a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland

The delicious aroma of freshly baked bread wafted throughout the house. It has to be one of the most aromatic that touches our sense of smell. A single loaf of bread. Who knew the steps and great effort taken to produce this delicacy?

Our neighbor, Mae was a tall slender woman with a quiet, sincere demeanor. She had been seen less and less around the neighborhood over the past few months. Her husband would go off to work and son leave for high school the same time every day. They were a calm nonassuming family
that went about their lives as most of us do. We were soon to learn that Mae suffered greatly from liver disease. This being back in the late 50's was of an even greater threat that it is today.

My brother was to leave for basic Army training out of state, and after Mae had learned she expressed to my mother how much she admired and cared for him. A fine young man who always stopped by to talk to her and was so polite. Mother began staying with Mae when she learned of her illness every day as soon as she sent my sister and I off to school. She tried to assist her the best she could and waited until her son or husband returned for the day.

On a rainy November morning, there was faint knock at the door. There she was. Mae. In a pink robe with face beaming carrying a towel covered basket. There was no question as to what was beneath. A loaf of freshly baked bread with its fragrance emitting through the towel! My mother was overwhelmed that this woman being so ill would gather every bit of her strength to bake this bread for my brother. Of course, my brother was speechless and deeply touched by this act of love and kindness.

To this day, he swears that was the most wonderful bread he has every eaten. Mae passed away not long afterwards.
Yet that memory of her standing there with the bread is forever etched in our minds and hearts.

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