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REPAIRED BY LOVE
© 2004 Sandra Pavloff Conner
By 6:30 that evening, Kana was pulling into her grandmother’s driveway. She had stopped only one time to eat something, and a second time just to use the restroom and stretch her legs, but she hadn’t wasted any time. Unfortunately, traffic had been especially heavy, due to a lot of repair work on the highway, so she hadn’t made nearly as good time as she had hoped. Gram opened her front door now, having been listening for the car ever since Kana had called from her cell phone to say she was just driving through Pigeon Forge and would be with her in no time.
Kana jumped out of her car and ran up the three steps to the porch. She grabbed her grandmother, hugging her fiercely and laughing. “Oh, Gram, it’s so good to be here … and to know I can stay a while. I’m glad Mom and Dad agreed to come up here for a visit this time instead of us going to Atlanta. Not that I have anything against Atlanta, you understand,” she added, grinning, “but it doesn’t have the Smoky Mountains … or this wonderful old house that has so many memories for me.”
“I know, dear. I feel the same way, and I’m sure going to enjoy visiting with you right here for a change. I think it’s been four years since you got to spend any time here in Gatlinburg. I hope you’ll still enjoy it as much as you used to.”
“I’m sure I will,” she said giving Gram another squeeze. “Now just let me get my luggage carried in, and we’ll do some catching up.” She took two cases out of her trunk and carried them into the hallway, then returned for a gift-wrapped package from her back seat. “This is for you,” she said grandly as she handed her grandmother the package.
“Thank you, dear, but having you here for two months is gift enough you know.”
“But this is something I made myself, just for you.”
“Oh, well, that’s different then,” Gram said. “I can’t wait to open it.”
They walked into the house together and automatically moved into the living room with its overstuffed, comfy furniture. They sat together on the sofa as Gram opened the gift. “Oh, Kana!” she said as she lifted out six hand crocheted doilies each with an intricate flower in the center. “And they’re exactly the right colors to match this room.” She looked up at Kana, her eyes a little misty. “I never dreamed back when you were so small and wanting to learn to crochet – and making a mess of almost everything you tried to make – that you would be doing work of this caliber, and decorating my home with your handiwork.”
Her chuckle was contagious, and as Kana joined in, memories began to flood back to her from those younger days. “My stuff was pretty awful, wasn’t it?”
“But we had so much fun doing it together, and now we have those wonderful memories. And these are truly beautiful, Kana. I’m going to put them around the living room right now.” She put action to her words and began moving around the room, replacing table scarves with her new doilies, and even placing one of them on the back of her favorite chair.
“I’m glad you like them. I made a set for Vallie’s sister as a wedding gift too.”
“I guess they’re pretty excited up there in Philadelphia, getting ready for the wedding.”
“I think so. I know for sure Vallie is. She would have liked to come down to see you too, but she really felt she should be there to help as much as possible. Although I’m still hoping she can get away for a few days and spend some time with us.”
“That would be wonderful. Then she can fill us in on the wedding with a first-hand report.” Gram’s eyes started to twinkle, and she grinned at Kana. “Uh … I was wondering … is there any chance you’re getting close to thinking about a wedding of your own?”
“Now, Gram, you know I’d have told you if I were serious about anyone.”
“Well … I thought you would have … but I guess I was just hoping something had developed since the last time we’d had a chance for a long talk.”
Kana laughed. “You’re such a romantic, Gram. You really do believe in love at first sight, don’t you? I couldn’t have gotten serious about anyone in that short a time in any other way except that, you know.”
Gram shrugged her shoulders, smiling still. “Well, you know your grandpa and I didn’t have to think too long before we decided we were in love. It isn’t a bad thing. And, of course, I’ve told you about Maddison and Beth Holt and then Pastor Cameron McDaniels and Suzanne.” Kana nodded. “It took both couples some time to get things worked out enough to admit they were meant for each other, but most of us who were with them a lot had it figured out a lot sooner,” she said, laughing.
“Well, I’m really anxious to meet Pastor McDaniels. You’ve told me so much about him, I almost feel as if I know him … and Suzanne too. I made such a quick trip last summer, just picking you up and heading for Atlanta and then just dropping you off on the return trip, I didn’t even get to go to church with you at all.”
“Well, we’ll make up for it this time. Now, did you have supper or could you eat something?”
“You know good and well I can always eat, even when I’ve had supper, but no, I didn’t take time to stop for any meal but lunch.” She hopped up and started toward the kitchen. “I’ve actually been wondering if I should go on some kind of diet. I seem a little more plump than I did last summer.”
Grandma Nora stopped in her tracks and swung Kana around to face her, looking her over carefully as she did so. “Now you listen to me, young lady. You have a lovely shape. You’re five feet, seven inches tall, and if you were much thinner you’d just look skinny.” She looked her over once more. “No … your figure’s just generous enough to make you look like a woman should.”
“Generous huh? Now that’s a word I hadn’t thought of. It sure sounds a lot better than plump.”
“I don’t know where you get these ideas, Kana.” Gram pointed her finger in Kana’s face. “You leave well enough alone! A young man with any sense wants a woman who looks like a woman.”
Kana laughed and hugged her grandmother again. “Okay, Gram … to tell the truth, I don’t think I have what it takes to diet anyway. … So what are my choices tonight?”
Grandma Nora chuckled. “Well, I just couldn’t decide which of your favorites to make first, so I tried to get several of them done at once. There’s a big pasta salad in the refrigerator, stuffed green peppers just about ready to come out of the oven, key lime pie, and peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies. … How’s that for starters?
Kana couldn’t refrain from squeezing Gram’s shoulders again. “Gram, I love you so much. I wish you hadn’t worked so hard on my account, but I know you enjoy cooking, so I’m not going to feel guilty … I’m just going to indulge!” They laughed together and moved around the kitchen getting out plates and silverware and laying the food out on the table.
“Shall I take the peppers out of the oven?” Kana asked.
“Yes, if you would, dear. Do you want coffee?”
“Let’s have tea instead if that’s all right with you.”
“Sure. I’ll get the water started.”
They caught up on some of their news as they ate, and then shifted the conversation to what they would like to plan during Kana’s stay. “I hope it won’t be a problem for you, dear, but I feel obligated to attend a birthday dinner tomorrow night for a little girl in our congregation who’s very close to me … actually, her whole family is pretty special to me, and since she’s turning six, she feels like it’s a big thing for me to be there. They specifically asked that you’d come too, because they’d like to meet you, but if you feel like it’s an imposition, you don’t have to feel obligated.”
“Why, I’d be glad to go, Gram. If they’re important to you, I want to meet them, and as a teacher, I know how important those special occasions are to a child at that age. What’s her name?”
“MmHmm. Well actually it’s Delores. She was named after her father’s mother, but they’ve almost always called her Delly. She has coal black, curly hair, and the biggest blue eyes you’ve ever seen, and to be an only child, she has a surprisingly sweet, unselfish nature. I think you’ll fall in love with her.”
“I don’t doubt it. I feel that way about most of the ones that come through my room … even the troublemakers. … Or maybe I should say especially the troublemakers. Somehow it seems like those who are always causing trouble are the most in need of love, and my heart just goes out to them.”
“I know what you mean. I feel that way about several of the young people at church. This past year, Pastor McDaniels and Maddison Holt have been developing a whole new program for working with troubled teens, and some of the kids they’ve been working with would just break your heart.”
“Well, I”ll be glad to go to the party with you if you think they really want me to come.”
“I’m positive. I’ve been telling them about you, of course.”
Kana rolled her eyes and groaned. But then she got up to carry away their plates and move the desserts to the table. Gram refilled their tea cups as she answered.
“Well I have to talk about my only granddaughter, don’t I?”
“I guess so. Do you talk about your grandsons too?’
“Of course I do, but most of the people here know the boys, since they’re still young enough that they come with their parents to visit two or three times a year.”
“Well, just so you haven’t exaggerated about me.”
Grandma Nora snorted. “I don’t have to exaggerate. You’re such a wonderful young woman, the truth is all I need to tell.”
Kana laughed out loud. “Oh, Gram, you’re a case. I guess I might as well learn to live with it, and hope you at least haven’t told them any of the stupid things I did as a child.”
“Of course I haven’t.” Gram said. “I’m saving those to hold over your head in case I need some ammunition to convince you to do something you might not want to do.”
They both laughed at that.
“Will there be several people at the birthday dinner, do you think?”
“Well, Eve’s parents are in Ohio with their other daughter who’s having a baby this week, so I think the only other person invited besides us is Delly’s Uncle Lee. Well, his name’s really Lionel, but all of his friends and family call him Lee. … Now there’s a man you can help me pray for.”
“What’s the problem?”
“He just needs the Lord.”
“Oh, I see.”
Gram shook her head, a concerned look on her face. “And he’s such a kind and generous man too. It’s just a shame he can’t seem to connect with God.”
“But Delly’s parents know the Lord?”
“Yes, Darrin and his wife Eve have been Christians for several years, and Lee will come to church with them once in a while … especially if Delly’s in a program or something … but that’s as far as it goes. … Darrin hasn’t confided in me completely, but he did tell me the problem centers around their dad and the hard life he dragged their mother through. It seems Lee feels that he can’t believe in a God who would have let one of His children live the way their mom had to live.”
“What a shame. But at least if he comes to church some times, he must be a little bit open.”
“Actually, I think he’s more open than even he realizes. He’s become a real friend of the pastor, as well as having good relationships with several other members of the congregation. A lot of people in our church take their vehicles to the boys for servicing and repair – that’s the business they’re in – they have their own auto shop. Anyway, several of the people from church seem to have a good relationship with Lee Butler, and I’m sure they pray for him. … I know I pray for him all the time. In fact Delly and I pray for him every time we’re together, because she’s a strong little believer, and she’s very concerned about her uncle because she loves him so much. So I feel sure it’s just a matter of time before Lee finally gives his heart to the Lord.”
“Well, you can count on me to pray too. They sound like a nice family, and I’m looking forward to meeting them.” She suddenly yawned, and automatically glanced at her watch. “Gram! It’s 10:30! Can you believe that?”
“We had a lot of catching up to do.”
“Well, since I’m going to be here for two months, I think I’ll turn in early tonight; what about you?”
“Yes, that sounds good to me; it’s been a long, busy day for both of us.”
Kana stood and started clearing the table of dessert plates and covering left-overs to put into the fridge. “Let’s save most of the clean up for tomorrow, huh?”
“Good plan,” Gram said. “I’ll take care of turning off lights and checking doors.”
Kana kissed her grandmother. “I sure love you, Gram. See you in the morning.”