Did you ever feel like your life was being tested in some way? Has anything ever pulled at your heart that made you do something uncharacteristic of yourself? As you all know I grew up with many siblings. We as a unit had little to offer anyone except probably hard work and hopefully a kind word. My mother and sisters are outside with two washtubs and a rub board doing laundry. My older brothers are out looking for lawns to mow, and I’m sure I’ve been down the road looking for coke bottles to sell while being in charge of my younger brother. I can see the clothes flapping in the wind on the clothes line and an occasional sparkle from the metal used in the clothes pins. Moms hair is kind of wet at the temples from the heat and the work she is doing, she looks tired and way too thin. It is early afternoon as a complete stranger appears in the yard. He is an elderly man with a scruffy face that looks as if he has seen worry and possessed a personality that was appropriate for a beggar. Although it was summer time, he was dressed as if it was cool outside. Looking back, he was probably wearing every piece of clothing he owned. His gait was steadied by a staff-like cane. The cane did not have a curve on it, so I thought it odd that he was walking with a stick. The elderly man did not look strong. He looked strained by the look of the lines running down his face. He came up to my mother, looking into the sunlight at her with his hand over his eyes so he could get a look at her. He asked, “ma’am, I have been walking a long time. I have no money. I also see you have many children, but beg to ask if you have anything I might eat”? With a weary look on her face my mother told him to come in the back door, something most uncharacteristic for her. She sat him at the table and offered him whatever it might have been we had left over, probably a biscuit and maybe some red beans. There wouldn’t have been much because we ate at meal time and if you didn’t eat then, you didn’t eat. There were usually no left overs. Whatever it might have been, I remember him being polite and very thankful for whatever my mother did give him. I remember the twins asking mom about it and them asking her if she wasn’t afraid daddy would be mad when he got home because a strange man had been in the house. Without a stutter and as clear as my mind as now, she said, “This was my test, for that may have been Jesus”. Nothing more was said about the stranger. On occasion my sister will relive this story, telling it with such mystic review that it would be a blasphemous thought to dismiss it as anything other than the truth.
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