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Mr. Ashey's Leg

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1 Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:18 am

bullfrog

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When we were a young couple we were very poor. We had 3 kids and I had no education. We couldn't pay our bills, let alone have insurance on our family or car, we were in dire straits constantly.

But we did have 3 healthy, beautiful kids and knew that we were blessed. We talked about it, how we wished that we had some way to give back to God but didn't see any way that we could.

God was listening. Within 2 weeks we ran across three senior citizens that just needed our help, not money. They needed our help when it really mattered and it dawned on us. That is how we could repay the blessings.

We looked into it and went to the "Best Years" senior citizen organization in Beaumont and asked what we could do to help. They needed "Meals on Wheels" drivers to deliver meals that they prepared to homebound seniors.

This didn't sound like any fun at all to the kids. "We don't want to go and feed old people!" they all chimed together. "Shut up and get in the car." we told them. God was at the wheel and we didn't even know it.

We went to the center where the meals were being prepared. It was a madhouse in the kitchen assembly area. Diabetic meals and special diets were all color coded, we had a lot to learn. We parked the kids in the lobby with all of the seniors who were able to drive there and were waiting their meals. To some of them, this would be the only meal they ate that day.

Within three days when we hit the door the kids would scatter. They each had all found a surrogate grandmother or grandfather that showered them with attention. We had to pry them from the laps of these old folks to deliver the meals.

We also learned this. Most of the people that we delivered the meals to didn't need that meal. They wanted that knock on the door, as it was the only one that would happen that day. We went to the door as a family but soon learned that each senior shined on one in particular of our kids. Perhaps they reminded them of a relative that never visited.

We learned to let that child alone go to the door with that meal and we waited, it didn't matter how long it took. God was at work and we didn't even know it until later.

One very special man was Mr. Ashey. He had been a concert violinist all of his life. He had old posters on his walls of all the concert halls in which he had performed. He would ask us in and set the meal aside. He would say, "Just one song, then you can leave."

He would then slowly get up and get his violin. In his old, weathered, experienced hands, that piece of wood and strings came alive as he would lovingly lay down some Mozart absolutely perfect, he was truly a master of his craft. Then, just for the kids, he would end it with something they knew like "Three blind Mice" or "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

The kids were enthralled. For some reason, he shined on our middle child, Amber. He offered to teach her for free and she really wanted to learn. So for weeks we dropped Amber off at Mr. Ashey's house to learn the violin. He eventually lost his leg to diabetes. He propped up his prosthetic leg in the corner and he would say, "Amber, fetch my leg."

For months this went on. Mr. Ashey teaching my daughter the violin as his eager student. Her learning a lesson in life, that seniors have a lot to contribute, and he getting to pass down his talent and have the company of a lost Granddaughter. Company and companionship that he really cherished at this time of his life.

The sad thing about an eighty year old man and a eight year old child loving each other is that they don't have a lot of time together. Mr. Ashey died but he left a love for seniors in my daughter's heart that wouldn't have been there if it hadn't been for his love. I'm sure that she brought him a lot of joy in his last few months on earth as well.

Still, to this day, she loves old men that dress funny because of that love.

This all started from some volunteer work. I never knew how deeply it would impact my kids for the rest of their lives. Feeling restless? Need something to do? There are a lot of Mr. Ashey’s out there and they will form a bond with your kids that will bridge the gap beyond generations and lifetimes. You can’t buy things like this, no matter how much money that you have. God laid a real treasure at a pauper’s feet .

Lost Grandfathers just listening for a knock on the door that means everything to them. A knock that never comes. That knock that bridges all generations and replaces lost love and needs. Fills the loneness. Someone to fetch their leg. A new grandchild that brings a spark into their heart.

A few months after Mr. Ashey died they had a talent show at school. This was elementary school mind you. Kids got up and sang, some danced or did magic tricks.

Then Amber nervously took the stage with her violin, eight years old, her first public performance. The parents in the audience prepared themselves for the worst. She played "The Orange Blossom Special" which if you have ever heard it on the violin, gets very fast, lively and precise in the end.

She nailed it, perfect. Every note right on time. A really brilliant, beautiful, performance. The entire audience rose to their feet at the end and gave her a standing ovation and cheered loudly.

I'm sure at that moment Mr. Ashey nudged God and said, "See that? I taught her that."

"I know." said God. “Good Job.”

I also know that someday they will play together again, and she won't have to fetch his leg, he will be whole again. The angels will gather as Mr. Ashey and Amber play some Mozart or “The Orange Blossom Special” ending it with “Three Blind Mice” for the children there.

When they finish, Mr. Ashey will look God and say, “See that? I taught her that.” God will say, “I know, good job.”

No matter how poor you may be you have untold riches to give to others. Gifts of your time to others that it means everything to, the world to. The greatest gifts in life really are free. They are laying there, right in front of our nose.


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2 Re: Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:47 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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What a lovely, lovely story, bullfrog. ex[cry7] Did you ever think of putting together a collection of your short stories? I remember several past posts of yours on another forum that were such touching stories.

I wish I would have read that story a year ago. I have been laid off and that is something that I never thought to do. I have been asking God what I could do to help people. I met a friend who is as into her dogs as I am. She raises Leader Dog puppies but her whippet has a Canine Good Citizen certificate and is a therapy dog. She visits Children's Hospital and there is also a program with the libraries where the children read to the dogs. I can't remember what that is called. As crazy as it sounds, kids who would be intimidated to read to an adult will just sit there, pet the dog curled up in their lap and enjoy reading. The kids build their self-esteem and confidence not to mention reading skills by reading to a non critical doggie audience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apkOXPukHNI&feature=related

I at first thought of using my dog in some way but she is a little shy and even though she lets people pet her, I can tell that it is stressful for her so I don't want to make her do something that she doesn't enjoy. Especially being a retired racer, I feel she has more than paid her dues.

Thanks for giving me the kick in the butt I need to get out there and do something to give back for my blessings.

PS Why did you put this in Religion? It doesn't express your religious views or opinions. I'm just afraid that someone avoiding the topic of religion might miss this lovely story.


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3 Re: Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:08 pm

jw

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I am all teared up reading this Bullfrog and as fishlips says you should gather all your stories up and keep a journal of them but then you prolly already do. If everyone got involved as you and your family do our world would be a much better place for our older citizens. Soon we will be in their place and hopefully someone will care enough for us if we have no one left to love us. :[IMG]/sHa_comf


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4 Re: Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 21, 2009 3:17 pm

Esther


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You know, I was thinking to start a thread on donations or volunteering, not so we can brag but to encourage each other to give beyond our normal contact area of neighbora, friends and family.

We have two rental duplexes. I am astounded at the help that is available to these people from churches, government and social agencies, let alone what they get from their families.

I think we as citizens give a lot more than we realize. It doesn't always have to be money. As in the story, time and a little gas was given. Our talents too can come in handy. Do you knit/sew, cook, do yard work, shovel snow, do woodworking? Even if you have some time to give to just chat with people or read to them, it would be welcomed. Think about it, what can you do?


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5 Re: Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:07 pm

Stretch


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I accidentally started a tradition of going to get donuts on Sunday mornings before church. On the way into town we passed one of those three wheeled handicap bicycles with the hand pedals and the orange flag dancing above it. I said to my four year old "look at that cool bicycle". "Where's his pedals" he asked curiously. He's pedaling with his hands. "How's he doing that"? Well he probably didn't have any legs. I couldn't tell cause we passed kinda quickly. "How can somebody not have any legs"? I started telling him about my old friend with the wooden leg but spent most of the trip explaining a violin to a four year old who knows only the electric guitar. Well, sure enough, as I pulled into my driveway that same bicycle was approaching my house on his trip back. "Hey there it is, let's go check it out" I said, my son already zooming toward the road with a young child's energy. The old man was pedaling with one hand and waving at us with the other. "Good morning" he said. "my son responded with "you're right daddy he don't have no legs!! Why don't he have no legs"? Trying keep my composure I said to him "remember I told you some people just don't have legs". Before I could get any farther he shouted out in an even louder voice than before "THAT'S GOTTA SUCK"! All I could do was stand there with that horrified look on my face as he pedaled away.

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6 Re: Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:33 pm

bullfrog

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For once, I'm at a loss for words.


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7 Re: Mr. Ashey's Leg on Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:45 pm

fishlipsmcgee

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I remember a friend telling me that her very young son once remarked about a black lady in the checkout line at a supermarket a very loud voice "Hey mom, that lady looks like a monkey" There was no racist intent meant on his part, it was just the observation of a child. My friend of course was horrified and embarrassed. I think she said that the lady just smiled. Children just say what they observe without judgement.


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