It had been rainy all week and Saturday morning Mr. Green wanted to go fishing. He had a theory about the rain stirring up the fish like eggs in cake batter. They drove to his favorite spot on the Patapsco River. It was quiet and the sound of the water trickling by made Mrs. Green so grateful she was on steady ground. She enjoyed fishing from a bench, watching Mr. Green and talking to people. She brought her camera and sat on a rustic bench made of old smooth logs, not so far from Mr. Green. The spot was a bit of a secret treasure for Mr. Green. It was off the beaten path. This made it extra special for Mrs. Green. She felt anyone who went to the trouble of winding down the overgrown dirt path and walking across the broken logs to find the special bench tucked away and on the Patapsco River must be someone special. Mrs. Green was almost always right.

Mr. Green was all set up and Mrs. Green snapped a few pictures. It was still very early and most people were still sleeping. She sat quietly and looked at the clouds rolling by. Then she heard the snap of a twig, voices and footsteps. Around the corner and through the brush came a couple. They were about the same age as the Greens. Mrs. Green instinctively moved over to the end of the bench. There was plenty of room. The couple smiled and sat down on the opposite end. They were very careful to give Mrs. Green enough room and she smiled and said,

“There is plenty of space. Make yourself comfortable.”

The couple nodded and sat down. They were from India and spoke back and forth in their own language in soft tones. Mrs. Green tried to be polite and look off in the distance. It seemed awkward to be in such close quarters when they were outside in such an enormous space.  It made Mrs. Green feel rather small and not quite herself. She was tempted to just sit and not say a word, and then she remembered who she was.The conversation started off with the weather and the beauty of the scenery. The more Mrs. Green listened the more the couple talked and Mrs. Green felt like herself again.

The woman told Mrs. Green about moving here as a young bride who spoke little to no English. She talked about their children who were out of college now and they were awaiting their first grandchild. Then she told Mrs. Green about her neighbors.

“We live not far from here. When we first moved in several years back it was a nice neighborhood but not very friendly. People got in and out of their cars in the morning and at night after work. They drove into the garage and before you could wave at them the remote button was pushed and the door came down and that was all you saw of them. Everyone was so busy. Then one day my husband said to me, we will win them all over. So we invited them. Just a few treats and drinks. That is all it takes. Some came and some did not. One neighbor in particular was tough. He became my project. We did not know his name. He came home and went in and got up and went out, day after day. Then one day I got his mail by mistake. I waited.  When the door opened that evening I was ready. I was in the driveway before he could push the button.  He stepped out of the car and I took a good look into his eyes. Not many people do that. They were sad. You know the world is full of great human suffering. You never know what someone is going through inside until you take the time to find out. I introduced myself and gave him his mail and just let him know we were just across the street. He responded to that little kindness and  told me all about his mother and how she was recently in the hospital and he had lots of relatives coming in and they were all going to stay with him. Anyone could see he was overwhelmed.”

Her husband leaned forward to see Mrs. Green’s face and said, This is my wife’s heart.” He pointed to his chest. “She is wise.”

The woman continued, “I told him if he needed extra space for his family we have three extra bedrooms and no one sleeping in them. His relatives stayed with us for a week. I prepared a clean room and a friendly face. That is all. You just never know what someone is going through until you take the time to find out.

At the end of the story it was time for the couple to continue on their walk. Mrs. Green sat for a long time after they left thinking and watching Mr. Green fish. Mr. Green caught several fish today and Mrs. Green caught some new friends.

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.


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