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My Angel, Millie
I climbed the stairs to the third level, and was thinking how much easier it would have been to take the elevator.
My thoughts wandered as I heard children snickering and giggling from the balcony. My friends had gone home for the afternoon, while I stayed at the old church building. I had told my parents that I wanted to something that could help people. Being eleven years old, in my mind I was old enough to handle a big job.
This “big job” was to stay with my brother and help him at church.
Every Sunday, members of various nursing homes would come to church to hear the morning sermon. Afterwards they would receive lunch before heading back to where they lived.
I had gone to nursing homes before, but for a whole afternoon? That would be an adventure! I love helping people out, so being with people, for a longer time then I was used to, would be exciting!
After my brother had instructed me when to offer coffee to the people, he handed me an apron with two pockets. One pocket had cream and the other with sugar.
When the prayer had ended, I brought the coffee pot in the room and looked around. I saw over seventy-five people staring at me!
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked an elderly man in a bright, red wheelchair.
“Yes, I sure would, honey,” He replied in a happy voice. “Would you mind filling this one up to?”
He then pulled out a giant, travel mug from a pocket in his wheelchair.
Confused, I poured the coffee into the cup, smiled, and left without another word.
I served the rest with little to no conversation, trying to get the job done. The people commented on how pretty my pink dress was, or how I’d better be careful when handling hot coffee. But I remember there being one woman who stood out above the rest.
“Hi, sweetie. What’s your name?” The older lady asked. She smiled which showed a front tooth gone. She was wearing a yellow sweater with an orange shirt. On her right hand, she wore a red ring and a gold ring. On her left hand, she wore a sparkly, blue ring.
“My name is Jennie!” I replied, thrilled someone was talking to me.
We chatted until 1:30 p.m., while the woman was asking what my hobbies are, what my family is like, and other not too complicated things. She ended the conversation telling of her own family. She had said she was a seventy year old mother of three sons and two daughters. She was also a Grandma of six. The last time she had seen any member of her family was Christmas. This being October, I knew she hadn’t seen her family for at least ten months.
I sat with her and thought about what it would be like to not see my family for ten whole months. To not be woken up by the voices of my many siblings, to not see my brother’s baseball games in the summer, and not to even have a glimpse of them except for maybe a picture, for ten months.
As the lady was being wheeled to her bus, I noticed her purse dangling off the side of her wheelchair. The purse had a large M on it. I ran to her chair.
“I forgot to ask you,” I panted, out of breath. “What is your name?”
“Millie,” she replied.
“Millie,” I said back.
“Goodbye, Millie! I’ll see you next week!”
As the weeks went on and on, I got to know everyone who came each Sunday, and they got to know me.
Every week Millie and I would talk until 1:30 and every week we would depart with a smile.
Then one week, Millie pulled out a small, black, velvet box from her blue and green M purse.
“I want you to have this,” Millie said as she gave me the box.
I opened the box which revealed a beautiful cross necklace.
“Oh!” I cried, “It’s beautiful! But you don’t have to give me something.”
At first, Millie’s face was confused, and then it softened while breaking into a smile.
“But, sweetie, I want you to have it! You’ve always been so nice and have always cheered me up when I’ve felt down. Please, keep it.
Time went by and Millie and I became as close as ever! We were practically B.F.F.’s!
On a Sunday in January, Millie told me she was seeing more of her family and would not return on any future Sundays.
“I don’t understand,” I replied. Why would she be so happy to leave? Sure, she was seeing her family but she was like an adopted Grandma to me! We had known each other for over two years. I hid my face as I burst into tears.
“Oh, honey, don’t be so sad!” After saying that, Millie pulled off her blue ring and placed it in my hand. “Please keep this so you will always remember me.”
“No!” I almost shouted. “ You don’t have to give me something to remember you by because I will always remember you no matter what.”
“Please, I insist.”
I took the ring and placed it in the outside pocket on my purse.
I gave her a long hug and said, “Goodbye, Millie, and thank you.”
With that we departed. I haven’t seen Millie since that Sunday but still think of her every morning as I slip on the blue ring she gave me.
The truth is, you can never be too young or old to make someone happy. This seventy year old woman was making an eleven year old happy and vise versa. The two years I spent with Millie, have never been regretted. Missed, but not regretted. After she left, I started going to different nursing homes to cheer people up.
Please, never ever stop making people happy, or helping people out because you feel you can’t do it. Whatever the reason may be – age, shyness, anything. If you just give someone a smile, I guarantee, that they will smile back which will bring another smile. But, it has to start somewhere, so, why not start with you?