This I Believe

Skyller - Dilliner, Pennsylvania
Entered on February 18, 2007

This I believe: Those who have gone before us in this world leave lasting impressions on our souls.

She was just the typical little old lady who lived on the corner. Every afternoon, my younger sister and I would walk her mail up to her rickety screen door, waiting for her pruned face to peep around the corner. As ashamed as I am to admit this, in my heart, I dreaded taking the mail up to that door, because I knew, once I got there, she would talk my ear off for at least thirty minutes, sometimes over an hour. Oh, but how she treasured that mail. It was her guilty pleasure, her sacred jewel; her whole day revolved around that pointed, fleeting moment in time.

One summer afternoon, we walked to her doorstep, our new German Shepherd puppy in tow. Upon our arrival, she immediately ushered us inside and began scooping out dollops of cold, creamy butter pecan ice cream into four bowls—yes, she fed some to Spike, of all things, who greedily lapped his from the bowl on the floor.

That’s one thing I’ll never forget about her—wherever she was, sweets and goodies were never hard to find. So, as we delivered her mail on that sweltering afternoon, little did we know how each other’s simple gifts—whether mail, conversation, or butter pecan ice cream—were leaving a lasting mark, a treasured memory in the hearts of those involved.

Almost as much as her mail, she treasured companionship. Every Sunday, come rain or shine, she was the first in her pew for morning service, chatting amiably with neighboring friends, reminiscing about the week before and days gone by.

In one of our conversations, following a service during which I played piano, I distinctly remember her telling me, “Now, Honey, dontcha never stop playing those hymns, you hear me?” And in another, “Dear, you have such a pretty face; you really need to keep you hair out of it so people can see it.”

That’s who she was—a devoutly religious woman who would never criticize without a compliment before, someone not afraid to speak her mind, and definitely not above catching up on the local gossip in those five minute intervals before church.

And every Sunday, as the congregation pours out praise to God, I can still hear her voice singing behind me, wavering slightly off-key; I catch myself looking over my shoulder, expecting to see her radiant face shining with the love of Christ.

Yes, to the world, she was just a typical little old woman. But to those who knew her, Nannie was so much more. Oftentimes, I catch my mind wandering in remembrances of her as echoes of our closing hymn waft through my ears, her voice intertwined with my memories,

“’Till we meet, ‘till we meet, ‘till we meet at Jesus’ feet, ‘till we meet, ‘till we meet, God be with you ‘till we meet again.”