Old Mrs. Wilson was the kind of person the kids on the 2700 block of Maple Street could depend on to come through with a glass of water on a hot day or a cup of cocoa on a cold one. If she was feeling up to it, maybe even some freshly baked cookies would appear! Everyone under the age of ten really thought she was neat. Mrs. Wilson thought it was the least she could do for them.
Always wanting children of their own, Herbert and Sarah Wilson never could seem to have any. Maybe that was for the best, Mrs. Wilson would think. Now she could appreciate the neighbor children even more. She felt pretty lonely nowadays. Herbert had passed on over three years ago, and Sarahs’ nearest living relative was Herberts’ younger sister, up in years herself, who lived about thirty miles away. Sarah hadn’t seen Nellie since the funeral.
Right after Herbert died, Sarah had had to sell his car to pay off the bills. Her social security check just didn’t go far enough to get another car. Mrs. Wilson had driven a bit now and then before Mr. Wilson died, but really didn’t care to drive anymore, anyway.
Wherever she wanted to go she would walk. She walked the four blocks to the grocer’s every other Friday afternoon to buy a few things. She didn’t buy too much because, for one thing, she couldn’t carry too much unless one of the kids walked along with her. Another thing was, she didn’t really eat that much. Oh, Mrs. Wilson knew she should eat better meals, but she never had the incentive to cook much anymore since Herbert was not there to fuss over. She did make sure she took her vitamins, though.
Mrs. Wilson loved to pass her time knitting afghans. Sometimes a neighbor lady would come over for coffee and find her in the middle of a really beautiful afghan. Mrs. Wilson picked such nice colors! Maybe the neighbor lady would like it so much that she would ask to buy it. Mrs. Wilson sold one every now and then, but she never pushed them onto anyone. If she accumulated two or three by the end of the summer, she could always give them to the church bazaar which took place every September. The money they made went to help the orphaned children in the poor countries. Each afghan brought them twenty dollars!
Mrs. Wilson never thought to wonder whether the money the church received for her afghans ever got to those poor countries or not, she simply took it for granted that it did.
Late one Friday afternoon some of the neighborhood kids knocked on her storm door, hopeful for some nice cold water mingled with some kind words from the nicest lady on the block. They walked away when there was no answer, wondering. They didn’t think too much of it, though.
While the kids went on with their games, one little girl stopped to ponder the incident further. She asked out loud whether any of the kids had seen Mrs. Wilson walk to the grocers yet that day, since it did happen to be Friday. No one had seen her leave. That was something hard to miss, since Mrs. Wilson took her sweet time to walk the length of their block, hoping one of the children would ask to come along. Usually one or more would tag along.
Well, you know how kids are. They don’t dwell upon a single thought more than a moment or two. So Mrs. Wilson was quickly forgotten in the midst of hide-and-seek.
The next morning Mrs. Pappas down the street decided to take some coffeecake over to Mrs. Wilson as she had just taken it out of the oven. It was so relaxing to sit and chat awhile with Sarah-down-the-street! A couple of hours could slide by so quickly!
Mrs. Wilson didn’t answer her door this morning to Mrs. Pappas who assumed she was in the back bedroom, her sunniest room, knitting or perhaps planning her newest project. So, since the door was unlocked, she let herself in, cheerfully calling out that coffeecake was being served now in the parlor!! But the house was too silent. The kind of quiet you only experience in a totally empty house.
Mrs. Pappas walked down the hallway in that neat, spotless home to the back bedroom. It was indeed sunny and bright in there! That was why, she was sure, that Sarah had chosen that room to begin her final afghan, in all the glorious colors of the rainbow. The smile on Mrs. Wilsons’ lips was not for Mrs. Pappas; indeed, it was for Herbert, on that bright Saturday morning. She was leaning back in her rocker surrounded by the life she loved, and now with the man she will love, forever.