My 5th grade teacher came into the classroom holding the hand of a new girl whom she introduced to us. I got to know this new girl better and we became playmates at school. Going to a country school, we didn't get to socialize any other time since everyone lived so far apart. I wish I could remember her name but that was a long time ago.
This new classmate always went home for lunch everyday. One day she asked if I would like to have lunch at her house the next day. I had to get a permission slip from my mother so I could be allowed to go off the school grounds and walk the few short blocks to her house. I liked this girl and thought this would be something fun and different to do.
The next day we arrived at her house and her mother greeted us warmly at the door. The house was very small, being only two rooms. It was just the girl and her mother. The living room and kitchen area was neat but sparsely furnished. We sat at the kitchen table and were served sandwiches and iced tea.
Afterwards the mother brought out a pie and cut each of us a hefty slice. "I'm sorry I don't have a better pie to serve you," she said as she slid each piece of pie onto our plates. Being only ten years old, I could not understand what she meant. I didn't know what kind of pie it was but it was plenty tasty. I couldn't figure out what was supposedly missing.
"I like this pie very much. What kind of pie is it?" I asked as I finished off the last bite. She murmured something about it being nothing more than a butter and sugar pie.
I had a great time visiting with this girl and her mother and promised to visit again as we ran out the door to head back to school. A month or so later the girl moved away. I was sad that we hadn't had more time together.
Thinking back, I now realize how very poor this mother and daughter were and how much this mother was doing to help her daughter make friends in a strange place. I have often wished that I had had the chance to tell this lady that she needn't have apologized for doing the best she could do with what she had and that I appreciated it very much, as I am sure her daughter must have as well. I am sure the kind gesture of this mother and the love she felt for her daughter sustained them through some very tough times.