The Promise

He'll be 80 on his next birthday. I look at the eyes that have seen so much sadness in his life. His mother whose life was taken with cancer. His wife of many years who lost her life to MS. His daughter who lost her battle with cancer. There are grandchildren, but they are too busy with their own lives to worry about him. I took him under my wing when his daughter died. I make sure he's got a hot meal to eat every night. I make him watch his sugar intake. And I wonder why doesn't his family care enough to do what they should be doing?

They know how to dial a phone and they do when it's their birthday. They know when it gets time for Christmas shopping how to contact him. And yet.....they never offer to take him out to eat. They never call and say, "Do you need anything?"

Tonight at supper, I mentioned that I would like to drive around the city and look at the light displays at homes, businesses, etc. I looked at him and said, "Would you like to take a ride with us and see the lights this year?" His eyes spoke before his mouth moved and I knew, he would like it very much.

"I would love to ride around and see the lights," he said. "When my wife was here, we used to do that every Christmas. I always loved all the lights and how folks celebrate the birth of Jesus". "Well, after supper tomorrow night, we're going," I said. He smiled and said, "I'd like that very much."

Tomorrow evening hubby and I will take this gentleman out for a ride. I want to see his eyes when he sees the beauty of the lights. I want him to remember the good years when his wife was with him and they drove around looking at all the beauty of Christmas. I want to make him happy. I want to let him know how much he is loved by us.

He is the little fellow who lives on the land in front of ours. And though he has family, he is still alone except for us. He is not aware of the promise. I will never let him know. It all began with a promise over four years ago, but it's grown into much more than that today. Perhaps one day if I live to be his age, someone will make sure I've got food to eat. Perhaps someone will call me up and say, "Do you want me to take you to your doctor today for your check-up?" I think it would make me feel good to know someone is there if I need them.

I promised his daughter before her death I would look out for her father. I've done that since the day we buried her over four years ago. He knows, if he needs anything, all he has to do is let us know. He never asks for much. He's a very proud man. He is proud he's a WWII Veteran, Marine Corp. I'm proud he lives near us.

He was happy when he left our house tonight. Perhaps his daughter is smiling down from Heaven, nodding her head whispering, "Thank you for watching out for my dad for me."

Sharon Bryant

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