The entrance to the old man's room

In a Youthful Register

It was my day to deliver for Meals on Wheels. It’s a small very way to give thanks to the senior citizens of the world, especially when you only do it once a month and pick a short route. I was checking my route to see how many houses I had left. I get bored with the task early in the drive. This was only the second home. An invalid lives in a dark basement room in the back of the house. When you walk down the driveway you move from the flower garden and the sun into the darkness of a shaded and forgotten back yard. It’s depressing.

The room has one window. All I usually see is a cross hanging on the window pane. Today there was a dim outline of someone in a chair. I knocked on the door. An aide opened it, took the meal, said “Thank you,” and quickly closed the door. Not another sound. It was always this way.

As I walked back up the driveway, I heard a voice with an astonishing, youthful quality. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. It was the man in the chair. In the timbre of his two words, “Thank you,” a happy, young boy was speaking to me. It felt like a little miracle.

This frail man living without the sun was full of light. We read tales of men and women who become icons through their big, heroic deeds. This man, with a boy’s thanks, means more to me because he lifted me up in a quiet and unexpected way. His joy was a gift for my soul.