A visitor's gift to someone in the hospital, has unexpected results.
Normally, Long Island’s evening rush would have ended about an hour ago; but with tonight’s weather, Park Avenue, the northern extension of Deer Park Road, was still heavy with commuter traffic going uphill, or like him, going downhill toward Huntington Village.
The clock on his dashboard showed the time as 8:27 PM. The streetlights, along with Frank Sandrell’s headlights, illuminated the tire tracks of the snow plow and the cars on the road ahead of him. His wiper blades swished back and forth, clearing the melting snowflakes off the windshield.
He listened to the sound of the wipers. “Shish click! Shish click! Shish click! Shish click!”
Tonight, he thought, the traffic’s slow. That’s good. I don’t want to drive fast. If I did, I might join the other member of this family who's already a patient in the hospital.
“Shish click! Shish click! Shish click! Shish click!”
Are the wipers clicking at the same speed as a human heart? He wondered. Is her heart moving at that speed?
“Shish click! Shish click!”
Is her heart moving at all?
He’d got a call from the Pastor a half-hour ago. The man was at the hospital.
“I’ve spoken to your grandmother Frank.” The Pastor had told him, “She wants you to bring the acorns; the ones in the Ziploc bag. She said you know which ones she means. The ones you collected that were lying the Church’s lawn.”
The Pastor then said that he’d be praying.
Should I pray too? Frank wondered. What should I pray? A quote from the Bible?
How about, “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die”? Do I believe that? Why not? It’s worth a try. “According to your word, oh Lord. Amen.”
The Huntington Jewish Center was on his right. He’d taken a much longer time than usual to reach this point. Without this snow, he would have been at Huntington Hospital by now, and he’d know what was what with his grandmother.
The cellphone on his belt began to ring.
No. Not while I’m driving. It’s illegal to speak on a cellphone while you’re driving in New York State. Besides, I’m in no hurry to hear the bad news. If it’s something else that the caller thinks is important enough, he’ll call back.
Now he was nearing the Hospital, passing the Huntington Senior Citizens Center to his left, on the southern edge of Hecksher Park. His grandmother had occasionally attended events there. She said that the Center had a good cheap lunch, along with lots of things for people to do, but she hadn’t cared for it.
“It’s full of nothing but old people.” she’d laughed. “I like spending time with people of all ages.”
That was true. She was on the Church’s Youth Committee, and led the Sunday morning after worship seminar, for the Congregation’s high school kids. She liked the kids and they also liked her.
Within another 20 minutes, 24 year old Frank was finally inside the Hospital, taking the elevator up. When he reached the 4th floor, he stepped out and moved along the corridor. He was dressed in a dark grey overcoat, dark pants with black rubber totes on his shoes; carrying his fur lined hat in his hands.
He headed along the corridor, under the glaring florescent lights, past room after room with patients lying in beds, having various conditions of ill health. Some had visitors. Others were alone. The entire interior of the building had a strong anti-biotic aroma.
I hate hospitals and nursing homes, he thought. They’re full of sick and injured people.
Now he was approaching the door to his grandmother’s room. The Pastor stood outside, along with Frank’s aunt, Marianna Grafton and her teenage daughter Irene.
As he walked up to them, Aunt Marianna whimpered, “Oh Frank! I’m so glad you’re here!”
She and Irene both put their arms around him. His teenage cousin was weeping. She said nothing.
Frank looked at the Pastor and asked, “So what is what?” He braced himself for the bad news.
The man asked Frank, “Have you brought the acorns?”
Frank nodded. “Yes. Right here.”
He reached into his right coat pocket, and pulled out a plastic Ziploc bag, bulging with acorns.
Then he said, “I hope they have nut crackers here. Do I have to inquire at the desk?”
“It’s okay. There’s one already on the table beside her bed.
“All right then.” The Pastor spoke to them all. “Behold. I hopefully show you a miracle.”
Then he, Frank and both women entered the hospital room.
An hour later, they were back out in the waiting room. The Doctor entered and spoke to them.
“Your grandmother Vivian Grafton, has fully recovered. Not only that, she seems to be filled with vitality. She said it had something to do with acorns.”
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThe following autumn, in the Grafton's house, a woman named Vivian sat at the kitchen table in the late afternoon, looking through the window. She watched dark haired Irene, who carried her books in a briefcase, walking across dried brown oak leaves and acorns that had fallen from the trees which grew beside the street. She was headed away from the corner where the school bus had just let her off.
Irene's mother, who also looked out the window said, “You look like you could be her sister; like you’re attending high school yourself.”
Vivian nodded. “She's glad that I don’t.”
The girl now came up the front walk, entered the house and stepped into the kitchen, wearing dirty tennis shoes on her feet.
She said, “Hi Mom.”
Then she spoke to Vivian. “Hi ho.”
Her mother snapped. “What did you call her?”
“She’s a ho!” The girl said, “She’s after my boyfriend!”
“Whether she is or isn’t, doesn’t matter. You don’t talk that way to your grandmother!”
The girl spoke to Vivian, who appeared to be about her own age. “I apologize, Grandma. I’m glad you recovered fully, and that those miraculous, blessed acorns fully restored your health.”
Then the girl looked at her mother, “But did they have to restore her youth too?”