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“Let us not weary in well doing; in due season, we shall reap….”

God Bless You, Montague


By —— Bio and Archives--June 29, 2017

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As always, I started walking when the sun first lightened the horizon. This daily routine provides time to pray and to recite poetry.

A favorite quotation from Lorraine Hansberry’s play, “A Raisin In The Sun,” came to mind.

“Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When he’s done good and made things easy for everybody? That ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in himself because the world has whipped him so! When you start measuring somebody, measure him right … make sure you’ve taken into account … the hills and valleys he’s come through … to get to wherever he is.”

“Let us not weary in well doing; in due season, we shall reap….” 

The day before, one of my daughters and I quarreled bitterly. I’d expended much time, effort and expense doing something for her, and instead of gratitude, I got hurtful words for not doing more. While I’d “ … done good and made things easy …” for her, she’d ignored “ … the hills and valleys …” I’d come through. Broken-hearted, I plodded on.

Then I heard a familiar greeting. It was the one-legged mockingbird I’d named Montague, who hangs out in the parking lot of the beautiful old Baptist Church I pass each morning. When nobody is astir but him and me, Monty alights near the sidewalk and rasps raucously. After bobbing and flapping awkwardly to balance on his spindly leg, he throws back his head, fills his throat, and chirps loud enough to rankle the rooster Chanticleer.

While I felt sorry for myself, the bird, to quote the poet Yeats, sang louder, “… for every tatter in his mortal dress.” His cheerful spirit brought to mind a Biblical verse: Behold, the fowls of the air; they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your Father feeds them. Are you not much better than they?

Then I remembered more scripture: “Let us not weary in well doing; in due season, we shall reap….” 

Monty remembered what I’d forgotten: A sure way to feel better is to help someone else feel better. My chance was just a short distance from Monty’s church.

 

God bless you

Often I’d seen the old gentleman fetching the morning paper. Grasping the step’s handrail, he carefully hobbled his way down to the long walk across his yard. When he reached the paper, he would bend, painfully it seemed, pick it up, straighten slowly, and plod back to his home.

Perhaps he lived alone, and perhaps had “ … done good and made things easy …” for loved ones who had moved on and left him behind. I thought, Monty, tomorrow I’m going to make the old gent feel the way you make me feel.

Putting the newspaper on the man’s porch became part of my dawn routine. One morning, I found a “smiley face” card with three words scrawled inside: God bless you.

What the old man said to me, I said to the one-legged bird: God bless you, Montague.

 



Jimmy Reed -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Jimmy Reed is an Oxford, Mississippi resident, Ole Miss alumnus, Army veteran, former Mississippi Delta cotton farmer, and retired college teacher. His collection of short stories is available via Squarebooks.com, telephone 662-236-2262.

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