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英语情感故事Anna Maes Honor
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  • Anna Maes Honor

    Can it really be thirty years since I received the last of the payments from Annie Mae? I find myself thinking about them more often as I approach my sixtieth birthday. Something about closing the chapters on six decades and opening the pages of a new one makes one reflect.

    Anna Maes Honor

    Annie Mae’s life has deeply touched mine. I first met her at the home of my in-laws in 1959. I had moved with my husband and our one-year-old child to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, so my husband could complete his undergraduate work at the University of Alabama. My father-in-law was a professor of finance at the university, and my mother-in-law was active in university and community affairs. I vividly1 recall entering their driveway and being overwhelmed by the size of their home, the beauty of the furnishings, the manicured grounds and the pecan orchard2.

    Annie Mae was my in-law’s maid. She prepared and served meals in her quiet, gentle way and then returned to the kitchen to read her Bible while we ate. She was a dedicated3 and devoted4 Christian5. To me, she reflected the fruit of the Holy Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23. I found this increasingly true even though I came to know her more by observation than by conversation.

    My husband and I visited his parents frequently, and I became increasingly taken with this gentle, remarkable7 lady. Often when I saw her eating alone, reading her Bible, I wanted to sit down with her and just talk. However, whites did not do that with African Americans in the South in those days, and I conformed to the local practice -- though it conflicted with my Christian beliefs. I watched my son, Jimmy, play with her daughter, Jennifer Ann, who on occasion came to my in-laws’ place with her mother. The two children laughed and frolicked amid the trees in the pecan orchard. It was so easy for them.

    In 1965, my world was suddenly uprooted8. I found myself alone with two young sons when my husband wanted a divorce. I was fortunate to receive a full scholarship to the University of Connecticut in the field of special education. I decided9 to sell the furniture and household items and return to my home state with just our clothes.

    Annie Mae asked if she could buy the boys’ beds. When I answered yes, she asked the price. “Thirty-five dollars,” I replied. Then, in her quiet way, she asked if I would sell them to her and trust her to send a little money each month. I admired her and knew her to be a woman of God, trustworthy and honest. The words of Proverbs 11 came to mind: “A good man [person] is guided…and directed by honesty…Be sure you know a person well before you vouch10 for his [or her] credit.”

    Annie Mae was honest, and I knew her well. So I said, “Annie Mae, take them, they are yours.”

    I returned to Connecticut with my two sons and found a chicken coop that had been con6

    verted into four apartments. My neighbors and I all became family as we struggled to earn our degrees. Faithfully each month, while my boys and I lived there, an envelope arrived from Annie Mae -- two dollars, three dollars, five dollars, always in cash. That became the surprise money for my boys; I used it to get them something special -- an ice cream, cookies, an outing. My sons were thrilled when Annie Mae’s money came, for they knew that a surprise would be coming their way.

    A year passed. I earned my master of arts degree in special education and accepted a position as a special education teacher for the state of Connecticut. I had learned my lessons well. However, I was about to learn an even greater lesson, and Annie Mae would be the teacher.

    Annie Mae’s last payment arrived about the time I completed my studies. Along with it came the following note:

    Dear Mrs. Holladay,

    I am sending you my last payment of three dollars to pay for the beds in full. I told my two sons that they could now go to the storage shed and put the beds together and sleep in them, for they are now paid for and rightfully ours. Thank you for your trust.

    Love in Jesus,

    Annie Mae

    I could not believe my eyes. I read the note two or three times, my eyes filling with tears. Had I only known earlier, I would have said, “Use them now. Don’t wait until you pay for them.”

    Those would have been my thoughts, yet Annie Mae had other thoughts -- thoughts the world could truly use. She sacrificed. She struggled. And finally, when the beds were truly hers, she let her sons, Paul and John, sleep in them. She was a living example of absolute honesty, the honesty that should characterize all who claim to be Christian.

    This story has a postscript11. After thirty years, I called directory assistance and found that Annie Mae still lived in Tuscaloosa. I called her, and later my second husband and I visited her, and I had that chat I never had thirty years ago. What a joy it was! Annie Mae had become a family and children’s worker for the state of Alabama and retired12 in May of 1996.

    Romans 13:8 says, “Pay all your debts except the debt of love for others, never finish paying that!” How Annie Mae reflects those words! Truly she is a remarkable woman, one whose life has been shaped by Bible principles.

     9级    双语 


    1 vividly ['vɪvɪdlɪ] tebzrE   第9级
    • The speaker pictured the suffering of the poor vividly. 演讲者很生动地描述了穷人的生活。
    • The characters in the book are vividly presented. 这本书里的人物写得栩栩如生。
    2 orchard [ˈɔ:tʃəd] UJzxu   第8级
    • My orchard is bearing well this year. 今年我的果园果实累累。
    • Each bamboo house was surrounded by a thriving orchard. 每座竹楼周围都是茂密的果园。
    3 dedicated [ˈdedɪkeɪtɪd] duHzy2   第9级
    • He dedicated his life to the cause of education. 他献身于教育事业。
    • His whole energies are dedicated to improve the design. 他的全部精力都放在改进这项设计上了。
    4 devoted [dɪˈvəʊtɪd] xu9zka   第8级
    • He devoted his life to the educational cause of the motherland. 他为祖国的教育事业贡献了一生。
    • We devoted a lengthy and full discussion to this topic. 我们对这个题目进行了长时间的充分讨论。
    5 Christian [ˈkrɪstʃən] KVByl   第7级
    • They always addressed each other by their Christian name. 他们总是以教名互相称呼。
    • His mother is a sincere Christian. 他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
    6 con [kɒn] WXpyR   第7级
    • We must be fair and consider the reason pro and con. 我们必须公平考虑赞成和反对的理由。
    • The motion is adopted non con. 因无人投反对票,协议被通过。
    7 remarkable [rɪˈmɑ:kəbl] 8Vbx6   第7级
    • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills. 她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
    • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines. 这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
    8 uprooted [ʌpˈru:tid] e0d29adea5aedb3a1fcedf8605a30128   第10级
    v.把(某物)连根拔起( uproot的过去式和过去分词 );根除;赶走;把…赶出家园
    • Many people were uprooted from their homes by the flood. 水灾令许多人背井离乡。 来自《简明英汉词典》
    • The hurricane blew with such force that trees were uprooted. 飓风强烈地刮着,树都被连根拔起了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
    9 decided [dɪˈsaɪdɪd] lvqzZd   第7级
    • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents. 这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
    • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting. 英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。
    10 vouch [vaʊtʃ] nLszZ   第12级
    vt. 担保;证明;传出庭作证 vi. 保证;证明;确定
    • They asked whether I was prepared to vouch for him. 他们问我是否愿意为他作担保。
    • I can vouch for the fact that he is a good worker. 我保证他是好员工。
    11 postscript [ˈpəʊstskrɪpt] gPhxp   第10级
    • There was the usual romantic postscript at the end of his letter. 他的信末又是一贯的浪漫附言。
    • She mentioned in a postscript to her letter that the parcel had arrived. 她在信末附笔中说包裹已寄到。
    12 retired [rɪˈtaɪəd] Njhzyv   第8级
    • The old man retired to the country for rest. 这位老人下乡休息去了。
    • Many retired people take up gardening as a hobby. 许多退休的人都以从事园艺为嗜好。

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