A long, long time ago (back before the very first Star Wars film had been made) in a Piggly Wiggly parking lot not far from our very first house, a wondrous thing came to pass during this time of year.
We were on a very tight budget. I mean down to the pennies before pay day and it was the Friday before the Monday that was pay day. Sweet Man had gotten the change from our "oh holy shit" jar because that's all the money we would have until pay day. We were out of milk. Shelley had a little girl spending the night and we had stopped by the grocery store on our way back from picking her friend up to buy the milk.
Of course being a few nights before Christmas, the store was packed. The girls and I waited for what seemed like forever. Then we saw Sweet Man exiting the front door, trip and drop the milk on the pavement which exploded everywhere. His face looked like he was going to cry. He hadn't fallen, just tripped. It wasn't his fault, it was "just what it was" but it meant that the girls would have to go without. Not a tragedy but sad state of affairs.
He started for the car, when a lady he had been talking to in line handed him something. It was a $5 bill. He started to give it back to her but she refused it and wished him a Merry Christmas.
He came over to the car with tears in his eyes. He said they had been talking with her about money being tight and he told her, just as a matter of conversation, about my crazy "oh holy shit" jar. She laughed and shared a story about not having stockings for some visitors she had had for Christmas a long time before and her sewing a toe and heel of calico on a feed sack for them for a stocking. And they filled the stockings with nuts from their trees, apples from the larder and oranges that she traded a neighbor for by doing some mending, along with the only extravagance, home made fudge.
She told him he might not think so but these were the good times of our lives.
When she saw that the milk had been spilled she gave him a pay it forward that we will never forget. I have no idea her name but I will never forget the kindness she shared. And she was right, those were the very best of times. That was when we didn't feel obligated to gift because we didn't have the money to do so. And did without a lot because well "it was just what it was".
I always have said to Sweet Man, when I start telling the spilled milk story, just let me, because it is such a beautiful gift given for no other reason than it was loving kindness. He smiles every time and then those tears, not cried over the spilled milk, flow from both of us in gratitude and a well loved memory.
Blessings dear ones,
xoxo Oma Linda