Sunday, February 13, 2011


Probably one of my fondest recollections of Mitch took place many years ago when she was onstage singing with a group of rascally, sweet boys -
                    I ain't got nothin' for Christmas
                    Mommy and Daddy are mad.
                    I ain't got nothin' for Christmas
                    'Cause I ain't been nothin' but bad!
I laughed. I remember her minxy manner but I also remember her genuine smile. She was 'just one of the guys' and everyone liked Mitch.
Mitch encountered many valleys in her life. I am sure there were times when she felt like she was 'nothin but bad.' But she managed to face her demons head on and fought long and hard to get herself on the straight and narrow.  She is one of the kindest, most likeable people around our little village.

For years now, Mitch has worked around town doing jobs here and there, volunteering wherever and whenever there is a need. Her particular passion is children. Many children know Mitch. She is known for her high fives; her cheery smile and the way she hits it off with every child she encounters.

When I was going through my treatments I recall bumping into her downtown and her welling up when she saw me in my semi-balding state. I think she joked about my hat and we shared a few sarcastic lines. What I really remember was how she put a smile on my face and I left her feeling a little richer.

For almost two years now Mitch has had the perfect job to suit her gifts - crossing guard just down the road from the public school. No matter the weather, Mitch, donned in all her crossing guard finery - neon jacket and carrying her big red, octagonal stop sign, has been there for all her little charges. Not only has Mitch been a reliable soul helping and keeping watch over the children as they headed to school and back again each weekday, but she often went the extra mile. Talk with local moms in the community. They are keen to share stories of how Mitch cleared sidewalks so they could push their awkward strollers along the snowy pathways. I heard tales of how Mitch would remember birthdays and recall names. She would watch traffic with a keen eye and flash her winning smile and wave her big red octagon to drivers she recognized. I often watched for Mitch as I came into town during school hours. Her cheery smile was like the town welcoming committee.

A few weeks ago now, Mitch was dealt another nasty blow. She was fired. She was let go for protecting the children and I [along with many moms and other concerned citizens of our little village] am furious.

An impatient driver revved his engine and acted inappropriately as Mitch held her stop sign high so that children could safely cross the road. Everything came to a head when Mitch attempted to do her job and obtain the driver's license plate number so she could report his dangerous actions to the police. A few people with an extraordinary amount of power somehow got the wrong end of the stick and Mitch's actions to guard the children were misinterpreted. No fair trial. No discussion. No explanation. She was let go.

See the KW Record stories for details of what happened:

A group of concerned citizens rallied together on Mitch's behalf last Tuesday. 'Twas all in vain however, when the powers that be sadly did not allow the voice of reason to prevail. Mitch was not allowed to return to her post. She is greatly missed.

One supporter of Mitch's posted last week on Facebook about how God has a plan. I believe her. I  believe her words. I believe that once something sad happens, something exceedingly beautiful occurs. Without sadness there can be no joy. It takes little effort to lop off branches from a withering tree. Within a short while, soon the tree bears fragrant blossoms, promising and ultimately producing succulent fruit.  
I am thinking that God just might have seen an opportunity to pinch Mitch and point out to her how much she is loved and appreciated. I am thinking that He is now ready to make a good thing out of this wretched situation.

Someone might have lopped off your branches, my friend, but the fruit that is being produced will be luscious and sweet. Hold tight. Brace yourself.

All things work together for good to them that love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28)


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Her Mom

Her name was Crystal. I took my purchases up to the counter and the smiling young lady - barely grazing 20 years old, began ringing in my purchases. We started chatting and she asked me about all the scrapbooking items in my basket. I told her about our Zeal for Teal fundraiser. I explained how we were doing it in order to help raise awareness and educate women about Ovarian Cancer.

Crystal's nimble fingers stopped for a moment. She ceased pressing the keys on the cash register and looked deep into my soul.
"That's what my mom died of," she said. "And now I am having a baby and I miss her terribly."
I gazed at her little belly. Barely sprouting. A teal shirt - ironically, covering the tiny bulge.

She resumed ringing in my purchases. Her words had impacted my heart and I wanted to reach out and hold the new little momma-to-be, close to my heart. Like some mad-hatter marketer I started spitting out the details of the Zeal for Teal crop.
"Are you a scrapbooker?" I asked.
"No, but maybe I could try."
I promptly promised that the next time I was in the store I would bring in our flyer and information about our special day. We chatted for a few more minutes about her pregnancy and how she had been feeling. She was a little girl who needed her momma and ovarian cancer had stolen that from her. She was nine when her mother died. Her mother was 38. Wrong, wrong, wrong...cancer cares not for whom it afflicts. 38? A mother? Far too young for life to be snatched and to leave a little girl motherless. A little girl who was now having her own precious little one.
God...when I get to heaven, will I know why? I sometimes think I know why. Then I see Crystal and once again, I don't understand. 

Maybe I will go back to the store and ask her if she needs me to be her Mom...