Lucy and Elmer lived in the red house next door. They were super old people, at least that’s what my four year old self thought. I used to go over and visit a lot. Elmer was always outside, wearing farmers overalls and a hat with a brim, walking around the yard or doing man stuff in his garage like my dad. If he wasn't too busy he would smile and say hi to me which was nice, but I was there to see Lucy.
I don’t remember exactly what she looked like, but I think she wore glasses and had brown, wavy hair. Or maybe it was grey? I didn't pay much attention to appearances then, and the same is true now. If you ask me what someone looked like or what they were wearing I might have a vague recollection, but it will most certainly lack detail. I'm much more likely to remember what someone said, or how they were feeling.
Lucy was always in her kitchen with an apron on, busy at work making something. I remember her rolling out dough with a rolling pin and sometimes she would let me roll it. She always seemed so happy to me, carefree and smiling. She would listen with delight to whatever I had to say…which was a lot. I would go on and on (and on) about my favorite show…Gilligan’s Island, telling her every detail and according to my dad would even include the commercials (Lucy wasn’t the only one who was blessed with my Gilligan stories).
And Lucy gave me the greatest gift…she listened. She not only listened, but she engaged with me, as if she was truly interested and thrilled with every word. “You don’t say!” was the response she gave after every exclamation I made. And that of course encouraged me to keep going.
She never seemed to tire of it.
I remember more than once my mom yelling to Lucy from across the yard that she could send me home if I was bothering her. Lucy always seemed surprised at the thought and said no, that I wasn’t a bother at all! And I believed her. Such a sweet lady.
She made me feel special, and that was something.
I hope I was that kind of mom to my kids when they were little. I wanted to be and still do. I want my kids, my grands, and whoever I'm with at the moment to know that they matter, I'm really listening, and that besides Jesus they are the most important person in the room.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou