By Sue Moore
On a Monday night, March 16, Ruth Hiskes and her husband, Don, who is 87, decided to go to Jaspare’s Restaurant in Vicksburg for a late pizza supper. “We were unaware that the main room was hosting a private party,” she said. “We walked in and sat down at an empty table, suddenly feeling as though we had crashed a party.”
On one empty table was a beautiful sheet cake – what was left of it – frosted with icing of red and white stripes. Several little boys were having a great time chasing each other back and forth. One adorable little guy thought her husband’s shiny cane looked like a great toy, but Don grabbed it before anyone could get hurt, Hiskes said.
A waitress assured them that they could order and that the party was winding down. Meanwhile, they were being entertained by the antics of the adorable little boys and wondering if this was a birthday party for one of them.
Before their pizza arrived, their waitress came to their table and informed them that a young mother from the group felt bad that they had been exposed to “all the chaos and noise,” as she put it, and that she had paid for their meal. “We were flabbergasted,” Hiskes said.
“I went over to the young woman and told her how sorry we were to have crashed their party, unaware that it was going on. ‘Oh no,’ she said quietly, ‘you didn’t crash in on us. I’m sorry for all the mayhem you were subjected to.’”
The young woman explained that the party was a gathering to say farewell to her brother, who was being deployed in the coming week. It was the second deployment for the father of four young children. “I told her how great I thought it was that they had been together to support his family and wished him well and that I would be sure to pray for this safety. She hugged me tightly,” Hiskes said.
As they headed toward the door to leave, they found her standing there waiting for them. She offered her arm to Don, opened the door and asked if they would mind if she walked them to their car, which was several stores down the street. “She took both of us by an arm and, coatless on a cold night, escorted us to our car,” Hiskes remembered.
Hiskes got in the car and immediately teared up, promising to pray for the brother and their family. “I remembered many, many years ago that we had a farewell family party for my father before he was sent overseas during WWII. I was five years old at the time,” Hiskes said.
“I am so sorry I did not get the name of that very sweet young lady. I feel a connection to her but I do know that her brother’s name is “Alex” and that he had wanted to do what he could for his country. This young sister and brother must have awesome parents. Perhaps we could all say a prayer for Alex and his family. That’s what I am doing,” Hiskes said.
Don and Ruth Hiskes came to Vicksburg from Oaklawn, Ill. when their daughter, Heidi Dykstra, and her husband, Ken, moved here for work in 2001. Heidi was employed by Family Doctors of Vicksburg and now has a job at Bronson in registration, with work hours shortened due to the COVID-19 crisis.