Mary rested her hand protectively on her rounded abdomen as she gazed apprehensively to the top of the mud brick house. Joseph was up there somewhere, hard at work mending the roof before the latter rains descended. She wanted to talk to him. She tested her weight on the first rung of the ladder, then stepped higher. And higher. Soon her gentle brown eyes were peering over the top of the balustrade.Joseph straightened when he saw her, and his own eyes widened. "Mary'am," he exclaimed, "be careful!"
"I am," she responded, trying to keep the tremor from her voice. "I wanted to ask you something."
He nodded, looking ready to leap to her assistance if she so much as blinked an eyelash.
"Since we are in such a hurry to get to Bethlehem, I was wondering if I should put off visiting Sevta (grandma) til another day."
"Do what ever you think is best, darling, but please get off that ladder!"
Mary hummed a happy tune as she scurried off to market with her basket slung over her arm.
She took the short cut bypassing Sevta's house entirely.
But she will be so happy to see you!
But I go nearly every day. She'll understand if I miss just this once!
But what if she needs you?
Needs me? Sevta? She's the most lively, energetic grandma I have ever seen!
But what if, what if...
I'll stop in on the way back with some fresh fruit. Sevta is so thrifty I'm sure she doesn't plunge on any very often.
Why not go now? It's not much out of your way?
With a self depreciating smile for impulsively changing her mind, Mary headed towards Grandma's.
What was that strange lump huddling next to Sevta's doorstep? Is it a dog? No, it's too colourful to be a dog. A beggar perhaps? I do wish the beggars would take pity on an elderly widowed woman and go elsewhere. But she is too merciful to shoo them away.
Mary hurried closer. "Sevta!" Oh, I am so glad I listened to that quiet voice.
Soon her precious grandmother was being cared for by gentle efficient hands.