On 4th of July morning our little guy, Brendan, woke up before the rest of us, took all the paper out of the printer and wrote the letters "U.S.A." on each page. When I woke up he asked me if he could set up a table on the driveway and hand the papers out to each person that walked by. I told him that as long as he didn't go too close to the road that would be a wonderful thing for him to do. He promised me he "wouldn't go past the crack on the driveway that he wasn't allowed to go past when he was four" as he went out the front door dragging a tray table behind him. He set up the table and put his papers on top. Quite the little shopkeeper.
I peeked out the door every so often just to make sure he was okay and, at one point, I noticed that he was speaking with a woman that I've seen walking on Lake Road quite often. I was surprised to see her on our street because that wasn't her usual path. Curiosity got the best of me and I couldn't resist going outside in my jammies to find out what she and Brendan were talking about. As I walked outside I noticed that the woman's face was all bruised. Her nose was cut up and she had stitches across the bridge of it. I said hello to her and asked her what had happened and that opened up the door to an incredible conversation.
Galina (her name), we came to find out, is a 90 year old retired physician who lives at the Tolstoy Foundation on Lake Road. She said she is the "talk of Tolstoy" due to the fact that she is the only resident there who walks every day. She normally walks along Lake Road or else drives to Rockland Lake and walks there. Last week she fell and landed on her face. She told me that after making sure her arms and legs were okay she got up, brushed herself off and drove herself to the emergency room at Nyack Hospital where they ran all sorts of tests on her and, five hours later, she left with stitches and a broken nose. She had decided to walk in our neighborhood because she didn't want to be stopped by all of her friends that she's made walking at Rockland Lake, having to explain to them what had happened to her face. She told me that when she had said good morning to Brendan he asked what any normal six year old boy would ask, "what the heck happened to your face?" That's our Brendan!!
Galina and I spoke for about fifteen minutes. She told me how she came to this country in the 1940's and was very blessed to be able to come here because her grandfather was a prominent man in her town. She was raised in Russia and told me how she fled with her parents when the war was going on. She told me how the people of our country and the rest of the world were only told what the government of Communist Russia wanted us to know ~ how the rest of the world had no idea how difficult life was behind the iron curtain. She said how July 4th was a very special day for America to celebrate and how important freedom is. She said that being raised in a Communist country enables her to see two sides of life and that she doesn't concern herself with what other people are doing. She told me that she has seen the ups and downs of our country since she's been here and, just like she did after her fall at Rockland Lake, this country always gets back up and brushes itself off and marches onward.
As I listened to Galina speak, I couldn't help but think about all that this incredible woman has seen and experienced in her lifetime. It brought tears to my eyes. When it was time for her to continue on with her walk, Brendan handed her one of his works of art and she thanked him. We said our goodbyes and I knew that Brendan and I had been given a very special and wonderful gift on the Fourth of July. It never ceases to amaze me how God puts people in our path when you least expect them to be there. Amazing Grace.
Many blessings ~ Wendy