"THE WEALTH OF CARING"

 The wind was cold and the temperature dropping at a fast pace added only to the bone chilling fact that living on the streets and being a senior held no merit whatsoever.

As Emily sat within her cardboard shelter piled on top were the usual plastic garbage bags and broken odd pieces of concrete blocks all this hoping to dispel at least a bit of winter's blast.  But, try as one may it most certainly was no place for anyone to be, let alone a elderly lady in her 80's.

As she sat listening to the howling winds Emily let her mind drift back to happier times as a young girl playing in her family's garden with her sisters, and later on growing up into a sought after lovely young lady.  She smiled softly, yes oh yes those were happy times, gone now, so fast and much too quickly.

She thought also of her beloved husband who had been gone now some 9 years, she missed him so and his kind and gentle ways.  She thought also of the children they had tried to have, but to no avail for it was not meant for Emily to give birth.

Yet, it never deterred the love that existed between her and Matthew.  He would have been aghast to see where his sweet wife now had to live on the streets.  Barely surviving day to day at her present age.

The terrible sadness of it all was with Matthew's health deteriorating for so long, and the cost for professional help had by the time of his demise taken almost all of their savings.  The house paid for his funeral, and other debts.  Thereby leaving poor Emily with only a few hundred dollars by the time all was paid.

Then with her medications needed for both her blood pressure and heart all was gone save for a few scraps of food.  She at least had a durable cart with a waterproof case to keep her blankets and comforter dry and what few personal items she packed in neatly and tightly.

They say that the drunks and druggies are the scum of the earth etc., whoever they are; but nonetheless even though sometimes without themselves they did take pity on this elderly lady and were very protective of her.  They also if given a few bucks saw that she had at least something to eat.  This was her saving grace and for these lost souls Emily every night offered up a blessing and forgiveness prayer for them.

Such different associations like the Salvation Army, the Mustard Seed, etc. got to know Emily as of late and they too saw to it she always had a bowl of good nourishing soup and a sandwich to eat.  She counted her blessings albeit they were small, but yet she was thankful just the same.

One day while she was sitting in a park a very well dressed middle aged man sat down beside her.  He was by all intents and appearance seemed to be well off.  He looked at Emily and within him memories of his own dear mother now past away, she would be about the same age.  As he gazed at her for sometime Emily smiled that sweet, gentle smile so loved by her dear Matthew at him.

Please maam, pardon me being nosey, but how on earth did a lady like yourself come to this end, it is unspeakable for anyone let alone an elderly lady such as yourself.  Emily just smiled and then told him of her story, he listened intently hanging on every word.  When she had finished he was shocked, totally and completely.

I can hardly believe what you just told me, it's a damn disgrace, pardon my language maam.  But, it is, this is abominable and something needs to be done about the whole political side of this. Well sir, it does exist and not just with me, but with many.  It is the day and age we live in, I think they call it progress, and she laughed a little.  I do the best I can, and thank god for the street folk be they drunks or druggies or like me homeless.

Why on earth would you give thanks for them, they brought it on themselves for the most part he spoke out.  Well you see sir, they look out for me and respect my age and see I get a bit to eat each day if I have nothing.  So the way as I see it now is there still is a bit of good in the worst of folks, and this is what I see in them.

The man smiled, this elderly lady had the wisdom of age and both experience, hard experience too.  My name is Justin Chambers maam, I beg your pardon for not introducing myself sooner it was rude of me.  Think nothing of it Justin, pleased to meet you dear, and you can call me Emily.  Justin rose up, please forgive me little mother, but I must be off to a business meeting soon, but thank you for telling me your story.  I may just see you again soon here in the park.  Take care and god bless you.

Emily smiled as Justin kissed the back of her knarled, aged hand, he was a true gentleman.  Thank you dear and you take care too bye for now.  Days past and the weather got worse as if that were possible, snow, ice and bitter cold.  Emily took sick, very sick, and one of the street folks got the ambulance for her, they took her to the charity section of emergency of the town's hospital.

She had congestive heart problems and pneumonia, and was not good at all.  She seemed to slip in and out of consciousness and did not fully understand all of what was going on around her.  Nonetheless, one of the street folk would clean themselves up and visit her each day to make sure she knew they cared, whether or not she would remember.  All this did not go unoticed as one, Justin Chambers had searched all over for the little mother he had met in the park, and was told be another homeless lady where she was.

Days past into weeks and finally Emily awoke to a bright sunny day the sun shining into her own private room, complete with all the features one could imagine.  She looked downs at herself, as much as she could see and she had on an expensive nightie, and a lovely houserobe lay across the foot of the bed and the room was fit for a queen.

A nurse came in to take her temperature, well good morning Mrs. Chambers and how are we this fine morning.  Emily wondered why she called her Mrs. Chambers, but was too tired to protest.  I'm feeling a bit better thankyou dear.  Good, you are doing so much better now you are on the new antibiotics and should be up and about in no time at all.  Oh yes, your son should be in to see you later this afternoon, he has come every day just to sit and be with you the nurse spoke as she left the room.

What on earth is that young lady prattling on about I don't have a son, and am not who she thinks I am, but am too tired to worry about it now.  With that Emily gave into the healing sleep.  When she wakened again she felt more like her old self, the sleep had worked it's magic.  Sitting in a chair across from her book in hand was the man from the park, Justin Chambers now what was he doing here.

Hello there Mr. Chambers, Emily spoke and a somewhat startled Justin looked up into that dear smiling face he had remembered from weeks long since past.  Well hello there yourself little mother, your looking good, I'm pleased.  It's been a long battle you put up, guess your one tough little lady he smiled, and I'm sure glad you are.  Have I been sick long Justin.  Yes dear you have, but your on the mend now thank god.

The nurse called me Mrs. Chambers before I dozed off, and you my son.  I was going to tell her that I'm not she or your mother, but I fell back asleep.  That's okay Emily, I had you moved here from the charity ward and put you in a private suite.  Good lord Justin how am I going to pay for all this?  Your not, I already have and before you say anything, remember it's not just the street folk who care about you, now I do too he smiled at her.

Oh you are a dear, sweet man Justin but it's too much, way, way too much to just shell out for old me.  It's done and over with now little mother so just let it go please.  Alright if you say so, but I am most grateful to you for all your kindness and I would be very proud if you really were my son.  Well, I may not be of your blood Emily but can't see any reason why you can't adopt me, even if I am a tad big.  Then they both laughed.  Alright then Justin your my newly adopted son, she said with that sweet smile and he once again kissed her hand.

Well that was now a few years ago that all of this took place, two people brought together by fate, different ages, different monetary levels, but just the same both of a good and kind heart.

Now, Emily is truly Justin's adopted new mother and has resided in his lush estate for 3 years now, since her discharge from the hospital, and she is also grandma to his two little daughters whom she loves dearly and cares for.  Justin as it turned out was a widower and a very wealthy business man with his own corporation.  He felt he had been blessed with the wealth he incurred from his company and also with the meeting of Emily, now his little mother.

So, now all of them live each day thankful for all the blessings they have found, and do much work for the homeless and other folk in need.  It's a way of perpetuating the joy they all found by a chance meeting one day so long ago now in the park.  Emily smiled as her new family she thought she'd never have, and knew that wherever he was that Matthew was smiling down on them all.

Is this story fiction, or could it just perhaps maybe be the truth, I'd like to think it could be true inasmuch as we treat each other with kindness and still reap a great reward in doing so.
 
 

THE END



Written by: Misty
March 1, 2007