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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 19

Rhonda Needs Friends

"Oh my, Oh my! What have I gotten myself into?" I was thinking quietly to myself and not about to open my mouth as I looked around the filthy little apartment. It was furnished, after a fashion, which was okay, since we sold all our furniture to the man where we last lived who owned the farm house on Portland Avenue. He was glad to get furnishings at a bargain and we couldn't have brought the large pieces here anywat. The only thing kept was my great grandmothers antique round, oak table and it took up a large place in this living room. Rodney cut it down from a dining table to a coffee table and it now stood out amidst all the grime around it like a lady with reserved elegance and an attitude. She might be a bit out of place but was determined to make her central location attractive.

Rod was off to work and I was left with trying to make the place habitable. As usual, there was a plan and I was busy about getting to it. The bathroom floor was so old and damaged even after a thorough cleaning it still looked dirty. For that I simply poured out a gallon of floor enamel paint and mopped that onto it. Kitchen cabinets were so grimy there was no cleaning them either. For these, I simply used a SOS pad of steel wool along with elbow grease. Then I sanded and sprayed them with a color, can't remember now what it was, probably berry or something else pleasing to me. I'm sure there were some fine lined squiggles from a trusty art brush along the edges.

Next must do was the kitchen stove. The layers of grease seemed an impossible task. By this time Rhonda was needing attention so I dressed her and put her on the porch outside. After all the windows and doors were opened the whole stove was thoroughly sprayed with Easy Off Oven cleaner. A rag over my mouth and nose protected me from that awful acrid smell.

"Iím out of here while you do your work," I spoke to the inanimate cleaner.

Rhonda and I were now off and walking about the neighborhood. It was as if the children were so anxious to know us and how pleasant that was. I was thinking wouldn't it be wonderful if adults could retain this quality in their lives.

"You want me to push your kid for you?" One of the bigger boys offered his services.

"Oh sure! I would be so happy for you to do it."

Really, helping him get the buggy over rough places in the old sidewalks made us a partner in conquering something and he was a new friend to me. It didn't matter he was youthful. He was a willing helper and did I ever need that.

"You know," I was asking my new friend for a favor, "my daughter has cerebral palsy and can't walk or talk, but Rhonda needs friends. Do you think you could ask some of the parents who have children her age if they could come play with her?"

"Is that her name? Rhonda? Okay!" He was pleased to have been appointed to be a messenger. "When do you want them to come over?" The boy was an opportunist, and I smiled.

"Give me a couple days until I can get my apartment cleaned and organized?" Somehow I was trusting this child with a very large and important duty to do for me but did not, for one minute, doubt that he could do as I asked.

Sure enough, in a couple of days there were children at my door. They were all small, two, three, one who was four, maybe. Some were brothers and sisters and others were from the neighborhood.

This was to begin the days with Rhonda sitting around the big old table with her friends. They colored, painted, cut out, shaped home made play dough and any other activity that I could think of to keep them interested.

Once in a while some would tire of sitting but as if by plan only a couple would leave to run about the yard and when they were ready to come back another two would leave. These children were teaching me a lesson in the beauty of the Creatorís plan already implanted in their minds which is called instinct in animals. No wonder Christ loved the downtrodden and the children. Their humility was so beautiful.

Finally, one of the mothers came to introduce herself.

"You know I work? She told me. "Since the kids seem so pleased to be with you would you let me pay you for baby sitting?" Needless to say, my days of depression and hopelessness were gone.

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