Thursday, November 27, 2008

EVEN ON THANKSGIVING...

It could seem, I'm sure, that these past few encounters I have shared with you, must be 'made up'. But, as strange as it is...they have all happened...just as I have told them to you. I think the Lord is teaching me something...in fact I'm sure of it after today...

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I had to make a quick run to Wal-Mart this afternoon for some cooking oil. I wanted to fix Ian some brownies and I did not have enough to make 1/2 cup. I parked near the Garden Center and hurried in. I located the oil and headed to the check out counter. Because it was the middle of Thanksgiving Day, the store was not very full. Wal-Mart, in our town, is notorious for not opening up enough lanes to accommodate the people wishing to check-out...but today there were several lanes with no one waiting. I picked the express lane, since I never qualify for the '10 items or less' on my regular trips to shop there. And...right there...waiting for me...was ...another one...



The clerk who was working was an older lady, who was not where she wanted to be on Thanksgiving Day. The customer was a man around the age of 70, dressed in overalls, a long sleeved T shirt, a flannel shirt, a down vest, and heavy work boats. He had a full beard, and a pony tail that reached to the middle of his back. Topping it all off was a knit cap. It was 73 degrees here today...he was way overdressed.



The man was in search of some "snuff...the green box...got little pouches in it...and it feels a mite cold in yer mouth." Well, that is about as good a description as a body could want. The clerk, however, didn't get the picture quite so easily. "You want something that tastes 'cold'? None of this says cold on it," she told the man, "and all we got here comes in a tin box. They ain't no pouches." The man tried his best to explain, "hit don't say cold on it, but it just feels a mite cold in yer cheek, see. It's just them little pouches in the round box, and it's green." "So, you're looking for a green, round box in a pouch?" she asked. "I don't know 'bout all that, I just want my snuff...the cold kind...in the little bundles," he explained. The clerk had reached her limit, so she yelled across the aisles...4 to be exact. "Mary Sue, you ever hear tell of a bundle of snuff that comes in a round box and tastes cold?" Mary Sue, bless her sweet heart, came over and said, "Velma, I don't know beans about snuff. But, Granny dips a little, and she likes that Cooper's Ment kind. Here see if this is what he wants." Friends, I kid you not, this is not a lie...it was Copenhagen Menthol! But, Cooper's Ment sounds so much like Copenhagen Menthol, I can see where she would get confused.



Well, the old fella's face lit up. "Yep, that's it! That's just what I been hankerin' today. This'll do me some more good! How much is it?" I began to feel a little Deja vu as he pulled a hand full of coins out of his overall pockets and dumped them on the counter. "That should cover it, I reckon," he said. Velma was not at all happy to have to count out the mound of coins, but she plunged right in to the task ahead. First, she separated them into groups...quarters with quarters, dimes with dimes, etc. Then she commenced to counting. And, I commenced to praying..."O, Sweet, Lord, please let this man have enough money to buy this snuff. I cannot deal with the dilemma of whether I should help him out or not. I know snuff is not good for a body, but , what would you have me do? It's wrong to help someone if helping them is really causing them to do harm to themselves. Lord, I know there is a right answer to this, but for the life of me, I just don't have the wits about me to figure it out today. Please let him have it the $1.87" As I was praying, Velma was drawing on her grammar school math lessons to count the coins..."57...67..77" she counted. I cringed...I knew what was coming..."Sorry, Mr., you don't have enough. You need another dime." "Oh, Lady", he said, "That's all I got...they ain't no more." He looked at her, and she looked at him...and I put my hands in my pockets. My fingers touched something small and round and hard...I pulled it out...and you already know what it was...a dime! I promise you...there was a dime, sitting all alone in my pocket! Just sitting there...waiting...to be used...to do a kindness to someone I did not know. "Well, Lord, I'd say that is a pretty clear answer as to what I should do."



And, so, I pulled out the dime and laid it on the counter next to his pile of coins. He turned and looked at me, and, in the humblest of voices, he said, "I'll pay you back next time." And, I replied, "That'll be just fine." He already had the wrappings off the round tin of Copenhagen Menthol in pouches, and was getting ready to pop it in his mouth, and "feel the cold." He had it out of the tin and into his mouth in one swift move. "Ummmmm", is the only other thing he said. "Happy Thanksgiving, Mr."

8 comments:

Lynne said...

Where do you find these people??

You're such a sweet lady!

nancygrayce said...

Small towns, that's where you find em! We have those people here too! Only they usually have a few tattoos and they're related to me!

Musicaljean said...

Oh my word, AGAIN!!!! You had me laughing out loud this time, and it's 12:50 AM!! Your stories are providing me with much reading material for my next sister sleep-over. You can soon start your own reality show, ha, ha, ha!!! You could call it, "What would Jesus Do?"

Dianne said...

Tonja, you are SO funny, and how indeed do these people find you?? I wish I would be in front of you in some line and you would give me money! At least your life isn't dull, huh?

Sherrie said...

I can't take it anymore!!! LOL!!! You have got to compile all these stories together!!! You could write a book!!!

LivingTheLife said...

What a funny story...and two days running of unusual happenings...YES! I think God is telling you something...and you are always open to listen...hallelujah!

While out with sweet hubbin yesterday an odd thing happened while we were in Home Depot looking for a few things for our "honey do" lists. I noticed that the music that was playing was a song...a country song...entitled "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers"...ummm you may ask yourself HOW I would know such a song...sadly, I don't really know...but I KNEW that was the song playing...and that really isn't a song that should be playing in a public place and let's leave it at that. I looked at my sweet hubbin and said, "Where ARE we?"....to which he replied...Texas my dear...Texas! I couldn't believe they were playing THAT song over the entire store! Usually, if the music is played softly I just don't really listen to it...but this little diddy was blaring! You know that had to be some sort of reel they were playing...makes you wonder who picks out those songs...and why they don't use a little more "filter" on the ones they do choose! Sometimes things like this happen and I REALLY do think..."Seriously...is this really happening?" I'm sure after two incidents of "money strangeness" you were asking yourself the same thing...life in public can be very odd at times! LOL :)


Blessings...
Teresa

madrekarin said...

Tonja- You must have a magnet that pulls you to the wrong line. Or the right line, as the case may be. Too funny.

Anonymous said...

Another GREAT tale. I laughed so at this one! You should write a book! Better yet...I think TV. needs you! God Bless your heart giving the dime to the OLE' guy...I know you were torn, but hey...I think you did the right thing and even God got a good laugh from this one! Keep shopping and keep reporting. LOVE these stories. They make my day. There is nothing like...A good laugh. It fills the soul with joy!!!