Waiting and Watching… Willfully
by Angie Brown, Guest Author
One November morning, I was waiting just outside a butcher shop in a friendly neighborhood in Olean. My husband, Henry, was supposed to come by in a few minutes to drive me home with my purchases. But, because he was delayed, I had a lengthy wait ahead of me. Nevertheless, I didn’t mind, because I had entertainment while I waited. Directly across the street was a good-sized field, about the size of a city block. Local residents preferred to use the unpaved foot-trail that crossed through the empty lot, instead of the paved sidewalk, because it was a shortcut.
As I stood there waiting, two roughly tousled boys appeared, about 10 or 11 years of age. They walked through the ankle-deep snow carrying a child’s bed frame, a crib as it were. I was intrigued and hoped my husband would be delayed even more. I wanted to see what these boys were up to!
The youngsters carried the bed frame through the field, across 8th Street, and started up the steep slope on Sullivan Street. I couldn’t believe they would attempt to climb that hill. Persisting, however, they finally reached the top, where they tarried for a moment to catch their breath. Then they slowly ascended about seven steps to the side door of a large house. I saw them groping for a better hold and easing the bed frame through the doorway, where they disappeared. Shortly, they came out without the bed frame and proceeded to take the same route back. Then, here they came again. This time, they were carrying the mattress and proceeded to the same destination. Leaving the mattress, the boys retraced their steps again. Next, I saw them carrying what appeared to be a large, empty drawer. I could hear the younger one complaining and the older one reassuring him. It was all they could manage, to carry those heavy pieces of furniture, one right after the other, all that way through the snow and up that steep hill.
After the boys had made two more laborious trips with empty drawers, I began hoping that my husband had stopped for lunch somewhere, because I couldn’t leave now; I had to see what was coming next! Sure enough, the chest of drawers, minus the drawers, was being carted, the same way to the same place. My husband had still not returned for me, and I breathed a sigh of relief; at least I got to see the baby’s room furnished!
Apparently, the family was in the process of moving, and all hands — big and small — had to be available to help. The short-cut proved to be a great convenience for the two boys. It was quite an effort for them, to be sure, but they probably felt a sense of pride in being able to do something meaningful that helped with the family move.
I can just picture them in my mind now, rehashing the episode to their children in the future: “You know what we had to do when we were your age?” And I can imagine how the furniture got bigger, the snow deeper, the trek farther and the hill steeper each time the story was re-told!
(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)