The last thing I wanted was a diversion. It’d been a long day.
Sure enough, diversion.
As I drove out, he was walking the opposite direction into a cold, 20 mph wind with light drizzling rain.
“Stop. Turn around and give him a ride” was the quiet, still message inside.
My internal response was, “Aww man!”
A quarter mile down the road, I felt bad, so a U-turn and a quarter mile back, I pulled up beside the tall, slender man.
He was probably 55 to 60 years old, carrying a plastic grocery bag in each hand. His clothes were old and worn, but clean and well cared for.
His head was ducked down, leaning into the frigid wind, and his arms remained close to his sides to try to stay warm while carrying milk in one bag and can goods in the other.
He looked up with a tired, worn expression, but when I asked through my truck window if he wanted a ride, his eyes lit up instantly. Continue reading A Little Favor
He hobbled slowly to a stone wall to lean on it, caught his breath to gather strength. A few meters away, he half fell, half sat in a shady spot on the dusty ground.
His threadbare clothes were so tattered and thin that most people wouldn’t even use them for rags.
He carefully placed a beat-up cup within reach right in front of him. He’d learned that given half a chance, other beggars more agile than he would snatch his few coins and run. He was barely able to move across the street now, much less give chase. He tried in vain not to close his eyes.
There was just something about closing his eyes though that eased his pain. Every joint in his body seemed to ache, right down to his bone marrow. He wasn’t sure why, but sometimes sharp pains in his side doubled him over, causing him to curl up in a tight ball until the pain subsided. Continue reading Just For Crumbs
Saturday week ago we were on family vacation at Surfside Beach, Texas. We rented a 5 bedroom beach house that sleeps 30. That’s a lot, but if everyone was there, 28 would be piled in … at least until the next grandchild is born in October.
On the verge of cocky, we guys planned a fish fry (fish we hadn’t yet caught) Saturday night for the 18 of us there. Thank goodness it wasn’t on the keepers I caught. Gandhi ate more than that!
We fished off the jetties the first day, and my sons locked into a dozen or so speckled sea trout. They just quietly grinned like cats at a dairy farm every time I reeled in a small fish.
In the end though, we had more than enough fish.
We ate and ate, but cooked way too much. (That’s what you get when five men cook a meal.) Continue reading Catching Men With Fish
He walked in front of me. He was on a mission. So was I.
Shopping in a grocery store is easy. Little list. Grab it. Go.
He was quick too, except his handful of items needed a shopping cart.
Two 5-gallon containers of peanut oil, five boxes of fish seasoning, eggs and four bags of cornmeal.
His clean overalls said he had already cleaned a ton of catfish from either trot lines or baited holes. And now he was about to have a party, a fish fry, and he was fidgeting to get the fryer started.
There was still one thing in his basket that didn’t make any sense to me. He handed the little deli bag to the cashier who asked if he had two, or three, fried chicken tenders. Continue reading Help One
True story — It was Thanksgiving Day and he got up ready for a day of family, feasting and football, but something was bugging him. He couldn’t get a co-worker who had been in the hospital and hadn’t worked for a month off his mind.
A crazy idea kept bouncing like a rubber ball in his head. He kept feeling like he was supposed to buy bags of groceries, including a turkey and all the trimmings, for the man and his family.
He dismissed it several times, but couldn’t shake the thought. A little later, the man’s wife needed something at the last-minute from the grocery store, so he loaded up two of his young sons to go with him.
At the store the thought was stronger than ever, so he grabbed a buggy and started filling it with canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, a turkey, milk, flour, eggs, the whole works. When his sons asked why he was getting so much, he told them they were about to give the food to someone. Continue reading No Logical Answer
I just wanted a smoothie, that’s all! A simple smoothie, in and out, no big deal.
Last week two college girls were working the Smoothie King counter. After staring mindlessly at the order board, I finally asked what the best tasting, healthiest smoothie was.
She immediately said her favorite smoothie was loaded with vitamins, fruit and called the Pre-Mama.
She was right! It was great!
Friday two college guys were working. They were polar opposites. One was huge and tall; the other short and small, leprochaun size really. I wanted to catch the hyper little guy and demand he take me to his hidden a pot of gold!
A lady was ordering in front of me. The big guy taking her order had on a T-shirt at least a size too small, plus he had no, absolutely zero, enthusiasm. Undertakers at funerals have more enthusiasm! Continue reading Mama of King Smoothie
They were young newlyweds, but he was already wise enough to be quiet.
She grew up a daddy’s girl, a tomboy in every way. She could fish, feed cows, bail hay, but at the time, she couldn’t make toast in a toaster to save her life!
She decided to make her groom a special supper of some of his favorite foods, including cabbage. She’d never eaten cabbage before, much less cooked it. Nonetheless, she wanted to be a “good wife” and learn how.
In life, hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back now she laughs saying she should’ve asked a few questions, read a recipe, something! But then again, how hard could it be to cook cabbage? Continue reading Cabbage Pot Love
His frail fingers trembled as he took the nickel from the missionary’s hand. The starving Haitian boy was wearing a pair of ragged shorts, threadbare t-shirt, and shoes that had worn out months before.
During the peak of the famine, homeless children and orphans looked for any way they could to survive. If they could get a nickel, they could get enough scraps of food to live another day.
So when the missionary was walking on a road in Haiti and came across the sickly orphan boy sitting listlessly on the roadside, he gave the boy a nickel. Continue reading When Did I See You Hungry?
While pushing a grocery buggy with a squeaky, lop-sided wheel through the store, a happy dance suddenly rises from the marrow of my bones. Blue Bell’s on sale!
Feeling tears of joy well up in my eyes, I stand hopelessly in front of the double glass doors completely mesmerized by the gold and brown rim half gallons of ice cream. Salivating like Pavlov’s dog, I narrow in on Southern Blackberry Cobbler, but just before I reach for it, I see Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough out of my peripheral vision, and there’s Moo-Llennium Crunch above that!
Those made me second guess myself, and fight, and I mean fight, to walk away from it all like a good boy should. But like a fly caught in a spider’s web, both feet stick to the floor as people pass me on both sides of the aisle. Continue reading Blue Bell Blues
Sugar – it’s worse than cocaine! The onward swooning of sugar’s allure is woefully tempting! And the Christmas holidays are filled with every sort of the granulated, powdered, refined, and liquified versions of the cane plant.
Sure, I could lame blame it on something like my lack of self-control, but what fun is there in that? Instead, I cast fault on everyone else’s need for an ever-growing fix of sugar.
Truth be told, the ideal world would have none of it. Instead, we’d just reach for a blueberry or celery stick, or maybe just suck on a prune for an hour or so for relief. (No prune relief pun intended). Continue reading Christmas Calories