This is a true story. It happened in Connecticut many years ago. Sometimes I get caught up in the annoyances of aging and let the good stuff, the valuable lessons slip to the back burner. More often my spirit is revived by recalling the beauty and necessity of simplicity. I live in the Pacific Northwest now, but New England will always be home and Helen will always be remembered.
She slipped in the door quietly. She reached her right hand down to the burlap bag that was hanging from a piece of clothesline pulled taut across her torso. Her long, gray braid fell across her shoulders. She rolled her fingers around the silky threads dangling over the top of the sack and, one by one, gently pulled out ten ears of corn, placing each plump, green ear along the length of the mahogany reception desk. The old woman, wrapped in a shabby, brown coat and wearing muddy work boots, was in our medical office for her yearly physical. On subsequent visits zucchini, potatoes, and green beans appeared. And every fall juicy apples from her orchard rolled out of the sack. She was a lifelong New England farmer and remained a patient of ours for a number of years. She brought fruits and vegetables for everyone on staff whenever she had an appointment. But the food bounty shared paled in comparison to the extraordinary treasure of her presence. Her name was Helen and everyone connected to our Connecticut family medicine practice who came into contact with the woman longed to be like her.
Best wishes from THIS OLD GIRL.
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