Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Sent to me by Brad D. ... excellent :)
Thanks Brad!
Mr. Miller
During the waning years of the depression in a small

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

One day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes
for me.  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 and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"H'lo, Mr. Miller.  Fine, thank ya.  Jus' admirin'
them peas.  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?"
"No, Sir.  Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."
"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those
"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.  Hmmmmm, only thing is this one

blue and I sort of go for red.  Do you have a red one like this at
"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
"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,
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 the occasion to visit some old friends in that 
Idaho community and while I was there I learned that Mr. Miller had 
They were having his viewing 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

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
Our turn came to meet Mrs.  Miller.  I told her who I
was and  mentioned the story she had told me about the 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.
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.
........ 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 right where you left them

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