They appeared just before the service began.
He carried a small pillow under his arm.
I wondered why.
Together they sat in the front pew, listening attentively.
One Sunday, as the service ended, Mary’s husband stood to leave.
The pillow he had carried under his arm now laid on the church pew
where he had placed it.
it showed two dents from his hipbones.
A World War 1 veteran,
Don had been gassed during the time of his service
to our country.
He was frail and attentive and attended the worship service with Mary
I would never have known Mary
had it not been for attending the same church as she and her husband, Don.
She was a faithful worshiper
Together, the two entered the sanctuary each Sunday.
Leaving quietly without conversation,
they offered a nod and smiles
to those who greeted them.
On Sunday morning,
saved her from the cold and rain.
Old-fashioned rubber boots protected her from the elements
she made on my life.
Her faithful love of the Lord,
was a lesson for many,
if they would only observe.
Having no vehicle,
she walked the distance to the meetings
from her home,
a mile away at that time.
One special meeting to discuss the building of a new church,
was held on a summer evening.
We gathered in the basement of our old church,
and Mary was there.
had been discussed for some time.
During a moment of quiet in the meeting,
Mary reached in her purse,pulling out a bill.
As she laid it on the table, she said,
The project was under way.
One Michigan winter morning in January,
church services were cancelled due to a blizzard.
It was dangerous to ask the parishioners to venture into the storm.
I felt warm and cozy
as I sat in my living room
watching only a few cars driving down the highway.
Then I saw Mary.
She was walking toward church,
carrying her Bible.
The ever present cold weather scarf
was tied under her chin.
The long wool coat was now protecting her from the blowing snow.
I felt ashamed.
I didn’t live as far from the church as Mary.
I had a car.
Mary was walking.
I was relaxing in my nice warm house.
That scene has stayed with me for many years.
One day, as I was driving home,
I saw Mary walking in the heavy rain.
Carrying her Bible, she was heading toward home.
I stopped to give her a ride and asked her where she’d been.
“I was at a Bible study at the church”, she said.
As I let her out of the car in front of her house,
the rain was increasingly heavy.
Mary got out of my car,
walked over to their flagpole.
She carefully retrieved our American flag from the pouring rain,
folded it, and took it into her home.
“God knows all about it!”
“If it were possible to ride into heaven on someone’s coattails,
I’d choose Mary.”