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A Red Marble

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho
community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh
produce as the season made it available. Food and money
were still extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. 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 push
over for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help
overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller and the ragged boy next to

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas ...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?"

"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."

"Here 'tis. She's a dandy."

"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for
red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"

"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."

"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, perhaps."

I left the stand, 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. 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 viewing that evening and
knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

Upon our 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
... very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling
and composed, 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 mentioned the
story she had told me about the marbles. 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

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased
husband. Resting underneath were three, exquisitely shined, red marbles.

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. P.S. God Loves You.

A wish for you!
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 or shop.
I wish you a day of little things to rejoice in...
The fastest line at the grocery store.
A good sing along song on the radio.
Your keys right where you look.

I wish you a day of happiness and perfection -- little bite-size pieces of
perfection that give you the funny feeling that the Lord is smiling on you,
holding you so gently because you are someone special and rare.

I wish you a day of Peace, Happiness and Joy. They say it takes a minute to
find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but
then an entire life to forget them.
post #2 of 2
That one brought tears to my eyes. An act of kindness is never forgotten.
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