It’s been a week.
The Virginia Republicans have the most diverse ticket in their history. That includes the first state-wide nomination of an African American woman.
Mask requirements are slowly going away.
And Short Story Friday returns. Enjoy.
The phone rang. There was no need to ask who was calling.
“Could you come over and check something for me?”
Of course, Aunt Ethel.
She lived alone. She worried. She did not always understand how things worked.
When the house was converted from a coal furnace to a gas furnace, she would worry about an explosion.
She was allowed. She had earned that right.
Born in the early nineteen-hundreds Ethel was the oldest of nine children.
As a child she watched her mother suffer with the flu that had already killed millions.
Ethel cried in the night as she feared she might lose her mother. Her mother survived, but her younger brothers, aged two and four did not.
As a teenager, Ethel met a man and fell in love. He was a minister.
Her parents did not approve. He was several years older than Ethel and had a family from a prior marriage.
Ethel soon found that she was pregnant.
Before the baby was born, she watched her husband pass away.
She knew she would raise the child alone. The child did not survive the birth. The baby was buried next to her father in the town cemetery.
Ethel did not remarry.
Instead, she went to Chicago to study nursing, after which she would spend her life caring for others.
She often worked as a private duty nurse in the homes of the elderly, or sometimes as a caregiver for children.
When Ethel’s mother, Martha, became sick with cancer, Ethel came to care for her.
When Martha died, Ethel moved into the home place with her father who soon would develop health issues of his own.
Arthur suffered from dementia. Soon he could no longer care for himself and was confined to a hospital bed.
Ethel stayed in the family home to care for him. She took in laundry to help with the income. Siblings provided a supplement to help care for the costs.
Ten years after Martha died, Arthur went to join her.
Ethel would stay in the home place. Once again, she would take jobs around town, caring for the elderly, or caring for children.
She did not drive. Family members would take her to church. To the store. To her work.
Ethel worked as long as she could. When she was no longer able to work, she remained in the family home.
There she would pray as she continued to care for others in the way that she knew best.
Her bed was moved into the center room in the house so that she would have less distance to travel to the bathroom, or the kitchen.
The room that had at one time been both the family room and the dining room.
Over her bed, in an antique oval frame, was a picture of two young boys. Her younger brothers, Ray and Vivian, who died from the Spanish Flu.
Ethel would go to church as often as she could. She would go to family gatherings.
She would rarely go anywhere else.
One horrible spring, Ethel’s youngest sister passed away. Not two weeks later, she lost the brother who had been born the week her younger brothers died.
Ethel kept praying.
She kept having trouble getting around the house.
One day in late December Ethel fell.
She managed to call a neighbor who flagged down the nephew.
The nephew and the uncle helped her up and we called the paramedics.
Ethel was admitted to the hospital.
In a move that surprised the family, Ethel agreed to go to a nursing home.
This independent woman who had cared for so many was saying that she could no longer live on her own.
This was a temporary move. She would be home soon.
A few days before Christmas the nephew visited.
He reminded her that he would be there to pick her up for Christmas dinner.
“Oh honey,” she told him, “I won’t be here for Christmas.”
The nephew smiled as he thought she meant she would be home for Christmas.
Ethel knew what the family did not.
The doctor had told her that her kidneys were failing. He had told her she had weeks, maybe days to live.
She asked him not to tell the family. She did not want them to know.
She agreed to go to the nursing home.
Christmas was on a Sunday that year.
That Sunday in church, before the benediction, the pastor received a note. He announced to the assembled, “Sister Ethel has passed away.”
Ethel was home for Christmas.
WHAT I’M READING
RANDOM LINKS YOU SHOULD READ
5 Tips from Full-Time Bloggers
Darren Rowse at ProBlogger
As part of my testing process, I sent out a survey to a list of 50 full-time bloggers asking one simple question: “What’s the number one tip you’d give a blogger who’s just starting out and wants to become a full-time blogger?” Read More.
Virginia GOP lieutenant governor nominee slams critical race theory curriculum as ‘nonsense’
“It’s going to be detrimental to our schools and not what we want. It supposedly is to help someone who looks like me and I’m sick of it, I’m sick of being used by the Democrats and so are many people who look like me,” she added. Read More.
Loudoun County parents try to recall school board over Critical Race Theory
The Washington Times
Parents in Loudoun County, Virginia, have launched a petition campaign to recall school board members whom they say are “infecting” schools with critical race theory. Read More.
John Kerry Now Says Pipelines Are More Efficient Even Though Biden Canceled Keystone Pipeline
The Western Journal
Kerry, a climate alarmist who routinely flies across the globe and in 2017 bought a home for $11 million on the low-lying island of Martha’s Vineyard, despite warning years earlier that rising sea levels imperiled the coasts, made the comments before lawmakers at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Read More.
CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors
In a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people on Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. Read More.
PODCASTS I’M LISTENING TO
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.