“Dress yourself in the silks of benevolence because kindness makes you beautiful.”
Richelle E. Goodrich
This time of year always seems to take my mind to a pleasant place. Possibly it is my Kiwanis Club helping kids buy winter clothes for Christmas or the many friends who are ringing bells in the cold for the Salvation Army and the warm wishes of so many of my friends that help generate hope and good feelings. Whatever it is it provides the mental climate that helps me understand the value of the simple good things we all can do for someone else and especially for ourselves. A few years ago my friend Judy who lives in another city sent me a story that always moves me, I am pleased to share it with you now.
On a clear day during the waning years of the depression in a small Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively. One day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to me. “Hello Barry, how are you today?”
“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas … sure look good.”
“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”
“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.”
“Good. Anything I can help you with?”
“No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.”
“Would you like to take some home?”
“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”
“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”
“All I got’s my prize marble here.”
“Is that right? Let me see it.”
“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”
“I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”
“Not zackley … but almost.”
“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”
“Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.”
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, “There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.” I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering.
Several years went by, each more rapid that the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts. All very professional looking. walked slowly up to Mrs. Miller who was standing next to her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes. Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. “Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size, they came to pay their debt.” “We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.” With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.
A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
Charles H. Spurgeon
A businessman who needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal went to church to pray for the money. By chance he knelt next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt. The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man’s hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and left the church.
The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed, “And now, Lord, that I have your undivided attention…”
“Waiters in New York are now threatening to go on strike. Apparently, they have a union of nothing but waiters. Isn’t that the Screen Actors Guild?”
Answering Machine Messages
Hi. I am probably home. I’m just avoiding someone I don’t like. Leave me a message, and if I don’t call back, it’s you.
Hello, you are talking to a machine. I am capable of receiving messages. My owners do not need siding, windows, or a hot tub, and their carpets are clean. They give to charity through their office and do not need their picture taken. If you’re still with me, leave your name and number and they will get back to you.
This is not an answering machine — this is a telepathic thought- recording device. After the tone, think about your name, your reason for calling and a number where I can reach you, and I’ll think about returning your call.
This is the refrigerator. The answering machine is busy right now, but if you leave a message I will stick it to myself with a cow magnet.
What is the essence of being human? Not understanding the opposite gender.
She told me that as a single, never-married woman in her 40s, she have been questioned endlessly about her status by her friends, relatives, and co-workers. Over the years, she noticed a subtle change in the nature of their inquiries.
In my teens, friends would ask, “Who are you going out with this weekend?”
In my 20s, relatives would say, “Who are you dating?”
In my 30s, co-workers might inquire, “So, are you dating anyone yet?”
Now people ask, “Where did you get that adorable purse?”
If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
Paul was in his mid-60s and had just retired. He was planning to landscape his yard and was trying to find some small shrubs or trees. Burleigh, a 90-year-old from across the street offered Paul some white-ash saplings that were about a 3 feet tall. Paul asked, “How long will it take them to be full grown?”
“Twenty years or so,” replied Burleigh.
“No good for me, then,” said Paul, “I won’t be around that long.”
The 90-year-old shook his head and replied, “We’ll miss ya!”
Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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