"Sit Awhile"
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My paternal grandmother lived with us from the time I was born.  She died when I was 14, but the impressions
she made on me were lasting and strong.  She had developed polio as a small child.  This was many years
before treatments of any kind had been discovered and few children survived the disease.  But my little
grandmother - as an adult, she was only 4'10" in her stocking feet - beat all the odds.
Despite her disability - a withered right leg that made walking a real challenge, and pain all of her life - she went
on to marry, bear four children, raise them and lead a productive life, with none of the advances in medicine,
treatment or life-help products that are now so useful to people with disabilities.  She refused the help of even a
cane in the house, leaning on the furniture as she made her way from room to room.  The strongest pain
medication I ever saw her take was an occasional packet of BC powder.  I don't recall Grandma complaining
about her lot in life, which - especially as she aged and walking became extremely difficult - would've been
My mom went to work when I was 2 years old and my grandmother looked after me.  By that time, making her
way down the 4 or 5 steps from the house was an ordeal she seldom attempted, the exceptions usually being
only church and doctor's appointments.  So, she didn't see a lot of the outside world.  And, because she was my
caretaker when I was small, neither did I.  As a result, I have her to thank for my love of reading and history.
because a big part of our day was devoted to reading books and Grandma's stories about her ancestors.
Every day, in good weather, we'd take our books to the front porch.  She'd pretend to read, but - I later realized
- she had another goal besides reading in mind.  She would waylay neighbors who passed by as they went on
their daily errands and invite them onto the porch for a chat.  There was a little grocery store on the corner, so
there was a good bit of foot traffic.  Sometimes people only had time for a quick hello, but, sometimes, they'd
haul their bags of groceries to the porch and sit and talk.  Grandma would supply the coffee and some of my
mom's homemade donuts and the neighbors would supply the news.  (Grandma had her own news network long
before CNN.)
When they'd start to leave, she'd smile an endearing smile and say, "Oh, don't go yet.  You just got here.  Sit
awhile!"  Between the smile and the donuts, not many people refused.
Every time I see rocking chairs on a front porch, I think of my grandmother.  I remember the things she taught
me.  And I remember that - since she couldn't go out into the world - she had to find a way to bring the world to
And she did.  -- Nancy
Drop a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone;
But there's half a hundred ripples circling, on and on and on...
Spreading, spreading from the center,
There's no way of telling where the end will be when they are done.

Drop a word of kindness to your neighbor, just a flash and it is gone;
But there's half a hundred ripples circling, on and on and on...
Bearing hope and joy and comfort on each splashing, dashing wave,
Till you wouldn't believe the volume of that one kind word you gave.
-- Rebecca Ryl
Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine

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