One Last Step (surely the final chapters are near?)

So, last Saturday morning

after walking up the hill to the red one-room school 1000 times

and up that same hill to the United Brethren Church where she

was baptized

giggled with her sisters

brought her sons who then giggled at Lily Wolf singing off-key

watched her Pap, and then her Mom buried in the nearby graveyard

and after steps back and forth between the kitchen and serving area

at Nick Yanko’s Restaurant and Grill

and after a walk to the judge to be married to Ike

and two more walks from Ike’s car to the Summit County hospital

to give birth

and after walking up and down up and down up and down stairs to

the cellar to wash clothes

to get stuff out of the freezer

to the upstairs to put boys in bed

to sleep

and to sleep herself

and to put those clothes from the cellar, which had hung outside on the line

in appropriate chester drawers and

make beds, then get preserved

pears

peaches

strawberry and raspberry jelly off the shelves and take them downstairs

after she had, months earlier, carried them all upstairs to put on the shelves,

after she had walked around the church teaching Sunday Schools for years,

making Street Fair pies for many more years

going to meetings: garden club, PTA, Secret Sister, Card Club, 4H, Friendly Class,

then up to Jean’s, up to Tommie’s, down to Olive’s, into town,

up to Betty’s, and back to Grandma’s

after walks through the woods- 2 miles a day with her best friend from up on the hill, then over to the barn to give the workers there some cookies,

or the one with a birthday a cake,

and then out to the mailbox (over and over and over) again to mail her sons,

then her grandsons and granddaughters

cookies

candy

more strawberry jelly

and more cookies

and more

and after she walked to where they buried Dad, and back there for all the reasons wives of 50 years go back to see where their husband is lying

and after she walked in that massive house alone for three years,

after she walked in the assisted living home around and around and around the hallways,

then around and around other hallways, looking now in increasing emptiness of thought for her Pap, her brothers Harry or Tom- when are they coming? Where are they?

walking walking walking walking walking

walking

and then,

last Saturday morning,

right after breakfast in the dining room of the Care Center,

there was a

final step.

One Last Step.

And her legs would go no further.. Or the mind which told the legs to “go” stopped

(more likely)

and so those of us who walked with her along parts of that long Walk through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, and Texas and parts of ten decades

must look back for her (with her as best we can)

remembering what she would remember about that

Walk.

(and now she sits)

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