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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 20

Tattered Good Will Clothing

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 read.

"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 tea?

"Well, why not, I think it would be a wonderful thing to have a cold drink right about now." I accepted.

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 chatter.

The boy looked robustly healthy and he used his arms and hands so well I was curious to know what his disability was.

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