I grew up on Erie Street in the inner-city of Rochester, New York.
My family lived in a red-brick house that was built to last. It's still there, in fact. Eastman Kodak had purchased all the property in our neighborhood and turned the entire area into a parking lot. But not our house. They couldn't touch it. The Landmark Society wouldn't let them. The foundation to our home was too strong...too solid...and it was deemed a landmark.
In perspective, in more ways than one.
There was so much Love in that house, I can feel it today; that was its true foundation. The house was built on Love that was placed there by my Mom.
She did so much for so many people for so many years. In big and little ways.
I remember every year she'd visit homes in the neighborhood and collected money for what was then called the Leukemia Society charity organization. There weren't many homes left in the later years, and many of those who lived in those homes had little or no money at all to donate. But that never stopped my Mom, even during the winter months, when she mostly made her rounds for the charity.
There she'd be in the middle of February, putting on her coat in that big ol' fashioned kitchen that we used to have. She'd then take her little manila envelope with the tiny strings, and walked out the door.
One year, for some reason, I went with her. She visited maybe only 5 or 6 houses, and returned home with maybe just $5 or $6. She knew it wasn't much...and even as a little kid, I knew it wasn't much either. But I also knew Heaven thought that little $5 or $6 was worth a great deal.
As such, my Mom's little neighborhood collections for funds from those poor families that would help an even needier group of people...who were dying...well...there's just no measure for the amount of Love that she collected - and that was collected for her...by the Angels.
There's no measure because...in the eyes of Heaven...she counted in so many other ways.
She made a difference.
Just as she would decades later...when she was in the early stages of dementia...which thankfully...never turned to full-blown Alzheimer's.
One voting year...in the last of her 86 years...I was going to the local fire station to place my vote in the local elections.
"I want to come, too," she said.
"But nothing," she added sternly. "My vote counts, doesn't it?"
How could I say it did not - and how could it not?
Of course her vote counted in the local elections...because SHE counted...in my eyes...in the eyes of her friends at the senior center....in the complex where she lived...and in the eyes of Heaven...where SHE received countless votes.
So, that one voting day in November '07...she did come with me.
The voting booth organizers at the fire station said I could help her make her voting selections.
Truth is, she didn't know who was running for what office...and she was going to forget what she did and who she voted for about ten minutes after we got back to her apartment.
But for that moment in time...her vote counted because SHE counted.
She ALWAYS counted.
Because she always did her part...whether for the Leukemia Society...or the local elections....or for Heaven.
Either way, she did her part and she counted.
And she still does...most likely more than I will ever know.
In this life.