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Marbles

This is good!

 I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes..   I
noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean,
hungrily apprising 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 (the store
owner) and the ragged boy next to me.

 ‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’

 ‘H’lo, Mr Miller.  Fine, thank ya.   Jus’ admirin’ them peas.  They
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?’ asked Mr. Miller.

 ‘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’ said Miller.

 ‘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?’ the store owner
asked.

 ‘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’ .   Mr. Miller told the boy.

 ‘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, when they come on their next trip to the
store.’

 I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man.   A short
time later I moved toColorado, but I never forgot the story of this man,
the boys, and their bartering for marbles.

 Several years went by, each more rapid than 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 visitation 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.  They approached Mrs. Miller, standing
composed and smiling by 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 reminded
her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me
about her husband’s bartering for 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.


 The 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.

 Today I wish you a day of ordinary miracles ~
 A fresh pot of coffee you didn’t make yourself.
 An unexpected phone call from an old friend.
 Green stoplights on your way to work.
 The fastest line at the grocery store.
 A good sing-along song on the radio.
 Your keys found right where you left them.

 Send this to the people you’ll never forget. I just Did…

 If you don’t send it to anyone, it means you are in way too much of a
hurry to even notice the ordinary miracles when they occur.

 IT’S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF
LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED!


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