Minestrone Missionaries

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans landed on G.M.’s back porch with a thud. She banged on the kitchen door with her fist. “Come in quickly!” G.M. called from the sink. “I can’t afford to have you knock a hole in my door!”

Mac burst in. “You won’t believe what happened to Mrs. Randall!” she exclaimed breathlessly. She dropped into a chair at the table.

“Mrs. Randall from church?” Joseph asked, looking up from his math paper. “Mrs. Randall who always stands at the door and hands out bulletins on Sabbath? She always hugs me.”

“Yes! That Mrs. Randall,” Mac said.

“What happened?” G.M. asked. Her hands were quiet in the dishwater as she looked at Mac.

“Mrs. Randall was at the market this morning, and she slipped on some grapes that got dropped on the floor. And she fell down and broke her arm! The paramedics came and took her to the hospital.”

“Oh, dear! That’s too bad!” G.M. said, reaching for a towel.

“How did you find out?” Joseph asked. “Were you there? Did you get it see it?”

“No, I wasn’t there,” Mac admitted. “But someday when I’m a firefighter, I’ll be at the scene of accidents. I’ll know first aid. I’ll know just what to do to help everybody!”

“So how did you find out?” Joseph asked again. “Oh, I know! Your dad told you.”

“Of course!” Mac exclaimed. “I know everything that happens in Jacksonville! Everything important, I mean.” She looked at G.M.’s raised eyebrows. “Well, practically everything! I can’t help it that my dad is the Chief of Police.”

“Poor Mrs. Randall,” G.M. murmured. “She’s quite elderly. I hope her arm heals quickly. When a person is older, sometimes broken bones can take longer to mend. And Mrs. Randall doesn’t have any family to help her out,” G.M. continued. “This will be a really hard time for her.”

“Yes, she does!” Joseph put in.

“Yes, she does what?” G.M. asked.

“She has family!” Joseph said excitedly. “Pastor Chuck was talking about it in class last week. How our church is really a family. And how we are supposed to help each other and encourage each other. Don’t you remember?” he turned to Mac. “That was even part of our memory verse, ‘let us encourage one another’!”

Mac bounced in her chair. “That’s right!” she agreed. “What if Mrs. Randall was our grandmother? Really our grandmother, I mean! We would help her out. So let’s do it!”

“Cooking!” Joseph said, putting down his pencil. “We could cook things for her to eat! I can make salad. I can make fruit salad and green salad.”

“And I could ask my mom to show me how to make minestrone soup,” Mac said. “I already almost know how to do it. You just go out to the garden and pick one of this vegetable and one of that, and cut them up, and cook them!”

G.M. looked from Mac to Joseph. A little smile played at the corners of her mouth. “You two seem to have a good grasp of the problem,” she said. “Let me know if I can help.” She stood up and walked back to the sink to finish washing the dishes.

“Cleaning the house,” Mac mused. “She’ll probably need somebody to help her do that. We know how to vacuum, and dust, and sweep, and stuff like that. And I know the other kids in our class will want to help too. I can call them and tell them what we’re going to do. My mom has a list of everybody’s phone numbers.”

“Do you know if Mrs. Randall is home yet?” G.M. asked. “Maybe I should call her house and find out. I can let her know that we are concerned about her, and I can find out what she needs help with first.”

“OK,” Mac said, jumping up. “Want to come over to my house?” she asked Joseph. “I’m sure my mom will help me make soup right now. And you might as well come and learn too. Everybody should know how to cook, even if they’re not going to be a fire fighter! We can pick vegetables on the way over. We have lots of summer squash, and carrots, and potatoes in our garden. Can we have some of your tomatoes, G.M? I picked all our ripe ones yesterday, and we ate them.”

“Sure,” G.M. said. “Take whatever you need.”

Joseph slammed his math book shut. He grinned. “I’d rather learn to make soup than work fractions any day! Especially in the summer,” he added darkly.

“The fractions will be here waiting for you,” G.M. reminded him. “Summer or not.”

Mac and Joseph dashed out. Mac’s voice drifted back through the open door. “That’s one good thing about minestrone,” she assured him. “My mom says you don’t have to measure anything! No fractions in making minestrone soup!”

G.M. stepped out on the porch. “Hey, you two!” she called.

Joseph and Mac stopped and looked back.

“I’m proud of you!”

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