Sunday, October 29, 2006

Recipe for Joy on a Rainy Day – Digging with the Mickens

Friday morning I felt slightly out of sorts. I was a little discouraged, and the prospect of a rainy day further dampened my spirits. Providentially, I had made plans to take the boys over to the Mickens to help them do some digging and planting. (Earl has painful knees these days and just can’t do all the yard work he’d like to so Catherine had solicited the help of the boys). We had arranged to go on Friday, but when the day dawned so drippy with a forecast of more rain to come, I wondered if we’d be able to do the planting after all.

A call to Catherine gave us the go ahead. It wasn’t raining at her house and she said that if it did, we could still enjoy the fellowship. So, wondering if we’d dig or visit, we loaded tools in the car and headed to their house.

When we arrived, it was misting. Catherine didn’t think we could work in the yard, but I insisted that misty weather was the best weather for transplanting. Mind you, I thought we were putting in pansies and other annuals. I didn’t realize that the job she had in mind was digging holes along the driveway and sidewalk edge of their yard for 15 shrubs. Hmmmm. We’ll never get that done in one day, I thought. Oh, me of little faith!

By the time we had donned our raincoats and gathered our tools, Earl had found his measuring tape, jacket, and cap. We all trooped to the backyard and started by carrying the 3 gallon shrubs to their new locations. We carefully measured their placement as Earl directed and then the digging began. About that time, Jean and her husband, another Earl, arrived, and they pitched in, too.

What a crew we were. We ranged in age from 11 to 83. We had a lot of laughs as we tried to figure out just where the irrigation pipes went and whether we were going to hit anything when we dug. Fortunately, though the line of shrubs was just over the irrigation pipe, we weren’t digging deep enough to hit it. And, thankfully, because of the rain, the red clay soil was fairly soft. We dug and dug, filled the wheelbarrow and wheeled it across the street dumping the dirt from the holes into the vacant lot. Earl whacked at the stubborn, root bound shrubs with a pick ax to free them from their pots, Catherine poured the quarter cup of fertilizer in each hole, I placed the shrubs in, and we all filled the holes and packed the soil in the empty spaces.

What a sense of accomplishment we all felt when the last shrub went in. We were, by that time, thoroughly soaked, since the earlier mist had changed to a steady drizzle. After cleaning and putting away the tools, we all went in to change into dry clothes and heat up lunch.

If you’ve never eaten at Catherine’s, you’ve missed a great treat. She is an incredible cook and she loves to feed people. We feasted on generous portions of lasagna, salad, and bread and of course, had some of Catherine’s famous fruit punch. The boys polished off a cupcake or two and some ice cream while the rest of us enjoyed hot cups of coffee and tea.

And of course, we talked and laughed some more. Catherine has lots of stories and they are usually punctuated by queries like, “Isn’t that where we went, Earl?” “When did we go there, Earl?” “Have we been to Spain, Earl?” Catherine is the story teller, Earl is the memory!

I could have sat around that table all afternoon! I went home so happy and so very thankful that God, in His wisdom, orchestrated the day the way He did. What started out as a dreary rainy day turned into a joyous day, with blessings not just misting me but pouring down in abundance. I know that Catherine and Earl thought that we were the helpers, but I know I gained so much more than I gave.

So, here is a recipe for joy. Seek out some senior saints. Find out if they need any yard work done. Pitch in and do it for them or with them. Then eat a meal together. Ask questions about their lives and listen to the stories. Then bask in the fellowship, the wisdom, the grace of God poured out in their lives. I’m hoping maybe Earl will buy a few more shrubs. I know I’ll be happy to do the digging.


Kelly said...

"Catherine is the story teller, Earl is the memory! "

So true! It sounds like you had a wonderful time! And that's a great encouragement to us all to attend to our "senior saints."

Beth said...

We did have a wonderful time. I'd love for others to experience the joy of loving and serving our senior saints!

Melanie said...

You can find the best "Ebenezer stories" from the seniors! Thanks for the encouragement to reach out.