Some years ago while making a pastoral visit to an aging widow in the hospital, concern was expressed about the sweet lady being alone when she returned home. She assured my colleague and me that she and her next door neighbor, who was also an aging widow, kept an eye out for each other. She informed us they had worked out a message system using the blinds in their living room windows facing each other. Shortly after arising each would raise her own window blind part of the way up to signal to her neighbor that she had made it safely through the night and all was well.
Seeing our smiling nods of approval, she went on to describe their message system. Half-way up with the blinds or higher meant, “I’m feeling good today, come on over for a chat if you’d like.” Only one-quarter of the way up meant, “I’m okay but don’t particularly feel like having company.” If either one’s blind was not raised by 10:00 am then the other was to call or come over, or call family members, for surely something was amiss. Voicing our relief that she and the neighbor had each other, we promised a follow-up visit in her home soon.
When we visited in her home a few days after her dismissal from the hospital we could not help but observe the raised blind just as she had described. Shortly after seating us in the fore mentioned living room, the sweet lady proceeded directly to the window and lowered the blind completely. My colleague and I could not help looking at each other with puzzled expressions and had to ask if that was part of their messaging system. “Yes,” she replied in a matter-of-fact voice, “That means, ‘I have a gentleman caller. Keep your eyes and nosiness to yourself!'”
-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013