A cherry pie, a few meals, and Noah’s kindness helped him befriend his old neighbor, Mrs. Garner, who was deeply grateful to him for shoveling her garden daily. But one day, she mysteriously disappeared and he found a tattered “FOR SALE” sign in her front yard.
Sitting at the kitchen table in his new home, Noah couldn’t help but wonder how his life had taken a strange turn over the past few months. Six months ago he lost his wife to cancer and took on the role of a single father.
Chris, Tim and Harry were quiet, obedient children, but Noah struggled to balance parenthood and work. He was a teacher and one day he got a job offer from a small school in a remote district. The hours were shorter and the pay wasn’t good, but Noah accepted it in hopes of finding a better balance in life.
“I guess it wasn’t all bad,” he said to himself as the doorbell rang. When he opened the door, he found an elderly woman in his doorway. She held a cherry pie in her hands and a small smile appeared on her lips when she saw it…
“Hello, young man!” she said cheerfully. “I’m Mrs. Garner and I live next door. As you can see, it’s nice to have new friends, so I thought I should pay a visit. Here, this is for you and your little kids,” she added handed him the cake.
“Oh, that’s really sweet of you,” Noah said shyly, accepting her, “I’m Noah, by the way. Thanks for the cake. Would you like some tea?”
“I’d like that, thanks,” she said, smiling.
We are all connected by the bonds of humanity and we need one another.
So Noah served her tea and biscuits and told her that he had moved to a new house after his wife died.
“It must be hard for you,” Ms. Garner said apologetically, “but the job offer sounds good. I’m glad you’re taking it.”
“Thanks,” Noah said, “it’s a bit lonely here though. I don’t know anyone and my kids… I don’t feel safe leaving them alone.”
“Oh darling, you could use some help then!” guessed Ms. Garner. “I live alone and have no one. How about I help you out?”
“Thanks, but… are you sure? I don’t want to burden you.”
“Always! I’m always happy to help,” Ms. Garner replied.
“Speaking of which,” Noah paused, “I noticed your yard needs a shovel… I moved here a week ago and I see you don’t have any help. How about I tidy it up for you ?”
“Oh!” she laughed. “I’m an old bird, darling, and I don’t need it.”
“Please,” he insisted, “I want to do it for you.”
“Well, if you insist, then that’s fine. Thanks, Noah.”
So Noah started shoveling Mrs. Garner’s garden every day and soon they became good friends. He knew that she was fragile and lonely and in need of help, so he often visited her and helped her out.
One morning, Noah was late shoveling snow and Ms. Garner broke her hip after slipping on the ice. He immediately dialed 112 and stayed by her side until paramedics arrived.
Unfortunately, Ms. Garner was bedridden and unable to move. Noah and his three little superheroes took care of the elderly lady, brought her hot meals and listened to her wonderful stories.
Noah also helped Ms. Garner walk, hoping to motivate her to get out of bed and out of the house. Sometimes he wondered why there were no family photos in their house, and once he tried to ask her about it, but she burst into tears and he didn’t ask her further.
One day Noah came to her house for dinner and was confused when she begged him to stop helping her.
“I don’t need you to dig my driveway and I have no intention of leaving the house, Noah,” she said.
“Are you alright Mrs. Garner?” he asked confused. “Is something bothering you?”
“Oh, what would bother an old lady like me? I just want to stay in my house and not be a burden.”
“You’re not a burden, Ms. Garner,” Noah explained softly, “I’ll be happy to help you, just as you help me with my children. And all our hard work will be for naught if you don’t start walking again! I want to help you .”
With tears in her eyes, Ms. Garner said, “You have a beautiful heart, darling. Thank you for everything you do for me.”
“No problem, Ms. Garner. I’m just returning the favor for you,” Noah said to the older woman that day.
Little did he know that a week later she would be gone and he would find a “FOR SALE” sign in her yard.
That morning, Noah was surprised when he didn’t find her at home. He had a spare key so he could access Ms. Garner’s house. Suddenly he saw a young man peering into the yard.
“Yes?” Noah called from the front porch. “Do you need something?”
The man tensed. “Uh, well, who are you?” he asked.
“I’m the owner’s neighbor,” Noah introduced himself. “And you’re-”
“I’m Peter,” said the man, “actually I’m your son. I was just checking what work needs to be done here before the house is sold…”
Peter told Noah that he had Mrs. Garner placed in a nursing home and listed her house for sale.
Noah asked him the address of the nursing home and why he had never visited, and Peter said, “I moved here last week for a job opportunity and my wife and kids need me… Mom’s needed a lot of help lately; you know You know what I mean right? I can’t be there for her since I have a family of my own so I put her in a foster home.”
Noah felt bad that Mrs Garner’s son was not taking care of her and suddenly remembered how depressed she had been a week ago. When he visited, she sobbed into his shoulders and explained how lonely she felt after her husband died and Peter moved out.
Noah insisted that she move in with him and his children, but she refused, saying she didn’t want to bother him. But when he returned the next day with his children and tried again to persuade her, she couldn’t say no.
“You were like family to us, Ms. Garner,” Noah told her, “And we never considered you a liability. We’d love to have you home!”
While she was rejected by her son, Noah and his children gave Mrs. Garner a loving home. And Peter was treated the way he treated the others.
When Noah went to pick up his children from school, he met Peter outside the principal’s office and learned that Peter’s daughter was very disrespectful to the teachers and other elders.
“Well, children do what they see,” said Noah angrily as he walked away with the children, and Peter felt ashamed of what he had done. He showed up on Noah’s porch a few days later and apologized to Mrs. Garner for not having been a good son.
Over time, Peter changed for the better, and he often checks on Ms. Garner now.
What can we learn from this story?
Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself. Peter realized that cornering his elderly mother had been awful when he saw his daughter disrespecting the elders around her.
We are all connected by the bonds of humanity and we need one another. Mrs. Garner helped Noah and his children, and the young man and his children accepted her as a family member.
Share this story with your friends. It could brighten their day and inspire them.