend is Mrs. Eubanks. She is eighty years old.  

Mary Alice utilizes every opportunity to take over her latest kitchen creation for Mrs. Eubanks to enjoy. When she bakes a cake for our family, she remembers to bring an extra piece or two to share with Mrs. E.  In the summer, Mary Alice runs across the street and cheerfully knocks at the door.  Upon opening it, Mrs. Eubanks might find Mary Alice standing there holding  an “extra”  homemade  snow cone that she was excited to give to her special friend.  Mrs. Eubanks reciprocates, bringing a flower that she happened to buy from a local nursery, along with a newspaper article on the best way to grow marigolds, because she knew how interested Mary Alice was in starting a garden.  Mrs. Eubanks might drop by with a big batch of chocolate “sinful haystacks” for Mary Alice to share with our family. During the holidays, Mary Alice receives special gifts from her too.  Mrs. Eubanks is never stingy with her gifts. She remembers Mary Alice on every major holiday with something fabulous. Mary Alice loves to be around Mrs. Eubanks.  She is one class act.

Mrs. E isn’t like some eighty year olds I know. She’s what I call “with it.”  The woman drives a brand new Lexus with tons of amazing gadgets. She loves gadgets. She likes technology. She knows more about computers than most people my age.  She carries an iPhone. She isn’t the type of eighty year old who is set in her ways, but has grown and changed with the times.  She shops at Anthropologie, for goodness sake! She cares for her sickly husband and doesn’t leave her house as much as she probably would like, but is always dressed super cute, if for no other reason than that she’ll be walking to her mailbox that day. She is funny and delightful and can relate so well with my almost twelve year old girl that they are more like good buddies than like elderly woman and young girl. Mary Alice pays visits to Mrs. Eubanks regularly. Mary Alice adores her, because Mrs. E treats her like the mature person that she is. Mary Alice hates when adults patronize her or talk down to her.  Mary Alice had a friend over the other day. She and her friend went on a jog around the neighborhood. On the way back from the jog she and the friend stopped  by  for a little visit. Of course, Mary Alice had to take her friend by to meet Mrs. Eubanks.  Mrs. Eubanks always has a smile on her face and welcomes a visit from Mary Alice any time. She told me that seeing Mary Alice brings joy to her heart. She loves “that kid.”

It amazes me how close these two are! I was never like Mary Alice in that way. When I was her age, there is no way I would’ve wanted to spend time chatting with my elderly neighbor about life. I loved my grandparents and great-grandparents, but other than that, generally stuck to socializing mostly with people my own age.  Mary Alice is different. In some ways, she is an old soul.  My girl is the perfect combination of maturity and innocence.  In some ways, she boggles me with the mature way she handles and looks at life.  She really cares about people.  She can appreciate the beauty in people of every age. She loves all people, but she REALLY loves elderly people. I often wonder how God will use this during her life.  I know God has special plans for my tender servant hearted girl.

A few weeks ago we heard some sad news about our Mrs. Eubanks. She told us that she’d been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She’d been given a few months to live. Mary Alice was devastated. She thinks of Mrs. Eubanks as a close friend, even like a grandmother-type figure in her life.  

Mary Alice had to wait a few days to get over the shock of hearing the sad news and to give herself a chance to compose her thoughts and emotions before she paid Mrs. E a visit.  She knocked on the front  door. They talked and visited about life the way they always had. Then, as the visit came to a close Mary Alice stopped to ask Mrs. E a question. Mary Alice wanted to know one thing, “Mrs. Eubanks, I have to ask you something.  Do you know Jesus?  I just needed to make sure.”   Mrs. Eubanks smiled her big smile and gave Mary Alice the answer she needed to ease her worry.

“All my life, dear.  All my life.”

Yes, theirs is a friendship that will last forever.