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shovelling snowWhen my DH was about fourteen, long-legged, and with golden bangs that fell over his brows, he sat with the young men of his neighborhood in a classroom at church. There they received their assignments for the month. Among the rotations was the care of the widows: in the winter they would shovel their walks, in the summer, they mowed and weeded their lawns. The youths did not complain or object. Caring for these elderly women was their duty. Duty was a growing concept for them, not consciously spoken of, but one that reached deep into their young souls and added depth and solidity to their characters.

One widow was a very small woman who lived in a very small house on a good-sized lot. It was as if the house had gathered in its foundations to allow room for more green things to grow. My DH worked hard, and would smile shyly when the lady would come out to check on him. “Be sure to come in when you’re finished,” the lady pleaded. “I have something for you.”

The widows always fed the boys who mowed their lawns. It was their small way of compensating these young men for their time and labor. There would be sandwiches, milk, and sometimes a cookie. My DH left feeling he’d received far more than he gave.