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Kitchens: The gift of redemption

Posted: August 2, 2017 - 1:10am

I lead such a glamorous life. We woke up today to someone on the phone trying to sell cemetery plots. Do they know something I don't?

My poor darling husband doesn't know what was contained in the "No Postage Required" envelope, as it was secretly hidden among my latest Publisher's Clearinghouse Entry and some thank you notes. He graciously placed all "correspondence" for today in our box with the flag up for the postman. I fear the honeymoon period we've been relishing since April would truly be a thing of the past if he did.

Later, while fixing breakfast, I frantically chased those little plastic wheels that go on the bottom of the dishwasher rack all over the kitchen. I have my general methods, usually unloading the dishwasher from supper while the bacon is cooking or something. Recently however, the dishwasher has been less than cooperative. But I do this little ritual, not so much to be efficient, as to come up with enough silverware and everyday china to set the table.

I promise you I seldom buy a set of dishes for less than 12 people, but like socks in a dryer, at least half of them mysteriously and rapidly disappear until : A) we decide to replace the carpet in one of the boys' bedrooms, including under the beds, or, B) food debris has hardened on them for so long, it would take a flame-thrower to melt it off.

Then we had stuffed French toast and maple bacon, and talked about our lives, as we do most mornings. We talk of the weather and things that need fixing or maintaining, of our children and other relatives, or we speak of dreams and plans for the future.

And often we share our past with one another, the stories that have served to weave our lives together and bless us in countless ways, even the difficult periods.

I somehow got to the story of when an old, old woman, pushing an old, old cart came into the grocery store one day when I was about five, scampering behind my mama and sucking on a Tootsie Roll Pop. She had obviously been picking up bottles off the side of the road in ditches and such, and had come to redeem them.

Her ragged clothes and straggly gray hair, coupled with the wrinkles of someone who has probably had to work, and work hard, outside all her life, spoke volumes, as they say.

Now I know most young folks have no earthly idea what I'm talking about, but back "in the day" you could bring in your empties from Coca-Cola or RC, or almost any glass bottle, and get the money credited back to your bill.

However, the assistant manager, or some supercilious jerk, came up to the bent and frail lady, and haughtily said, " We do NOT take dirty bottles like that unless you plan to buy more sodas."

The gum-popping cashier who exemplified the "ridden hard and put up wet" description, just nodded her greasy black roots in agreement.

The old woman looked confused, and then crushed. I suspect she was counting on the money to perhaps get some bologna and white bread, or a couple of cans of sardines and saltine crackers.

As luck would have it, my mother and I were checking out at just this time, and Mama drew herself up and firmly stated, "You either take her bottles, or say good-bye to us from now on."

After much blubbering and stammering, they relented.

And that I suppose was one of my early lessons in what First Corinthians calls "charity." Without love, we ARE just sounding gongs and clanging cymbals, but one kind word or pat on the back to another suffering creature, one glimmer of understanding, must make God smile.

After all, He stands up for us pitiful specimens everyday.

 

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