A Pot of Love

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Hannah Maria Estevez swung slowly back and forth, back and forth on the long rope swing that Papa had made for her in the front yard. It was her favorite hot-summer-afternoon thing to do. Well, maybe splashing in the river was her very favorite summertime thing. Or chasing waves at the ocean. But she had to get in the car and ride to get to those places. She just had to skip out the door to get to her swing.

Hannah’s swing was a good thinking place too. And right now that’s what she was doing. Thinking. Mac had called yesterday and told her about Mrs. Randall’s falling down at the market. Hannah scrunched up her nose. She didn’t even like to think about breaking bones!

Hannah looked down the street as the swing went up. She saw G.M.’s old truck turn the corner. She dragged her feet on the ground, stopped the swing, jumped off, and waited for G.M. to pull into the driveway.

“Hey there, Hannah!” G.M. said through the open truck window. “Are you enjoying this beautiful day?”

“Yes,” Hannah said with a smile.

Joseph and Mac piled out of the truck and slammed the door.

“I’ll be back in an hour or so to pick you up,” G.M. called as she backed out onto the street.

Joseph ran across the grass and leaped on the swing. “I love your swing!” he said. “I wish G.M. had a big tree like this in her yard.”

“Mama made us lemonade,” Hannah announced. “I’ll go get it.”

Mac stood still on the grass and watched Joseph pump. “Yeah,” she said, “there are so many big old trees in Jacksonville. I don’t know why there isn’t one in our yard either. I mean, we both live in old houses. You would think there would be old trees in the yard.”

The screen door banged as Hannah came back out. She walked very slowly, balancing a tray with three brightly-colored plastic glasses filled with lemonade and ice.

“O-o-o, perfect!” Mac sighed. She picked up one of the glasses and took a sip.

Hannah, Mac, and Joseph sat cross-legged on the grass. “Mom helped Joseph and me make minestrone soup for Mrs. Randall,” Mac began. “It was so cool chopping up all those vegetables! Making soup isn’t hard at all! We’re going to take it over to her house this afternoon. And Joseph and I are going to help her do her housework. Do you want to come with us?”

“I’m going to see if her lawn needs mowing too,” Joseph said.

“Why do boys always get to mow?” Hannah asked grumpily. “Mowing is not just a boy thing, you know! I mow our lawn. And I do a good job!”

Joseph and Mac stared at her. They weren’t used to hearing Hannah complain. Hannah’s face grew pink.

“We could take turns,” Joseph suggested. “You could mow one row, and I could mow the next.”

“Huh!” Mac exclaimed. “Joseph doesn’t mow in rows! The last time he mowed G.M.’s lawn, he tried mowing his name on it!” she informed Hannah. “And the lawn wasn’t wide enough for his whole name, so he just got the J-o-s-e part done before he ran out of room. Which was really OK, I guess, because ‘Jose’ is Joseph in Spanish anyway!” she added.

Hannah sputtered with laughter.

“Well, I would mow a regular person’s lawn in rows!” Joseph protested. “If that’s how you’re supposed to do it. G.M. likes the way I mow though. She says I’m artistic!”

“I had a good idea after you called,” Hannah told Mac. “I asked Mama to take me to the Garden Center. We bought a bunch of baby chrysanthemums.” She pointed to a shallow cardboard box setting by the garage door. “We can put them in big pots and decorate Mrs. Randall’s front porch.”

Mac jumped up. She dashed to look at the flat of plants. “That’s a great idea!” she exclaimed. “They’re going to be yellow and white, aren’t they?” she asked, studying the barely open buds. I think yellow and white chrysanthemums are the prettiest! It will kind of be like we’re leaving a bit of sunshine on Mrs. Randall’s front porch! And every time she goes out the front door, she’ll think of us.”

“She’s supposed to think of Jesus, not us!” Joseph reminded her. “We’re doing all this stuff for Mrs. Randall to show Jesus’ love, you know!”

Mac look embarrassed.

“It’s OK,” Hannah put in quickly. “It’s OK if Mrs. Randall thinks of Jesus and us. Because that’s what we want, isn’t it? For people to think of Jesus whenever they think of us?”

Mrs. Estevez opened the screen door and poked her head out. “Are you ready to transplant the flowers?” she asked the children. “Carry them around to the back. The pots, the potting soil, and everything else you’ll need is on the porch.”

Mac bent down and picked up the box of plants. “This may look like just a box of flowers to you,” she announced to the world in general, “but it’s really a box of love. Love from Jesus and from us!”




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