(Remembering Mary Ellen Townsend Harris, 1911-2016)
Some time before Mary and Hugh celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary, Paul accomplished something most people would have said was impossible. It began one evening years earlier when Mary paused to talk with him before saying goodnight. She noticed he seemed restless, and wondered why.
“Paul, you seem a little uptight tonight. Is something bothering you?”
His eyes widened as he responded, “Mother…I have…something…to say,.”
She pulled a chair beside the bed, sat down, then leaned forward. “Okay, I’m all ears. What’s on your mind?”
Paul spoke laboriously, almost taking a breath between each word. “I have…something…to do…and….” His breath gave out, and he turned his head to the side.
Mary put her hand on his. “Take your time. I’m listening.”
Mary was puzzled. Because his speech took so much effort, Paul often made succinct remarks that signaled deeper, unspoken thoughts. She…
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