This week Michael asks us to consider the concept of Life’s Journey. For each of us it is different. Our unique journey has made us the people we are.
Patricia Redditch looked at the coat hanging in her wardrobe.
It was old and had a patch on the pocket, but still had plenty of wear in it.
She remembered a little girl known in the neighbourhood as Patches who lived with her widowed mother in a single room in a shared house.
Her mother had been clever with a needle, and would spend hours by candlelight sewing patches over thin fabric, holes, or just to make a symmetrical pattern to hide their poverty.
Clothes were hand-me-downs from friends and neighbours, cut and recycled, with repairs and alterations for others at a nominal cost to keep bread on the table and pay the rent.
Mrs Evans never complained, often going without herself to keep her daughter clean, fed and clothed.
One thing she was adamant about was that her daughter had a good coat.
Naturally, it was too big when she first had it, not new, but with only two previous owners.
It was a green wool tweed with a fur collar, probably rabbit, and lined with silk rather than nylon.
She didn’t really like it, the colour was all wrong for her, and the collar tickled her nose making her sneeze. But it was warm, and knowing how much her mother had slaved into the early hours to make enough money to pay for it, Patches wore it with pride.
Over the years, she grew to appreciate just how hard her mother worked, and when she was old enough, she got a little job in the evenings to help ease the financial burden.
Patches was fifteen when her mother died and quite honestly didn’t know what she was going to do.
She quit school and went to work full time, making her wages stretch to cover the basics.
The landlord wasn’t too worried as long as the rent was paid on time, and Patches found she was inventive as well as frugal in how she lived.
She passed her suggestions and tips to others, and word soon got around.
She met a kindred spirit and they’d worked together helping people get out of financial difficulties and learn how to manage their money.
Patricia smiled wistfully.
At forty three, she and Graham had a comfortable life thanks to those lessons all those years ago.
She stood up and held the coat to her face. The collar, though a little bald in places, still tickled her nose, and she sneezed.
Graham stood in the doorway.
‘Bless you, my darling Patches,’ he said softly.