The “Dear God” note was dated 1958, two years after the picture of the horse had been drawn.
It took months to bring the living room back to life. Although most likely not an original color from years ago, I painted the walls a subtle rose. The baseboards and the bookcase got a fresh coat of white paint. I splurged and put ornate crown molding along the ceiling.
I filled the bookcases, not only with books but with various collections such as tiny Limoges boxes and marble spheres, which were supposed to bring good luck. My prized Betty Boop doll peeped timidly through one of the glass panes.
While admiring my work, I was suddenly taken back to the days of a simpler time. A time before computers and cell phones and video games. A time when families sat down together at dinnertime.
That thought prompted my next challenge…the dining room. The owner had left a round oak table with lion paw feet. That was a piece worth keeping and it didn’t need much more than a dusting and a good coat of polish.
A wood-burning stove was sitting in front of the fireplace on a bed of slate. I wondered how many times the family had dined while being warmed by a fire in that unique stove. A flu cover was still hanging on the wall and I took it down to inspect it. It was made of plaster and a paperclip had been embedded for hanging. On the front, a set of smiling cherubs floated on billowy clouds.
As I was sweeping, I noticed something under the stove. When I picked it up, I saw that it was a Bible. My first thought was that I should return it to the previous owner but first, I wanted to take a look. It was a Scofield Reference Bible. I had never heard of that. I always thought a Bible was just a Bible.
Inside the pages, I found numerous pieces of paper. One was the church budget for the year 1994. There was an article from “The Work Of The Holy Spirit” titled “Being Faithful.” Somebody had written on the top of the page, Monday 12th, 1989.
An interesting one was a small piece of paper dated 9-9-84. It was hand written and titled “What Do I Value?” There was a list of six things. #1. Appearance. #2. Home, School, Environment. #3. Aspirations. #4. Stages of Life. #5. Sympathy. #6. Empathy. An arrow had been drawn from the bottom of the page to the top and written inside the arrow, was “Funeral Home Is Expensive.”
There was a tattered bookmark that said “Capricorn.” I knew that Jesus was a Capricorn but I was fairly certain that this was not His bible.
The owners’ name had been imprinted on the front in gold letters but was so badly worn, the only thing I could make out was that he was apparently a “Jr.”
I was completely enthralled. There was mostly scripture references but one thing caught my eye. Somebody (perhaps the owner of the Bible) had a sense of humor.
Obviously from an ancient typewriter, was what I grew up calling “a little ditty.”
“Remember old folks are worth a fortune, with silver in their hair and gold in their teeth. Stones in their kidneys, lead in their feet and gas in their stomachs.
I have become a little older since I saw you last and a few changes have come into life my since then. Frankly, I have become quiet a frivolous gal. I am seeing 5 gentlemen every day!
As soon as I wake up, Will Power helps me get out of bed. Then, I go to see John. Then, Charlie Horse comes along and when he is here, he takes a lot of my time and attention. When he leaves, Arthur Ritis shows up and stays the rest of the day. He doesn’t like to stay in one place very long, so he takes me from joint to joint. After such a busy day, I’m really tired and glad to go to bed with Gen Gay.
P. S. The preacher came to call the other day. He said at my age I should be thinking about the ‘hereafter’. I told him ‘Oh, I do all the time. No matter where I am…in the parlor, upstairs, in the kitchen or down in the basement, I ask myself…what am I here after’?”
I had spent what seemed like hours going through the Bible and decided that I could finish at the end of the day, while I was resting. All together, there were 38 pieces of paper tucked inside the pages. Before putting it down, for some reason I looked inside the cover and found a green post-it note.
It said: “I bought this Bible for my daddy when I was 13 years old. I saved my lunch money and took neighbors’ mail to the post office for 10¢. It took a long time to save up the money and I don’t think it meant that much to him.”
I went from “aw, how sweet” to “oh, how sad.” It wasn’t signed or dated and I have no idea who wrote it.
I busied myself cleaning, taking down ceiling panels and carrying loads of rubbish to the curb. As I was inspecting the mantel, I found a folded piece of paper stuck behind it. This was becoming almost like a scavenger hunt to me. I was excited as I opened the note and started reading.
It said “Dear God. Please don’t let Granny die.” It was dated 1959.
“Somebody loved their grandmother,” I thought. I knew the sensation. I loved my grandmothers dearly.
To be continued_________________