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March 23rd, 2017

Reiss’s Pieces

I know for a fact that there are many people among us who really are “saints.” Now I know that these aren’t the good old saints that most of us remember from our Sunday school days, but nonetheless, they are today’s saints. I don’t want you to think about Mother Theresa or other popular saints of today, what I want you to think about are the saints who work in our towns and communities and make our lives that much better!

I, of course, know someone who comes pretty darn close to my idea of a saint and I want to tell you about her. Her name is Sandee and a long time ago she went to school at St. Michaels in Montpelier. She was one of my students the one year I taught there. I must tell you that I was a terrible teacher, but fortunately Sandee, and the rest of my students, all managed to live through my year and have all appeared to prosper, live well, and enjoy life, thank heaven.

About three or four years ago I was standing in line at the post office on the Cape where I live, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I was “Miss Bragdon.” Well, you can imagine how shocked I was because there stood my old student of about 49-50 years ago! It was Sandee McPherson. How she recognized me I have no idea, but she did, and it was the beginning of a terrific relationship… again.

So, why do I think that Sandee is one of the saints who lives amongst us? There are so many things that I probably won’t remember to tell you all of them, but these are the ones that impress me the most. First and foremost, every single month, rain or shine, snow or sleet, Sandee drives from the Cape to Barre to visit her mother. Her mom is now a resident of a nursing home in Barre, and at 103, looks forward to those visits. Sandee comes and stays to visit for two or three days and then drives, alone mind you, back to the Cape. I make this trip twice a summer and am wiped out for a day or two after, each way. But not Sandee.

I think what impressed me so much wasn’t just the trips back and forth to Vermont, it was that she gets up every single day at 4:30-5:00 a.m. and drives two towns away from her home to where her son has a motel and she “does” his flowers for him, all season long. Keep in mind, I am not even sure that the sun gets up that early, and I can’t imagine doing it myself even once let alone very single day!

Now her days aren’t quite filled up enough with all of her civic activities, she goes off Cape to where her other son lives and babysits for his three children about three days a week, or maybe more. And this, of course, entails taking the children to hockey, soccer and all the other sporting events that they are involved in.

And yet Sandee has found time in her frenetic schedule to visit her old teacher and not only take me to lunch/breakfast more than once, but to then drive me around the Cape and show me sights that I might never have seen on my own.

I know that this kind of thoughtfulness is also called a mitzvah and I also know that such kindness has to be paid forward. I only hope that I can try and make someone else feel as good as Sandee has made me. She is truly one of the saints that lives among us!

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