Tattered Good Will
The duplex where we moved
on Northwest 10th was much nicer and did have a better grass yard in
front rather than the bare ground courtyard look of the apartment on
Elliot Street. This interior was cleaner and in better shape, too. Most
of our possessions were either at the ranch or sold. It was easy to pick
up and change places.
Rhonda was sitting in her
little chair outside while the neighborís children all play around her.
The family living next door have nine children and they are all in stair
steps sizes. The youngest is the one who plays with Rhonda the most. She
is around three years old. A speech impediment causes her to speak
slowly. It doesnít seem to matter Rhonda canít talk or walk. This child
with such loving ways simply brings her seated friend dolls and toys so
they both can play together.
"We have to go for her
walk now, Little One, and will be back after a while. Okay?" I let the
little girl know I appreciated her company.
Tattered Good Will
clothing, shoes of the wrong size on feet so legs looked to be going in
opposite directions didnít take away from the little girlís natural
lovely sweetness. She
smiled and must have
understood about being a valued person in my eyes. Her goodness was just
what Rhonda needed.
I suppose the regimented
training of boarding school was still strong with me. Seems like
everything had to be done on schedule and this old habit was a blessing
as well as a hurdle for me.
Our walk to take us
through that part of town gave not a thought about strolling past every
kind of residence and not once to worry who might be observing our
activities. This was a finer neighborhood than the one on Elliot street.
A sign outside one of the houses caught my attention. Chiropractor, it
"There are all sorts of
interesting things in this neighborhood." I spoke to Rhonda out loud and
as if to agree with my observation to our right and directly ahead was a
good sized park.
"Oh look! Rhonda, a park!
Would you like to swing for a while. It is so nice and sunny today I
know it will be fun. I remembered the Park in Ponca City which was close
to my own Grammaís house. This one isnít as big but there is play
equipment." Rhonda was excited and swung her arms up and down.
Truthfully, I never even
noticed the girl like woman who was already there with her child.
Certainly no real
intention to make a new acquaintance happened but her easy laughter,
beautiful long flowing hair, petite size and the most beautiful boy she
was pushing in a swing was hard for anyone to ignore. Her child was
small, too, and had the most mischievous little grin. Blond curly hair
and fair skin made me believe he would grow up to be an Adonis or some
fair Viking warrior. For the present the park swing was holding him
securely in place.
Linda was his motherís
name and we visited as easily as if we had known each other forever.
She was asking questions
about Rhonda and for some reason I found myself going through all the
morbid details we had experienced so far. Her understanding should have
been a clue for me.
"I live very close,"
Linda told me. "Would you like to come to my apartment for a glass of
"Well, why not, I think
it would be a wonderful thing to have a cold drink right about now." I
Something about this
sparkly little woman was just so pleasing and I felt she must have been
a pampered child who had no worries or anything to go wrong with her
life. She was well-dressed, immaculately groomed and looked like, as the
saying goes, old money. How wrong I was and from that snap first
judgements regarding oneís circumstances was a part of my own thinking
for being judgmental.
As she lifted her child
from the swing for the first time I could see the unrelenting steel of
his braces. Linda raised the edge of one pant leg and I saw this metal
was full length and reached up to his waist just like Rhondaís. There
was a pain in my heart and it was all I could do to keep my emotions in
check. Only then I saw the depth of sorrow in her eyes even though she
so carefully covered with this lively, bright personality and pleasant
The boy looked robustly
healthy and he used his arms and hands so well I was curious to know
what his disability was.