In a monetary sense, she wasn’t a wealthy woman. She lived in a mobile home in a mobile home park. Not one a fancy one, just an ordinary one, with vintage and new mobile homes living side by side.
My mother-in-law did have the very first spot as you drove in, so that was prime real estate if you wanted to be that close to the highway. It also had a large covered concrete patio. But as homes go, it was average.
She worked most of her life has a cleaning lady. A God-fearing woman, she could be seen through the kitchen window most early mornings and nights sitting at the table, studying her Bible. The other residents in the park called her, “the Bible Lady.”
At the age of eighty, she died. It was my job to go through her belongings and put the trailer up for sale. She kept odd things. Things that seemed to have meaning only to her and there was a lot things that quite frankly, no one else would want.
She did pay attention to her appearance however, and she had some nice things, albeit a bit quirky. Like her collection of wigs. As someone told me at the memorial service, “We never knew what color or length her hair would be!” She wore whatever struck her fancy that day. She was, in fact, a character. And a creature of habit. She followed the same routine every week and never wanted to venture far from home. She had to sleep in her own bed each night, so she made no trips that required over night stays. When we went to visit her, it was the same routine, dinner at her favorite restaurant and the same meal. This went on for years. So it was a surprise to find out something about her that I never knew.
In her things I found that she kept thank you cards. Not to send, which I am sure she did send them, but these were written out to her. There was a huge stack. I read every one. She had done many kind and thoughtful things for people, mostly in her congregation, but some were from clients whose houses she cleaned and the pet sitting that she did on occasion and the odd business. I also saw the ones she had kept from us. She was thanked for food a lot. She had given people the extra food she got from her food program allowance. I knew this because it was a prepackaged box that all the enrollees received, and she gave away what she didn’t use.
There were thank you cards for baby and wedding shower gifts, anniversary gifts and house sitting. Apparently, she socialized quite a bit, and she had thank you cards for those times too. They all had a similarity to them. She was loved. Not just by a few, but by many.
And so, she left a treasure behind that I have packed away in a box. A box full of thank you notes for a life of self-sacrifice, volunteering, and friendship. She lived life on her own terms, did what she sought fit, and tried her best to please her God. I don’t know that one could leave a more valuable gift behind than “the Bible Lady” left for us to find. That was our inheritance. A true treasure indeed.