Anna May was old. She often said “Many a snow has fallen on this old head,” as if she needed to validate her long life.

 With so much news focused on crime, poverty, and threats and acts of destruction all over the world, Anna May sat and pondered her own mortality. She had not had a formal education beyond the fourth grade, but she knew how to read. Because she did not want to be ignorant, she had read newspapers and books since she was a child. 

It was now the December holiday season. Anna May had been brought up in a Christian home.  She believed in obeying the Ten Commandments and she celebrated Christmas enthusiastically. She thought about the other holidays and religions about which she had read: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, Shamanism, etc.  She felt there were positive attributes in all of them, but she hesitated to change her religion in her old age.

She knew that some of her neighbors were not Christians, but as long as they treated people right, she did not care.

Anna May dressed for bed and said her prayers while sitting on the side of her bed. Getting down on her knees and trying to get back up was too painful, too risky and embarrassing. She had had to call a neighbor who had a key to her place to help her get up the last time she got down on her knees. Anna May had decided that her Creator understood.

“Hello? It’s me, Anna May. I’m praying to my Creator. I’m so confused after reading so much that I’m not sure what name I should call you, but … you know I believe in you and respect your existence. I hope I’m not overstepping my bounds, but would you please help us lowly humans to love each other and treat each other right? And if you can’t make us love each other, could you help us stop hating and hurting each other? People seem to find any excuse to cause others to be miserable, frightened or dead. I’m scared, too, but I’ll continue to treat others right. Remember me, please. It’s Anna May, trying to live right. Amen and good night.  Hope you have a good day”


Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...