In some lives, comfort and peace are luxuries

6 Apr

 

Margaret Smith -- from the New York Times

Margaret Smith — from the New York Times

A story today in the New York Times by Dan Barry tells how an 89-year-old Delaware woman was kidnapped, placed in the trunk of her car for two days, them dumped in an overgrown cemetery of weeds and sand. No food, no water. The dramatic part is how she crawled out of that cemetery on bloodied hands and knees.

“I’d stop for a few minutes, then start crawling again,” said Margaret E. Smith.

Author Eudora Welty

Author Eudora Welty

The woman, who has a heart problem, survived to calmly tell her story.

In many ways, the incident reminds me of a short piece of fiction by Eudora Welty called, “The Worn Path.” Written in 1941 and first published in the Atlantic, this classic piece is about the all-day journey of an elderly woman who walks through a forest, up and down hills, across a creek on a log, through barbed wire and through thorns.

As she walked, she’d talk to herself.

“I in the thorny bush,” she said. “Thorns, you doing your appointed work. Never want to let folks pass—no, sir. Old eyes thought you was a pretty little green bush.”

Only in the end do you learn it was a regular walk to town for her grandson’s medicine, and she had no money to pay for it.

Quite a moving tale and, I’ll bet, based on a true person, a person like Margaret E. Smith, who comes from a town called Slaughter Neck, something right out of a Eudora Welty story.I only recent read “A Worn Path.” I picked up an anthology and there it was. I would suggest you read it. It’s a lesson in determination and hard living, and how for many people routine is nothing more than the everyday torture of life.

By Lanny Morgnanesi

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