Kindness Remembered

June 30, 2008
By Taila Hodge, Piketon, OH

Elwood Hyres had always loved helping others. He spent much of his life raising children that he had adopted. Having three young ones to raise many years ago was a busy task. Now, they had all moved on and were living their own adventerous lives. Since they lived so far away, he didn't get to see them as much as he would have liked to. They still came down to visit the caring, old man as much as they could though. Being a widow now that his wife had passed away had taken a toll on Elwood's life. He now had to farm alone for his living on a large ranch in the mountains of Kentucky. Dealing with harvesting his crops and raising his horses, cows, and chickens was quite a bit of work for seventy- year- old Elwood.
Then his worst fears became a reality one sad, Summer day. He had just returned from the hospital for a check- up, where his doctor diagnosed him with cancer and told him that he would be lucky to be alive in a year. There was nothing that they could do to cure his cancer, so his days were sadly numbered.
Elwood didn't know what to do or who to turn to. He was getting to weak to keep up with his ranch and farm, but he had to figure out something because his farm brought in his living. He felt hopeless, not wanting to ask anyone for help, even though the old man had always helped anyone in need.
One day, there was a knock at his door. It was his close neighbor, Dottie McClay, in which he had helped many times when she was a young girl. She had always been a sweet, charming girl with her golden- blond hair and caring blue eyes. Dottie told Elwood that she had heard about his hardships and was going to help him out everyday. She said that it was the least she could do to try and thank the old man for every thing he had done for her. Elwood looked at her with his caring eyes and thankfully hugged the young girl.
Day after day, Dottie worked from dawn to dusk on Elwood's ranch. He tried to help her as much as he could, but the old man was growing weaker and weaker each and every day. He eventually got to where he couldn't even get out of bed. Dottie still came though and even cleaned the old man's house and fed him three times a day.
A year had passed by, and Elwood was beginning to look more pitiful than Dottie had seen him ever before. She knew that his time would soon be coming to an end. She called all of his family to come and see him because she believed that they wouldn't get the chance to say goodbye otherwise. They all came along with Elwood's close friends and stayed with him until the very end. His last words were," Dottie, I could never thank you enough for your kindness, and you'll always be in my heart." Then the old man's voice died out, and his eyes slowly closed as he took his last breath. Sadness filled everyone's hearts, knowing that the caring Elwood was now gone forever.

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