The swing went back and forth with a slow harmony. The sun was fading across the horizon as the stars began to twinkle through the leaves. They watched him gaze up, pausing for a moment to admire the full moon. His vibrant blue eyes making contact as he wandered towards them. They looked at each other and smiled. The glimmer they had not seen for so long was back. The supper bell rang across the yard, interrupting the silence reminiscent of every night.
The table was set with the familiar nine places. The smell of the homemade macaroni and cheese filled the kitchen. Small talk continued until everyone was seated. Grandpa looked around. After seeing that everyone was there he bowed his head… God is great God is good and we thank Him for this food. By His goodness we are fed, give us Lord our daily bread, Amen…
Plates were piled high with fresh homemade goodness. Grandma made sure no one walked away from her table hungry. The conversation about the upcoming election died down as Grandma opened the little book she read from each night. The Daily Bread somehow always fit the events of the day. As she read about giving thanks in everything, they all knew how blessed they were to be there.
Homemade pie replaced the empty supper dishes. Warmth and content filled their stomachs. A story being told was given a twist, in hopes of a reaction from Uncle. As he noticed the stillness come over the table, his eyes came up to them staring and waiting. The silence was broken with a laughter that echoed throughout the house. A sound heard each night after the supper bell rang.
Her stomach twisted a little more into the familiar knot. She could not remember the last time it was not there. He looked at her as she picked up her phone not sure who she was calling. Listening to the ring, she wondered what to say. Half hoping it would go to voice mail, she heard the familiar hello.
A smile came across her face. Her look reassured him they would be okay for the night. He did not want to think what was going to happen after. The apprehension of the future was almost unbearable at times. The next ten minutes were filled with unease as both gas gauges showed no promise of making it. A little prayer of thanks went to the heavens as they pulled up to the house.
She rang the doorbell and looked at the sign that hung by the door. She had read it a hundred times, but tonight the meaning hit home.
THE MEASURE OF LOVE
LOVE WITHOUT MEASURE
As the door opened there stood Grandma, with a smile and her blue eyes twinkling. The feeling they had standing at a door having lost everything was not new to them. Heads hung low with the usual shame, they walked in. She asked how they were. There was no judgment. No questions on how could they let this happen. She showed them to a room, and told them supper would be at six. Clean sheets and extra blankets were already out. They put down the bags as the panic started to fade. The dinner bell rang and the of three walked towards the table now set for nine.
She watched as he walked towards the door. The look in his eyes told her the smile was forced. The joy he once felt had slipped away months ago. It was as if the darkness had engulfed his spirit, leaving nothing. He looked back, trying to give her a glimmer of hope. A small sign that everything would be okay, but he did not have the strength.
He was sitting in the same ragged chair that she had grown to hate. It was the same picture of despair she saw every morning. She smiled at him while she put the leash on the dog. As she did every day, she asked if he would like to come with them. The answer was always the same.
She walked out as the morning sun was coming to light. The breeze felt warm and comforting across her face. She let the dog off the leash and watched as he ran across the dew covered grass. Tears came to her eyes as she thought about the last three years.
His eyes followed her as she walked out the door. He could hear her laughter as the dog splashed into a puddle. He closed his eyes trying to remember the last time they had laughed together.