Worth the Wait

Early Saturday morning Mrs. Green got out of bed just as the sun was coming up. She made herself a cup of mocha and looked outside the window. It was chilly but Mrs. Green felt the excitement of spring. She dressed warmly and let Ampersand outside. She found herself mesmerized by the freshly cut grass Mr. Green had mowed yesterday. He was artistic about it and mowed circles around the trees and swirly lines up and down the long lot to the stream and the climbing tree. The grass was thick and a very deep green this year.

Ampersand began to bark and run around a small stump not far from the porch. Mrs. Green looked to see what he was barking at. Then she saw it. There he was, sitting on a stump waiting expectantly for his friends, with his neck out, shining eyes and a smile on his face. Bartholomew the box turtle was looking around as if he had been on a long journey and was reacquainting himself with his surroundings. He did not retract into his shell when Ampersand barked at him. He smiled back at Ampersand and seemed to sense the happy bark of a friend.

Mrs. Green felt so excited she forgot her coat and her shoes! She raced out the door and ran to the backyard. She bent down and gently touched the small crack in Bartholomew’s shell. Most of it had healed over many years ago but she could still trace her finger over the line it had left.

“We have been waiting for you my friend.” Mrs. Green said as she bent down to look Bartholomew in the eye.

Bartholomew stretched out his neck. He seemed to have a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye all of the time. Bartholomew was no ordinary box turtle. Bartholomew and Mrs. Green were very old friends.

Years ago when Mrs. Green was a young girl, her family moved into a new house. It was a cold winter that year. When spring came she got a letter in the mail. It was from the boy who used to live in her house. It read,

Hi,

My name is Timmy and I used to live in the house you live in now. Last summer I found a box turtle and put him in the window well. His shell had a crack in it and I thought he would be safer there. He should be digging out of hibernation soon. Would you check on him? His name is Bartholomew.

 Thanks!

Timmy

 PS He likes strawberries.

Mrs. Green checked everyday in the window well that spring. Her family and friends helped check. They waited and wondered if Bartholomew had gotten out of the window well, or worse. Finally on a chilly spring day, very much like today, Mrs. Green found Bartholomew.

He was covered in dirt and trying to climb up the side of the window well. Mrs. Green picked him up, brushed him off, put him in the grass and took a good look at him.Bartholomew might have gone through his entire life without anyone noticing how special he was. Mrs. Green and Timmy knew he was special. She told him about Timmy and the letter. Bartholomew looked up at her with shining and expectant eyes and smiled at her, in that way only Bartholomew could. She told him he was handsome, fast and wise. She gave him some water and a strawberry.

She wanted to set him free. The crack in his shell did not seem so bad and he was very fast. Mrs. Green was sure he would be happier if he was able to stretch his legs and wander around freely. She watched him as he quickly walked off into the garden and thought how happy he seemed.

Much to her surprise, the next morning she found Bartholomew sitting near the front steps. Mrs. Green fed Bartholomew a strawberry right out of her hand, put him back near the vegetable garden and told him goodbye again. The next day he was by the front porch again. This went on for sometime.

Bartholomew did eventually feel free and comfortable enough to move around the yard, but he was never far away and always easily found when a strawberry was produced. Bartholomew had many adventures and was a good friend to Mrs. Green and a lot of other people. He was special all along, Mrs. Green just happened to be the one to notice it.

Today Mrs. Green was just as  happy to see Bartholomew as she was the first day she saw him. She sat down in the cold wet grass next to her friend. Ampersand sat next to her. Mr. Green brought out a strawberry and Bartholomew ate it right out of Mrs. Green’s hand. Box turtles can live up to 100 years. Mrs. Green hoped Bartholomew would exceed his life expectancy, just as he exceeded every other expectation anyone ever had of a shiny eyed, smiling, box turtle with a crack in his shell.

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Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spring Anticipation with Carson

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Mrs. Green was busy this week. She had all the usual visitors, plus she was mulching and weeding her garden. She had a lot of errands to run and she saw a lot of friends in the midst of the hustle and bustle. Everyone seemed to have one question when they saw Mrs. Green this week. Before they could ask Mrs. Green answered,

“Not yet. Soon, but not yet.”

Mrs. Green knew, sometimes hope and anticipation, could turn to worry, and impatience, if you weren’t used to it.

“Last year it was in March wasn’t it?” Sue asked casually as she helped dig up the moist dirt in the vegetable garden, after school.

“Uh huh.” Mrs. Green replied.

Before Singing practice Sue had everyone looking in the yard.

Juliette heard all about the treasure awaiting the Greens in the spring. She couldn’t wait, and asked if they could,

“Search the garden today?”

Mrs. Green took her little hand and they “searched the garden.”

Becky, asked at the grocery store check out counter, and Barry, in the frozen food section. Mrs. Green just calmly replied,

“Not yet, but soon.”

After years and years Mrs. Green had learned to enjoy this time of waiting. She had learned not to worry. She used to try and explain how to wait expectantly and enjoy the hope and anticipation. After years of trying she decided it was better to show than to tell.

Mr. Green seemed to understand and feel the same way. Mr. Green, and Carson. Carson was born with the ability to enjoy the wait, and so he turned it into hope. Every day, after school, Carson looked in the yard, and then climbed the climbing tree in the back of the Green’s lot, by the stream.

Mrs. Green met Carson in the middle of the climbing tree on Wednesday afternoon. She climbed half way up, and Carson climbed halfway down. They both needed to escape all of the questions and enjoy the anticipation. They wouldn’t have traded this time for anything in the entire world.

The two friends sat so quietly they could almost hear the tender green leaves growing all around them in the big tree.   They were not searching, or hunting, or worrying. Carson and Mrs. Green were very similar, in this way. The two friends sat contently up in the climbing tree.

“I love spring.” said Carson.

“Me too.” said Mrs. Green.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spring Anticipation

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It was very early Monday morning and spring was in bloom in Maryland. Mrs. Green tiptoed around the wet grass in her yard. Her garden shoes were muddy, the air smelled of lilac blooms, the new grass was kelly green, the sky was blue and awaiting the warmth of the afternoon sun.

Mrs. Green walked gently from one corner to the next in her garden. The forsythia were bright yellow and happy this year. The daffodils were dying back and her tulips were red and cheerful. Mrs. Green passed under the apricot tree and was showered with light pink petals falling from the sky. She stood still and held up her hands hoping the petals would never stop.

Mrs. Green was waiting and looking for something. She searched carefully in every corner and nook of her garden. She went all the way back to the stream near the climbing tree, into the vegetable garden, and under the willow.   She was happy with anticipation. You could tell by her careful steps and concentration that this was a real treasure. It had yet to be found this spring, but Mrs. Green was sure to find it soon.

It woke her in the morning and called her to the yard every day. It brought her out in the dewy grass. It wasn’t there today but maybe it would be there tomorrow. Mrs. Green loved the anticipation.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Strong and Quiet Leader

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Mike came in the back door. He was early for music practice. Mrs. Green was upstairs. Mike called out,

“Anybody home?”

Mrs. Green called down the stairs. “Be right down Mike. Make yourself at home.”

Mike put down his backpack and walked over to the piano. He sat down, stretched his fingers and began to pound on the keys. He played as loud as he could. He looked straight ahead as his fingers flew up and down the piano. His feet moved as if he was marching in the army. His jaw was clenched, his brow was straight, and his brown hair fell into his eyes with each key change.

He didn’t hear Mrs. Green when she walked in behind him. Mrs. Green puttered around the room. Mrs. Green knew Mike well. He was quiet and often overlooked. She saw great things in him that he had yet to see in himself. Mike had a patient, quiet demeanor that made people comfortable around him. It was a kind of leadership Mike had yet to see in himself.

Mrs. Green picked up a full candy dish and brought it into the kitchen as if it belonged there. She folded a blanket on the sofa, and moved a vase from one table to the next. Mrs. Green looked busy, but she was really paying close attention.

The song came to an end and Mike still stared straight ahead. Mrs. Green sat at the dining room table with her hands folded. She waited a beat and then spoke.

“You know, hands are a funny thing.”

Mike looked over at Mrs. Green. Her voice snapped him out of his momentary spell. He walked over, sat down and studied Mrs. Green’s hands folded on the table.

Mrs. Green knew she had his attention so she continued.

“I knew a man growing up. He was very quiet and people didn’t notice him much. People liked him but they overlooked him as well. He worked very hard doing construction. He had big hands. He had bigger hands than any hands I had ever seen. One day he had an accident and he couldn’t use his right hand anymore. Everyone was worried about him. He stayed calm and steady as ever.

He began to teach. He was very good at it.  He taught people to hang drywall, to do their own carpentry, hang windows and anything else he knew how to do. Everyone called him when they had a project. It was one thing to hire someone to do work for you, it was another thing to hire someone to teach you how to do it yourself. He became very successful. Do you know why he was so successful Mike?”

Mike searched Mrs. Green’s eyes for the answer. She waited and then gave it to him.

“It was his patient, quiet, demeanor. People were comfortable around him. It is a form of leadership that is rare and often overlooked.”

Mrs. Green looked Mike right in the eye.

“His hands were big, but it was his character that made him strong.”

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Under The Willow

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There was a willow tree in the Green’s side yard. It was big and Mrs. Green had convinced Mr. Green to let the branches grow long and dangle down to the ground.

Mrs. Green held her warm cup of mocha in her hands and tiptoed outside. She felt a calm, quiet, childlike joy deep down inside of her. She walked over to the willow. It was like an old familiar friend. She slowly parted the branches like a curtain, and peeked in, as she had done a million times before. She stepped into the room, made of roots, and moss, and leaves, and pale green dappled sunlight. Under the tree sat a few small, cherished pieces of furniture. It was not fancy, just a bench, a round table, and chairs. Yet these few old finds had been a part of memory’s made to last a lifetime and beyond.

She brushed off the leaves from the small round table, and sat in her favorite chair. The chair bounced slightly up and down, almost by instinct, as if it was happy to see her. She sat and took a deep breath. There was a great sense of gratitude and peace under the willow. Today it was especially so. Easter was tomorrow and this was her first spring outing out to this special place. Mrs. Green wanted to take it all in. So she sat.

Mrs. Green was often quiet over the few days leading up to Easter. Grace humbled Mrs. Green. The gift of Grace was beyond her comprehension. Yet she felt deeply grateful. Sometimes there were just no words.

Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015

Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.