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Years of Pears
Photo: Linda DuBose
It is early spring and there are pears in the grocery flyer this week. Though it is hardly the season for local pears, somewhere pears are getting ripe and after a long journey they are appearing in our northern grocery store. Why should pears in the grocery flyer catch my attention so firmly? It has been years since the incident, yet to this day, I don't see pears without thinking of Dorothy.

You see, quite some years ago my young husband and I had just moved miles from familiar community to become the new teachers at a small two-room school. Due to transportation difficulties we didn’t arrive at our new destination until just before school was to begin. To complicate matters, rentals in this new location were extremely hard to come by. Consequently, our household goods were temporarily deposited in the school until we found a place to stay. New town, new house, new school, new classroom, new students. And among those new students was a boy who belonged to Dorothy.

Right from the start, without fanfare, without drama, Dorothy slipped in and began to lend a hand. She helped me clean and organize. She sorted and mended books and painted my classroom. She tended the school flowerbeds. If something needed doing Dorothy was there. Daily she offered a smile or a dab of warm encouragement. My classroom flourished.

Not long before the following school year began, we found a house to purchase. Again we found ourselves moving and scrambling just before school was to begin. Early in the Fall, just after school had begun, Dorothy stopped by my classroom. “Would you like some canning pears?” she asked. “We’ve just been to the Okanagan and brought back some extras.”

My Mouth Watered

My mouth watered. I’d grown up with home-canned fruit and here in the north, pears were a treat. But I knew I couldn’t. I just didn’t see how I could get them canned with so much going on. “I’d love to but I just can’t,” I told her, explaining why. Dorothy just smiled. She didn’t bat an eye. “Bring your jars to school tomorrow,” she said, “and I’ll can them for you.” And that is what she did.

During that winter as my husband and I feasted, time and again I was reminded of Dorothy’s kindness. She had a young family of her own and yet she took the time to be family to another young family. 

Even though we are now separated by years and miles, whenever pears come around, I am reminded of Dorothy. I see her smile and hear her say, “Bring your jars to school tomorrow.” I remember that she took time. I remember that she was willing, expecting nothing in return. That is something I want for my children and needless to say, they know the story of the pears. 

It has been years and years of pears, but I never tire of having those pears remind me to be willing to serve like Dorothy. 

“Be shepherds of God’s flock… serving…not because you must but because you are willing, as God wants you to be” (1 Peter 5:2-3).

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By C. Rene Ammundsen. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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