Callie and Francis

by Marian Sharpe
North Carolina, USA

In September, 2003, I had to make a trip to an eye clinic as my regular doctor said changes in my eye looked suspiciously like cancer and that did not sound good. I was scared. I didn’t want to drive the eight-hour trip by myself and didn’t have anyone to go with me.

I had to mow the lawn but was delaying because of the heat. and it was pretty ragged looking. The flowers always needed watering. I needed to plant the clematis sitting in the pot all summer, but I needed a trellis and to decide where to plant it, and the job looked so big.

I was sitting in the easy chair feeling sorry for myself when my good friend, Callie, and her daughter, Francis, came to call. We chatted; we always have a good time together joking around.

Callie asked what she could do to help. Of course I said the usual, “Oh, nothing”. But the longer she stayed the more things occurred that needed doing before my trip.

“Callie, would you please go buy a new hose for me, this one leaks so badly.” She did — and bought parts to repair the leaky piece. Things were looking brighter all the time. I needed the car greased, the oil changed and the car vacuumed. She cheerfully did all that while I did business on the computer and phone.

Francis washed dishes, vacuumed, dusted and even washed the dirty old car. Oh, I felt so guilty especially since Callie has a heart problem and wasn’t too far from my age, and Francis had health problems too.

Callie went home, made a beautiful fan-shaped trellis and brought it the next day. She fretted about the lawn needing mowing with it too hot for me, a 73-year-old to be pushing the mower around. She talked about bringing her riding lawnmower the 23 miles to my house but I knew that was wishful thinking for a woman of her age with no trailer.

But, surprise, in a couple of days she drove up with her riding lawnmower and weed trimmer on a borrowed trailer and soon, with my push mower and her rider, the lawn was trimmed ever so neatly. Francis washed dishes again.

How special I felt and what a wonderful thing those ladies did, caring for someone who needed help. I had only lived in North Carolina a little over a year and have had wonderful southern hospitality shown me — but Callie Beddard and Francis really took the cake that day. Here was a widow lady, past 55, health a little iffy, doing those things for me was truly amazing. Callie’s unlimited talents in the fixit department also reminded me that we women can take care of many things.

I hope to return their favors by doing something wonderful like that for others. Thank you, Callie and Francis, the sweetest two women I know in Washington, North Carolina.

Originally published as HeroicStories #508 on April 26, 2004

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