Friday, October 12, 2012

Always There

Like a sentinel she sat on the porch, Victor at her side. Doris didn't miss a thing. Over the many years of my youth, I played with their daughters and sons. It was another place I could call home. Marilyn was the only person I ever knew who memorized the Bible. She was a brilliant woman who lost her life in the mission field. Her family grieved, and I grieve with them still. Her older sister, Geneva, became the sister of my heart. When my father lay dying, she helped me to lift him, to tend to him, to grieve for him. Wrapping her arms around me, she gave me a safe place to shed my tears. Merrill, Don and I played together for as long as I can remember. We flew across the barn on the swing, walked the creek, played baseball in the pasture. Lowell came later. Mom babysat for him, and he tagged along behind his older brothers. He became familiar face at our house even after the Loxley girls as moved away.

When the married we girls came home to visit, the walk down the lane always began at Victor and Doris' house then on to Margaret and Hollie's. I always looked forward to the hugs I received as soon as I crossed into the yard. Neighbors who were more than friends. They were family.

My conversations with Victor and Doris had always been light. We talked of family and of the farm. We caught up on the comings and goings of Neff Road. On one visit, Victor was very ill. I sat with Doris in the livingroom. Our conversations turned serious. I shared with Doris how difficult it often was being one of the girls back the lane. "I knew they didn't watch you," she said. "But I did. I always did." Over the years she had kept tabs on me, and I never knew. In those times where I felt I was very much alone, Doris had been watching over me. My love for her grew that day.

Age and illness has taken a toll as it does. Doris and Victor now reside in the Brethren Home. When I visit, we reminisce about days gone by and talk of family. I sit absorbing these two people who mean the world to me. I want once more to sit on the stoop and visit with them. I want once more to run after balls in the outfield. These dear people are part of the family of Neff Road; they are my family.

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