Monroe City siblings spend time wisely during COVID-19 pandemic

By Mandi Kindhart-White


In recent weeks, Mary Lou Dawson, like many of us, has found herself feeling a little more lonely than before.

Mary Lou’s husband passed away Feb 2, 2014, and since then, she has taken care of her yardwork alone — expressing how she loves to mow, but “just can’t get in there and rake much anymore.”

She recently found herself elated with the help of neighboring children who warmed her heart with their generosity.

The children of David and Julie Hays told their parents they wanted to help their neighbor by doing her yard work.

The children took advantage of the mandatory shutdown of their school and took to using learning tools of the yard variety to help spread good cheer.

Kyle, Megan and Cole Hays were all smiles as they worked off some steam from all the social distancing they have been doing.

The children enjoy playing basketball and walking with their parents, but raking out flower beds in front of Mary Lou’s house was on the schedule for this day.

The children and Mary Lou enjoyed talking of her late husband Dave’s treasures they would find under the trees in her yard.

Arrowheads, geodes and even Arkansas blue glass that Dave had collected over the years in his gravel travel and creek explorations emerged from beneath the fallen leaves.

With her hand on her chest, Mary Lou expressed her deep thanks and gratitude for the help.

“They just don’t know how much this warms my heart, I don’t have family close and this just has been the best surprise,” she said.

All while social distancing, the children shared stories with Mary Lou and the four St. Stephen, Indian Creek parishioners created memories for a lifetime.

The Hays siblings are spending their time wisely learning priceless life skills by helping out a neighbor and sharing good-hearted friendship with one another.

While Mary Lou is ready for the COVID-19 scare to be over, she will not soon forget the gift of kindness the Hays kids delivered when they arrived to rake, load up and haul off the darkness of this historical time in the lives of Monroe City, the State of Missouri, the country of the United States of America and the world.

Ms. Kindhart-White is editor of the Lake Gazette (  in Monroe City, which published this article April 15. It is republished here with permission.