Professor Franklin Franklyn would have never been in church that
night if it hadn’t been for his granddaughter’s Christmas play. He enjoyed
spoiling his six-year-old princess, Maggie. When he and his wife, Katie, had
arrived, the play had just begun.
At the entrance of
the foyer, an older gentleman greeted them. Unbuckling her tan coat’s belt
with one hand, Katie took the program from the greeter, and thanked him.
Franklin proceeded to unbutton his winter coat as they dashed toward the coat
Franklin helped his
wife with her coat. “I hope we didn’t miss her dance.”
“I don’t think so.”
She glanced at her gold watch, “We’re only seven minutes late. We didn’t miss
As he shoved their
coats into the packed cubby-space, Franklin felt someone bump his hip. He
swiveled around. Looking around at his six-foot-four eye level, he didn’t see
anyone. That is, until he felt another bump against his hip.
Next to him was a
thin woman hunched over with her body wobbling. Teetering, her red scarf
swayed from her neck. Her red-furry hat covered most of her salt and pepper
hair. Franklin leaned over a bit.
The woman was having
difficulty. Her crooked fingers struggled to hang her coat on the hanger.
Franklin extended a
hand toward her. “Young lady, may I help you with your coat?”
When she stood straight, she
appeared shorter than he had perceived, but a bit taller than his petite wife.
“Young lady?” her
broad smile exposed her large yellowish, crooked teeth. “I don’t have to guess
that you’re a charmer. I am proud to say that I have eleven grand-children and
five great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild in the oven. I’m
ninety-two years young.”
Other than a few
aging lines under her eyes and around her full lips, the smoothness of her
light beige skin presented a much younger woman. “Ninety-two! Impossible! You
look like you’re in your fifties.”
“Your charm won’t get
you anywhere with me, young man. But since you’re a kind gentleman, I’ll take
you up on your offer.”
“I’d be honored.”
Katie assisted the
woman with her scarf. “Mrs. McKinney, did you come alone?”
She must know the
“Yes I did! I can
drive myself though my family doesn’t think so.” She handed Katie her hat.
“Timmy is narrating the play tonight.”
“Yes I know. I saw
him during dress rehearsal last night. He’s very talented.”
Katie touched her
arm. “Mrs. McKinney, I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce you to my husband, Frank.
Honey, I’d like you to meet Mrs. McKinney.”
“This is Frank?” She
appeared as ecstatic as a child who had caught Santa Claus with his bag of
Franklin shook her
cold and frail hand. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“I’m so happy to meet
you. I’ve been praying for you.”
Though he perceived
prayer as a ridiculous ritual used to comfort religious people in times of need,
he took no offense by her comment. Besides, he knew from experience that prayer
neither helped nor hurt anyone.
“Katie, he’s tall
like my darling Grant was. I can’t believe that it’s been three months since he
went home to be with the Lord.”
A shiver jolted
Franklin’s body. “Mrs. McKinney, I’m so very sorry.” He grabbed Katie’s hand.
Just the thought of losing her disturbed him.
The corners of Mrs.
McKinney’s lips turned upward. “Thank you. I know he’s with Jesus and I’ll see
him soon, but I do miss him.” Her drooping eyelids contrasted the divine
contentment written in her face.
young-bubbly blond screeched, “There you are!” the long-legged teen wrapped her
arm around Mrs. McKinney’s shoulders. “You should’ve let Daddy pick you up. We
were worried about you.”
“I’m not completely helpless.”