Monday, May 17, 2010

Unsent Greeting Cards

The tailless squirrel hops across my yard. The baby seems to have lost most of its tail either by birth or by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The other squirrels try to attack the baby. Nature does not seem to accept differences, especially those caused at birth. What a darling baby! This is one pest that I will happily adopt.

He lived down the road with his mother. I’m not sure how old he was when first I became aware of him since I have only the memories of a child. They lived in the house next to Kayetta, but back then her new house was not there only the farm house. A couple of times a year, Irene would pull into the lane with her son Emerson all dressed up and ready for work. Mom sat patiently as Emerson opened his case full of greeting cards. He showed her all of the most recent designs. Of course, she ooohed and ahhhhed over them all. She was a pushovercustomer.

As always the visit would end with coffee and Mom’s most recent culinary achievement. Conversation included Emerson and his greeting card business as well as the health of the families and the comings and goings on Neff Road. Everything came to a standstill when Emerson came to call.

Emerson was born with a disability. He would never marry or live independently from his mother yet back in the 1950’s he was given community respect and support. His mother stood back and allowed him the pride of a working man. It was a lesson for the girl back the lane. A lesson for a girl, now woman, watching her tailless squirrel.

The people of Neff Road were kind. They understood that we were all one family. Whatever befell one of us affected us all. Emerson was not just Irene’s child but also the child of all who lived along the road.

Diana also lived on our road. I went to school with her brother and babysat for her sister’s daughters when I was older. When we had school parties, Diana was invited to join us. Again, she was another visitor back the lane. Her difference was not even noticed.

Maybe I like this little squirrel because I know that we are still all one family from Neff Road. We accept those who need acceptance. We support and cheer on those who accomplish the small achievements as well as those that gain recognition. We know that we have a responsibility to encourage and embrace the families who are challenged every day. I know because when Mother passed away, we found piles of old, unsent greeting cards.

We are Neff Road.

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