YORK -- Peggy Wyatt's home is just what you would expect of a 70-year-old widowed great-grandmother on a fixed income.
It smells like clean. You could eat off the floors. The furniture is nice, and much of it is older than her grown grandchildren.
A small dog that provides the company, named Diggsy, is underfoot.
A picture of her Smyrna beauty shop, a building not much bigger than a large shed, where she did hair for more than 30 years, is on the wall.
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Christmas gifts are under the tree. The gift bags are in sparkling Christmas colors, with white tissue paper inside. The bags have bows and ribbons of red.
The gallons of chicken stew that will feed 25 in her family Christmas Eve is long-made and in the freezer. The broccoli soup and the potato soup and the biscuits and the cornbread and the other stuff for that day will be made fresh later.
Wyatt momentarily forgot her purse in a shopping cart and had that purse snatched a couple of weeks ago. Inside that purse were her money, gift cards, pictures of long-deceased family members that can't be replaced, her eyeglasses and more. I wrote a little column about the purse and the lady.
The morning the story ran, last Thursday at 7:43 a.m., a guy so incensed that somebody would take an old lady's purse called me. He used words favored by Marines in combat to describe the character of the purse-snatcher and what he would do to the purse-snatcher if he found that person.
Later that man arranged to have Wyatt pick something up at the McConnells post office. That took hours because she, of course, was baby-sitting grandchildren and great-grands.
The something was a handful of money.
Two eye doctors offered free eye exams and new glasses. The Rock Hill Galleria gave gift certificates. The store where the incident happened made Wyatt a beautiful floral arrangement that sits by her fireplace in Christmas colors that dazzle.
"I'm so overwhelmed I don't know what to say," Wyatt said. "Strangers, people I don't know, what goodness they have in their hearts."
But it is her mail, and a few Christmas cards, that make Peggy Joanne Wyatt cry still.
Outpouring of concern
Since that morning a week ago, and every day since, people Wyatt never met have called her or sent her something in the mail.
One lady wrote her a card. It had no return address. It was anonymous. The person wrote: "I am a grandmother on a fixed income just like you."
Inside was $50.
People have called me and e-mailed me and written me, too, about this lady.
One letter I received was from a granny on a fixed income. It had $10 inside.
Another letter came from another granny on a fixed income. Inside that was a $20 bill.
Those letters asked me if I would go to Peggy Wyatt and give her that money so she would know that other grannies wanted her to have a wonderful Christmas.
I did just that Wednesday.
The little dog didn't even try to bite me.
Wyatt put the return addresses of those grannies on her list of people to get "Thank You" cards. She has already sent out some cards.
And Peggy Wyatt cried some more Wednesday because she's planning how she can take what she has and help somebody else.
"I have been blessed and others need that blessing, too," Wyatt told me. "How can I thank all these other people who are more worried about a little old lady than themselves?"
I said, "Ms. Wyatt, you just did."