The couple always appeared just before the service began.
He carried a small pillow under his arm.
I wondered why.
Together they sat in the front pew, listening attentively.
One Sunday, as the service ended, Mary’s husband stood to leave.
The pillow he had carried under his arm now lay on the church pew
where he had placed it.It showed two dents from his hipbones.
A World War 1 veteran,
Don had been gassed during the time of his service
to our country.
Frail and attentive, he attended the worship service with Mary
I would never have known Mary
had it not been for attending the same church as she and Don.
She was a faithful worshiper
Together, the two entered the sanctuary
Leaving quietly without conversation,
they offered a nod and smiles
to those who greeted them.
Mary was a tall woman.
On Sunday morning, always attired in her Sunday best.
In winter, a bandanna around the head
saved her from the cold and rain.
Old-fashioned rubber boots protected her feet from the elements
Mary can never know the lasting impression
she made on my life, and surely on the lives of others.
Her faithful love of the Lord, deep affection for her husband and two sons, and respect for the flag of our country was a lesson for many if they would only observe.
She never served on a committee at church, but attended every meeting.
Having no vehicle,
she walked the distance to the meetings
from her home,
a mile away at that time.
One particular meeting was scheduled to discuss the building of a new church.
It was held on a summer evening.
We gathered in the basement of our old church,
and Mary was there.
The idea of our small congregation taking on this large project had been discussed for some time.
During a moment of quiet in the meeting,
Mary reached in her old worn purse, pulling out a wrinkled bill.
As she laid it on the table, she said,
“There’s your first dollar”.
The project was underway.
One January morning,
church services were cancelled due to a blizzard.
It was dangerous to ask the parishioners to venture into the storm.
I felt warm and cozy
sitting in my living room
watching in the distance
where only a few cars were driving
down the highway.
Then I saw Mary.
She was walking toward church,
carrying her Bible.
The ever present cold weather scarf
was tied under her chin.
Her long wool coat now offered protection from the blowing snow.
I felt ashamed.
I didn’t live as far from the church as Mary.
I had a car.
Mary was walking.
I was relaxing in my nice warm house.
The scene has stayed with me for many years.