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
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 (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
'Hello Barry, how are you today?'
'Hello, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look
'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. Hmm mmm, 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
I left the store 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 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.
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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
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
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
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.
IT'S NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND
OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED! (Author Unknown)
The story above, as I said was received from a friend via email. I
am not sure who penned the story originally, but it seemed worth
sharing for others to see. It serves as a model for all of us to
emulate to spread kindness around our world.
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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