Thursday, November 10, 2016

It's a Small World After All


On a recent trip to visit our daughter in Idaho, I was asked to help the youth of her ward search for their ancestors using the Family Tree program. I assisted two teenage brothers by the last name of T -------- [I want to guard their privacy].

Mmmm, when we lived in Meridian Idaho in the late 70s and early 80s I was a Visiting Teacher to an elderly woman named Eva T --------.  So I asked them, "Do you have family in Meridian?"  Yes, they had family from Meridian. "Eva and Ben T ---------?" I asked. Yes, they were the boys' great-grandparents.

Wow, so many years ago I saw Eva every month in her home, and now I was talking to her great-grandsons who she never met. Eva died in 1986, and Ben in 2001 (I had to look up those dates just now, as we moved away from Idaho in 1984).

There's still a warm spot in my heart for these two elderly folks, Ben and Eva. Ben did not attend church, yet Eva was there every week on her own. She was a quiet, reserved saddish woman and firm in the faith. Eva once asked me to sew and custom tailor a dress for her. She couldn't fit into store-bought clothes easily because of her unusual shape. She selected some dark-green polyester fabric and a dress pattern, and I measured her. I love sewing but not tailoring and fitting, so I did just this one dress for her. She was happy with it.

There was something about Ben though. He was always present in the front room of their humble little house, in the same chair, with his feet perched near the tiniest wood stove I've ever seen. I swear it was no bigger than a Costco box of Cheerios. In a way I felt sorry for Eva not having time to talk to her friends alone, yet it didn't seem to bother her.

Ben was not jolly or out-going and in fact, exuded a pressing unhappiness. One day I noted the photo on the wall of a boy who looked 10 or 12 years old. Ben stiffened when he said that was their son who had died. The story of the death seemed forced out of him like squeezing dried up toothpaste out of the tube. The son went for a ride on his horse. He stopped to rest near some water and tied the reins around his leg so the horse wouldn't wander off. The horse spooked and ran off, dragging the son to death. It was horrible to hear Ben relate this dreadful story. Every biting word dripped with bitterness.

I understood Ben more after that day. He was still mad at God for taking his son, and taking him that awful way. I wished he could let God heal him, bring him peace. Perhaps he has found it now that he is reunited with his dear little boy, also named Ben.

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