Linda Garber and Dr. Ty Graden will probably never be featured on the Making a Difference segment of the NBC evening news with Brian Williams, but they do just that every single day.

Yesterday morning before Mother’s eye doctor appointment, her pastor’s wife Linda calls. I hear one side of the phone conversation:

“Yes, we’ll be home around noon.”

“Well, you don’t have to do that, but it would be a bright spot in the day. Thank you!’

“How many? It will just be Marian and I.”

“See you around 12:00.”

In pouring down rain, Linda arrives with a hamper full of home-made goodies, and we share a scrumptious lunch, all fresh from her home: potato-zucchini soup, deviled eggs, bread with strawberry jam, cabbage salad, and apple sauce with a jar of M & M’s on the side.


After the meal and pleasant conversation, Linda promptly gets up, helps me carry the dishes to the kitchen and fills the sink with Dawn and hot water to wash the dishes. It’s part of the “gift,” I assume. The Mennonite way.

Earlier I helped Mother wheel her way into Dr. Graden’s office in Elizabethtown, PA for her annual eye exam. She’ll have 20/20 vision with the new prescription, the doctor reasssures her. I remark that I need to get my eyes checked when I get back to Jacksonville. He says, “Well, I’ll can just check your eyes now before you leave.”


I have never met this man before and obviously don’t have an appointment, but I sit on the chair, and Dr. Graden clicks to a different set of letters “in case you memorized the ones I used for your mother,” he chuckles.

The doc is reassuring: “Well, you did pretty well—no cataracts to be concerned with, and you still have 20/20 vision with your glasses.” We leave the office, Mother’s visit filed with insurance and no charge for me.

Good Lancaster County people. Great hearts!