This is Gregory. Gregory is an aging widower. He lives alone in Iowa in the house he and his wife bought when they first married forty- plus years ago.
Gregory’s children are grown now. There was a time when their little voices filled every room of the home. Now, one is on Connecticut. Another lives down in Florida and the third- well, he’s not sure where that one will ever wind up. She is always off on some adventure and she doesn’t call home much anymore since her mother died.
Gregory has three grandchildren. One is a boy- named after him, even- who lives in Connecticut with his mother, Gregory’s oldest daughter. Gregory has only met that child twice in the nine years he’s been alive.
The son down in Florida keeps fairly regular contact with his dad, but doesn’t see much of his daughters- Gregory’s granddaughters- since divorcing their mother three years ago. Gregory often wonders about them, but feels it best to avoid asking. He was never good at broaching touchy subjects. Not like his wife was, anyway.
Gregory never expected to outlive Martha. He spent most of his life working hard to ensure that she would be taken care of long after he was gone. He paid the mortgage off early. He invested well. He never missed a day of work. He spent so much time ensuring the future of his family, he missed out on the kids growing up. He lost precious time with his wife.
Now, he is alone and he doesn’t know how to ask his children for their company. He would gladly pay for them to come see him if money were the issue, but sometimes he thinks it’s just him. They don’t seem to like him as much as they did their mother. He doesn’t want to be a bother.
He spends most of his days doing the things he knows would make Martha happy if she were here. He still prunes her prized rose bushes, even ten years after she passed. Last week, he caught a neighborhood kid picking a bud from the bush and yelled at him to get out of his yard. He felt bad for yelling right after he did it, but the child was in Martha’s roses and it broke his heart to think one might not bloom.
The next day, he heard the child telling other children he was mean.
Is Gregory mean? How can we relate to Gregory? What things could we do to help others like Gregory in our neighborhood?