Short Stories » An Hour with the Aged
An Hour with the Aged
AT a time when I had a nice Sunday-school class, of which I was very fond, there was an aged and very eccentric old lady who was quite particular in the selection of her acquaintances. For some reason of her own, she favored me with her friendship, and it became my custom to start so early to Sunday-school that I could spend an hour with her. Her room was very odd to look at ; she had a fancy for putting almost everything into a separate little bag. The hair-brush, coarse and fine combs, were each suspended in a bag just exactly large enough. Even the penholder stuck out of the top of a slender bag that just fitted it. Would you imagine a thimble-bag also? It was a fact. It took me several visits to become accustomed to her oddity. " It was partly on account of the dust, and partly a habit of order," she said. I found out through her kindness of heart that some of these calico bags held a bunch of grapes and an apple each. "I've got grandchildren," she explained.
She also had a Bible so very old that the pages were yellow, and it was so large it was awkward to hold. Many a pleasant talk we had, she explaining to me passages that were obscure. How I loved to read the writings of Esdras in the Apocrypha, and how odd were some of the names in the old Bible ! Such old-fashioned ear-rings as she wore, too. One day I asked her if she had not had them a long time, for my mother had, hidden safely away, a pair something like them that grandpa gave her for her fifth birthday, when he came home with his ship. Said she, "My husband put these in my ears forty years ago on our wedding-day, and I want them buried with me."
It so happened that her wish was fulfilled that same summer, and it was my mournful pleasure to attend her last hours and moments in this life.
Dear children, it is a sacred pleasure to realize that you have lightened a few hours of the aged and lonely who have been withdrawn from the sunshine and cheerfulness of outdoor existence. If it is your privilege to do so, let your ministrations help them to forget a portion of their sorrow and pain, and perhaps they may bear a kind word for you to the higher and better world.