An older woman who loved her garden got sick during winter and was hospitalized. Her neighbors worried and shoveled her yard, and when the older woman returned, she gave them boxes with something unexpected inside.
Miss Adams worked all her life as an elementary school teacher in her town in Minnesota, so the entire neighborhood knew her. She was also one of the kindest people in the world, who didn’t have a bad thing to say about anyone. She was always ready to help, and if someone needed anything, she was there.
People came to her for cups of sugar, babysitting, and a nice cup of tea; sometimes, some came to relay their worries. Most people thought it was odd that Miss Adams never got married and had no kids of her own, but it was her life. The older woman was genuinely happy, which is not something everyone in the world can say.
After retiring, her favorite pastime was gardening, and she always had the most beautiful collection of flowers in her yards during Spring and even summer. When autumn came, she would pluck all the remaining beauties and give each of her neighbors a bouquet.
“What’s this?” she said and leaned to grab it.
Winter was the worst season in the world. It snowed too much, and it was more challenging to get around as she aged.
At 87, Miss Adams got sick in the middle of winter and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Luckily, her neighbor, Mrs. Cornelius, had been over for some tea when the older woman had a coughing attack. She called the ambulance, and the paramedics decided to take her with them.
All the neighbors had gathered, wrapped in their coats, and had watched as the older woman was driven away.
“We have to do something,” someone suggested.
“Let’s buy flowers and bring them to the hospital tomorrow,” another neighbor added.
“She needs companions. Maybe, we could take turns visiting her, so she’s never alone.”
“You know… I think we need to do something about her yard. It’s covered in snow, and Miss Adams has not hired anyone to clear,” one neighbor, Mr. Johnson, commented, pointing at the older woman’s front yard.
“You’re right,” Mrs. Cornelius replied, and others nodded as if they hadn’t noticed before.
Therefore, Mr. Johnson got a few shovels out and gathered some of the teenagers in the neighborhood to help him. They cleared her yard, even knowing that more snow could fall soon. But everyone promised to gather again and shovel once again.
When Miss Adams returned from the hospital, her newly shoveled yard was the first thing she noticed. “Oh, my. That’s so kind! Who did this?” she asked Mrs. Cornelius and Mr. Johnson, who had picked her up from the hospital as soon as she was released.
“We all did. We also took the liberty of doing some cleanup inside, and I think you’ll like the surprises we left,” Mrs. Cornelius added, and they guided the older woman into her house.
The smell of fresh flowers in bloom wafted through Miss Adams’ nose, and she smiled. Inside her house, spring had returned, and she couldn’t keep the smile off her face. “Thank you! Thank you!”
“Well, it was not only us. Everyone on this street and the one over wanted to do something special,” Mr. Johnson shook his head at the gratitude. “You are loved here. If you ever need anything, please ask.”
The older woman offered them dinner, but they declined and told her to rest. That night, Miss Adams thought long and hard about her life. She was content. She had done everything she wanted. She had no regrets. But her time was coming soon. She could feel it. But she didn’t want to leave this world before letting her neighbors know she was so grateful to them.
So, Miss Adams went into her closet and grabbed old present boxes she had saved over the years. They were all in pristine condition and would work perfectly for her idea.
The following morning, Mrs. Cornelius went out to get her paper and saw a present box on her front porch. “What’s this?” she said and leaned to grab it. She opened it and discovered a piece of jewelry so rare and so beautiful.
There was also a note…from Miss Adams.
Take this as a gesture of my gratitude for everything. For the years of being the best neighbors and what you all did during my hospitalization. I’m glad to know that although I didn’t have a family of my own, I actually made one. It’s all of you. I love you.
Sincerely, Miss Adams.
Mrs. Cornelius’ eyes watered, but only one tear fell. Later, she discovered that all the other neighbors on the street received such things and the presents ranged from more jewelry to Miss Adams’ precious books.
In a world full of greed, malice, and individuality, this neighborhood had come together as a family to help one of its own.
What can we learn from this story?
- Be kind to your neighbor. Some people never meet their neighbors, not understanding that they might be the only people available if there was an emergency. So, be kinder, get to know them, offer your friendship, and open up to them.
- Not everyone wants a typical family, but we all need companionship. Miss Adams was content with her life, although it was different than others. But she appreciated the love and attention from her neighbors and eventually considered them her family.