It was all leading up to the big day. the week was hectic, fast-paced and diverse. One minute I am picking up food donations and the next, a dining room table and five chairs. Thanks to my trusty companion, Ellen, I was not alone in these endeavors. But it was all still a bit overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong. It was all good stuff, really good. It just seems that many times I am running in a million directions. Still, the week came to a glorious end on Saturday, when we were finally able to build a ramp for Mrs. Raggins.
She is an 87 year old former school teacher and has lived in Hastings her whole life. Her health is not too good and she is quite bent over from osteoporosis, I suspect. She lives most of her life in her tiny bedroom with her television. She especially likes Paula Deen. And she seems quite content. But last week, as we were putting the final touches on the ramp process, we needed a few more documents that she did not have handy. She hung her head and said to me, “It doesn’t look like I am ever going to get my ramp, am I?”
I knelt beside her, took her tiny,frail hand in mine and I said,”Don’t you worry, we’re going to get you that ramp.” I knew I was making promises I might not be able to keep, but I couldn’t stop the words from coming out of my mouth, anymore than I could stop the feelings in my heart. I said it. And I meant it. And thanks to everyone who worked together, the ramp seemed like a very good go. Thanks to a grant from Lowe’s, we able to purchase the needed lumber to finally build Mrs. Raggins ramp. It would not have been possible without it.
And go it did. I have watched and photographed many ramps, but on this day, there was a need for a saw woman. That would be me. Cody called out the cuts and I made them. The girls from Flagler SIFE worked hard toting the lumber and thank God for Tyler and April, who came all the way out to lend a hand. Tyler probably kept me from shooting myself in the foot with the nail gun.
In just a few hours we had a very nice ramp and Mrs. Raggins said to me, “it doesn’t a whole lot of people to do something, just a few who care.” I thought it was one of the wisest things I had ever heard.
Going home, exhausted, hot and sweaty, I couldn’t help but wonder why it had taken so long to this woman her ramp. Why had no one else in the community stepped up to take part? Why did it take a pie maker, two artists, a carpenter and four college kids to build this woman a ramp to freedom?
But then I thought, why does it matter who built it? The fact is, someone got it done and I thought to myself as I frequently do, “one house, Malea, one person, one day, one at a time.” That’s all it takes to make I difference and I felt myself become recommitted to this town, because it is and always will be one person at a time. And I can do that.
Mrs. Raggins said it best, “it doesn’t take a whole lot of people to do something nice, just a few who care.” Those few were there that day. Thank you, Mrs. Raggins and thank you to those who care.