8/6/07

Monday Night Dinners

How could I have been so pre-occupied with my life for 9 years, that I never noticed Howard?

Howard Pugh was a 98-year-old man who lived at the end of our street. All we knew about Howard was that he lived in the pink and brown house, he drove a golf cart, and he’d give a quick wave every night at about 6 pm, heading up to the Country Club for dinner. He kept to himself, and I was a young mother to 3 active kids, so I didn’t venture down his way very often.

Then one day a neighbor knocked on our door and asked if one of our boys could help Howard by watering his yard for the summer.

We met Howard, and our life was never the same. He became a “family member” in our life for the next year. As his body starting declining, I started helping out more and more. I found myself taking dinner to him every Monday night, as the Country Club was closed and he was no longer able to cook for himself.

Howard’s life ended on Valentine’s Day, right after he turned 99. We cried when he died, but we also realized God had a plan, and a sense of humor. You see, Howard was so in love with his wife, Ally, who had died 12 years earlier, so how appropriate for him to die on this day of “love.”

Our last memory of Howard was when he took our whole family to dinner at the Country Club. It was an enchanting evening. The live music was playing; we were all relaxing with full tummies enjoying the pianist, when we looked over to observe Howard. His eyes were shut as was dancing with his late wife, Ally. His arms were figuratively around her body as they were moving to the music, while he sat in his chair. We were taken aback and we had nothing to say. We all knew exactly what he was doing.

Howard would often ask me, as I drove him around to run errands and pick up his medicines, “Sandy, why are you so kind to me?” He was struggling with the thought that he might have to move into an assisted living home some day. That was something he did not want to do.

I always answered him the same way. I’d say, “Howard, I am an angel in your life.”

It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized the correlation between me taking dinners to Howard every Monday night, and how our friend, Hoppi, continues to bless our family with Thursday Night Dinners.

Once again, I’m amazed at how God blesses through hospitality, and how He works through food.

(Above photo: my kids and Howard. He was always a snazzy dresser, even at 99 yrs. of age).

13 comments:

momrn2 said...

What wonderfully blessed memories for all of you! We had a "Howard" in our life too until a couple years ago... although HER name was not Howard! :-)

Thanks for sharing such wonderful memories and triggering some of my own!

ValleyGirl said...

What a beautiful story and a wonderful lesson in hospitality. I said it once and I'm sure I'll say it as long as I keep visiting your blog: the people in your life are truly blessed to have you in theirs. Every time I finish reading another post of yours, I want to run out and do something for someone else! Very inspiring.

Nadine said...

Sandy this was one of your best posts. It bought tears to my eyes reading about this lovely man and how your family blessed his life. What a wonderful story of love and kindness through hospitality.

Jen said...

I think that was an awesome way to honor your dear friend Howard. How wonderful you are to be so kind.

Joy said...

Tears in my eyes after this one...

Becky said...

Sandy,
Your hospitality and love for others is so inspiring! I stand (or rather sit) in awe of your genorosity and am amazed at the impact it has on YOU!!! I love to have people over but we don't do it enough and you really inspire me to do so!!! Thank you for all your words of wisdom and encouragement. I hope to share stories like this one day! God bless!

Christine said...

What a beautiful story, Sandy. Your family is so blessed to have had him in your lives.

Heidijayhawk said...

that is an amazing story. i love how you can learn so much about someone over simple hospitality. i am also glad you left me a comment so that i was able to find this site!

Tammy said...

What a beautiful story...
And such a good reminder to open our eyes during our busy life and begin to really "see" people.
Your posts continue to inspire me to reach out more...thank you so much for sharing this story of true hospitality and Christian love.

GiBee said...

What a beautiful story and it seems as though not only Howard was blessed by your family serving him!

justabeachkat said...

Awwwww...what a sweet post. I, too, got teary eyed reading it. We have an 84 year old neighbor, Marty, that we look after and love.

Hugs!
Kat

Andrea said...

That gave me goosebumps!! It sounds like he blessed you just as much as your family blessed him.

Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

What a precious friendship. For both you and for Howard. That is a message your children will not forget.
Well done good and faithful servent!