“I’m like an old house, run-down and falling apart,” she said, smiling at me from across the table. We had a good laugh at her analogy of aging – she’s a young 88-year-old at heart, but the mind and body are not cooperating so well these days. She struggles with balance and failing eyesight. She loses her train of thought in mid-sentence, and often forgets the simple things. In spite of it all, she maintains a sweet, positive outlook that is nothing short of amazing. Oh, how I love my Mama!
Recently, our conversation took a turn for the serious and left me feeling like I needed to hold onto her a little tighter – for fear that she might leave me sooner than later. “This old house is going to be traded for a mansion in Heaven one of these days,” she said, matter-of-factly.
Today, my grip is firm and my reluctance to let her go is immense. I’ve bargained shamelessly with God, reminding him that I need her more than he does. At the end of the day, I know I’ll have to relinquish my hold and let her have her mansion. But, for now, I’ll cherish every moment that God will allow me to have on this side of Heaven. ~ Deborah L. Norris
The old house was nothing at all like what she had described to me through the years. From her vivid recollections, I saw in my mind a lovely, well-kept home with spacious rooms and beautiful furnishings. According to her, it was a glorious place that remained alive with the laughter of children and happy conversation around the kitchen table. Now I stood in the doorway of this dilapidated structure, and found it all but difficult to disguise my shock. She walked slowly into the rundown keeper of her childhood memories, and raised her head as if to draw in the yesteryear aroma of homemade bread cooling on the kitchen counter. She smiled with utter delight, her hands clasped tightly to her chest. It was in this moment I realized she had described precisely what she would always remember. ~ Deborah L. Norris
If I close my eyes I can still recall the wonderful aroma of my mother’s freshly baked banana bread, wafting through every room of the house, and intermingling with the nostalgic smell of the wood burning fireplace. The scent of fried cinnamon apples and spiced cider was the signal that cooler weather had arrived. Even handmade scarves and mittens had their own, distinct sweet smell that so richly complimented the fragrance of damp fallen leaves and the crisp air of the autumn morn. Ah, the beauty of autumn. ~ Deborah Norris
Having entered the autumn season of my life, I often sit in thoughtful solitude as golden memories drift through my mind like colorful falling leaves. I ponder each and every one, drawn into the glorious fragrance of sweet remembrances. There is comfort in the simple things, a calm in the knowledge that everything will change. Having lived long enough to more fully understand the circle of life, the seasons now bring a certain kind of hope. ~ Deborah L. Norris
We were best friends right from the start of the fourth grade at Roosevelt Elementary school in Boise, Idaho. It was September of 1962. We lived two blocks apart, so we walked to and from school every day. I lived in a quaint little yellow house shared with my parents, and she lived in a big gray building with lots of other children. Her parents had abandoned their five daughters a year before and now Carrie was a resident of the Idaho Children’s Home. She always had a smile, her sweet face accentuated with deep dimples. But, her soft brown eyes told far more of a story than her happy disposition ever did. No doubt, Carrie was acquainted with sadness and loss.
Her charming personality afforded her many opportunities for friendship. Teachers adored her. Despite several attempts by classmates to befriend her, she was my shadow and stayed close by my side. Carrie spent many a weekend at our house, and gravitated to my mother for the maternal affection she craved. I was always more than happy to share the blessings of my family and home life with her. She went to church with us frequently, and we even attended a week long summer camp together. She accompanied us on weekend camping trips along the Payette River and in the Idaho mountains.
Just before the beginning of fifth grade, Carrie sadly informed me that there was a family from Texas that was interested in adopting her. Unfortunately, their interest did not extend to Carrie’s sisters, the youngest of which was only two-years-old. We were both frightened at the prospect of her being taken away – especially to Texas. I promised her that I would talk to my parents about adopting her so that she wouldn’t have to move and live with people she didn’t know. Neither of us was aware that the adoption process was well under way, and that we had very little time to spend together – or very little to say about her eventual destination.
A couple of days passed and I walked to the Children’s Home to see if Carrie could come to my house and play. A social worker met me at the front door and said that she was already gone. What? How could this be? I would not be able to write her or have any contact, she said. Carrie had moved to Texas to start a new life. I cried all the way back home.
I never had the chance to say goodbye to Carrie. I still miss her – after 54 years I think about her and wonder where she is. I can only pray that she found all the happiness she sought.