Friday, June 18, 2010


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?

''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. 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 the store.'

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.

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.


This was sent to me by a wonderful woman that I love dearly. Deepest thanks my friend.


  1. How warming and beautiful this story. I can relate to it. I was very moved by this story and I'm sure other's will be too. Thanks Linda for reminding us that it's better to be kind and sharing than mean and stingy. Have a great weekend and a Happy Father's Day to your Joe. By the way, that was my daddy's name, Joe. Take care.

  2. I'm a big, blubbering baby over here...thank you for sharing this with us today's a beautiful story and a beautiful message that we should always remember =)

  3. I don't know if it's my mood or the day or what, but this brought tears to my eyes. Good to be reminded of the many ways to be kind and show compassion for people who don't have as much as I do. Thanks much for that.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. This is a beautiful story with a beautiful lesson. I have read it before, but each time it still brings tears to my eyes.
    There are many good people in the world. You are one of them. Only a loving, caring person would post this story for others to see and appreciate.
    Thank you for posting it, Linda.
    ♥ audrey

  6. What a beautiful story. If all the world were as Mr. Miller was what a wonderful world it would be.

    I only hope we are like that. Thanks Linda.
    Love and happy Father's Day to yours.

    vert word: idslo - I'd type faster but idslo. ;)

  7. Beautiful story, and wonderful lesson to be learned.

  8. Hoo boy that made me tear up! Sweet story and one can only hope those boys will "pay it forward" to continue the kindness shown to them. As should we all.

    word vert: panesin. I'm commenting on blogs instead of panesin my nails as I should be.

  9. Oh, Linda... It's almost 1am here, and I just read this... How touching and moving...

    Blessed be for sharing this.

    Love from us.


I love to hear from you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.