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Joy in the Journey

July 11, 2013

by Linda Beerman
In animal heaven a cat sat by the pearly gates. God asked her if she had been a good cat. Yes, of course, she had. She was led to her heavenly home and settled in. Several days later she was asked if everything in her new accommodations was to her liking. She had no complaints at all. Along this same time some mice came to live in eternity too. After assuring the gate keeper that they had been good mice, they were also given a wonderful home. Later, when asked how they were liking heaven, they said it was great, but it was so far for them to travel from one end to the other. So they were given some roller blades. What a change and they loved it! A few days later, upon talking with the cat, it was discovered that she now had some problems because of the "meals on wheels"...they were much harder to catch!!

This story made me smile as I reflected on my last week of delivering Meals on Wheels in Worthington. It proved to be an enjoyable time for me to meet some new people, and even reacquaint myself with some old friends from yesteryear! I ended up taking my parents with me on two of the final days to visit with two gentlemen that have been their friends for sixty plus years. When I saw their names on my route, it brought back many old memories of growing up in Bigelow and attending junior and senior high school in Worthington.

Pete lives in a house that he built himself from wood from the old ice house in Worthington over sixty years ago. When they were tearing it down, he asked what they were going to do with the lumber. He was told he could have it if he wanted it. So he went to work, along with some friends, and built his home where he raised his nine children and still resides today. Seeing his dark glasses as his wife welcomed me into their kitchen, she told me he has been blind for ten years. Just like my dad, he suffers from macular degeneration. He and his first wife lived next door to my parents in what were called the "G I houses" after World War II. That is how they met. Pete is 90 and worked as a policeman and then at Armours Meat Packing Plant in Worthington over the years.

My parents enjoyed their two hour visit there so much! I got in on a little bit of the history while they talked about the young families in those little houses, and even the rats that made their homes around there too! My dad shared how he got rid of those by using poison in some hamburger after the rats got used to coming to eat it a few times. I was only a few months old at the time, and I think I am glad I didn't know about the rodents. The rent there was about twenty-five dollars a month, and many former soldiers and families made their homes there for awhile.

Just down the street in another house I knocked on the door and found George. He was a farmer near Bigelow in the fifties, and his son and I were school mates. My dad, being a butcher, had slaughtered animals on his farm. Would you believe that after George and I visited awhile, he said he had a picture of me sitting with his son on the front step of their farm house. His wife had taken it while my dad was busy working there. We were about five years old. Two days later he showed me the picture, and now I have a copy of it too. I was impressed that he not only remembered it, but could find it!!

George loves to visit, and since he lost his wife about four years ago, he enjoyed our time of chatting and "catching up" He is 94 and takes care of his home by himself. He likes doing his own cleaning and also enjoys his own cooking. He was about to make rice krispie bars one day, and I saw his handwritten recipe on the table. He wanted to take them when he went to visit his son. Probably the most amazing story that George told me was about his growing up years near George, Iowa. He wanted to go to school, but you couldn't go unless you had shoes. The school building was 1 1/2 miles from their farm, but his shoes were too small. So he walked barefoot to and from school, and would put the hurting shoes on only when he entered the building. After wearing them all day, he said it felt so good to take them off for the walk back home! He told me that even the winter that year was without snow, so he could still walk with his feet uncovered. I asked him if his feet got cold. He said, yes, but it wasn't that bad.

The stories from the generations older than me are just fascinating to me. I wish I could put them all somewhere to keep so they don't get lost in the passing days. I am happy to be able to take time to serve many of those who need help in one way or another. It might be a blessing to them, but it certainly brings happiness back to me also.

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