“Cookies for Buddy,” Ensign, Jan. 2002, 71
Whenever I think of service, I remember the rewarding experience I had as a Laurel adviser in Arlington, Virginia.
Buddy was a kind elderly man who lived in a tiny apartment in the basement of our Arlington duplex. Actually his name was Howard Rose, but he insisted that we call him Buddy. I knew that Buddy’s vision was severely impaired, so before I went to the store or post office I would ask him if he needed anything. Still, most of the time he walked to the market himself to buy what he needed.
At this time, my husband was attending medical school, and during his third and fourth years he was on call or studying late many nights. If my husband was on call at the hospital on trash day, Buddy saw to it that our trash was taken out. I taught school during the day, and each afternoon when I came home I would find our mail neatly stacked in front of our door. I never felt frightened on those nights when my husband was at the hospital, because I figured I could just shout for Buddy.
In the spring Buddy would plant a glorious flower garden outside our duplex. He was quick to give compliments, and I never saw him unhappy.
I mentioned Buddy often in the lessons I gave to my Laurel class. He was someone I admired, someone I considered to be a good Samaritan.
One Friday night I attended a party the girls had planned. As part of the evening’s activities, they wanted to make cookies to take to a couple of Laurels who had become less active.
As the 14 Laurels and I cut and baked cookies, it became readily apparent that we would have an abundance left over. Then I heard the words, “Hey, let’s take some cookies to Buddy!” Who had said it? Ann? Heather? It didn’t matter, because all the girls gave instant approval to the idea. I was startled and pleased by their spontaneous decision.
As we traveled in our cars to make the deliveries, I wondered if the rain that was now pouring outside might deter the girls, but it did not. After visiting the two less-active girls, we headed for Buddy’s apartment. As we approached the door, someone said that we ought to sing something, and another suggested the song “I Am a Child of God.” We squeezed onto the stairs outside Buddy’s little apartment, and Cori, the class president, knocked on the door.
Buddy was more than a little surprised when he opened the door. The girls started singing, “I am a child of God, and he has sent me here …” When they were finished I could see tears in Buddy’s eyes.
Having spotted me as he peered at the group through thick glasses, he asked, “Who are all these pretty girls?”
I explained that these were some young women from our church.
Cori handed him a plate of cookies, and Buddy just beamed. Several days later he told me they were the best cookies he had ever eaten.
Some time after this, my husband and I moved away from Arlington. Later, a Christmas card I sent to Buddy came back to me with the word deceased stamped in big black letters across the front. My heart skipped a beat. It was hard to think of Buddy being gone. Yet to this day I remember the warm feeling we shared as a Laurel class when, through a small act of service, we thanked a noble man for his example of kindness and charity.