November 25, 2011 12:53:00 PM
There is a man, who moves fast, but talks slow; who gives much but takes little, a man whose dreams are so small that to most people, they are huge.
The man meets a woman alone and afraid. Her car ran out of gas on the way to the hospital to see her mother. The man gases the car from the can in the back of his pickup, then hands her a 20 and says, "You better hurry. Your mother is waiting." Through tears she thanks him and drives on without glancing back. It's insignificant to say that she is black and he is white because all she cares is that his heart is good.
The school bus is broken down, not one with children peering out windows, but one with windows boarded up, made into a makeshift home. A hippie fella sits on the ground, waiting for a miracle. The man comes, talks a bit and finds out what the hippie boy needs. The boy says he's broken down. The man spots him a couple of 20s, gives him a little advice and says, "I'll be back tomorrow to check on you." True to his word, he passes the next day, but the hippie boy is gone. He whispers a prayer that the hippie boy living in the school bus will find his way.
The ex-convict comes to the man; someone said the man might help. The ex-con tells a story of a good boy gone bad, how he found his way back and he will make things right. He speaks with intelligence and now with hard-earned wisdom, but he has a need and someone said ... maybe the man could help.
The ex-con holds out his hands. In them is a tool he needs to work. It is fashioned crudely and will not work well. The man takes the implement and turns it over. "Not a bad try," he says.
The man takes what the ex-con has and makes it into what he needs. Then he gently tells the ex-con how he found his own way to a small country church and how it changed his life otherwise, "You know, we are no different, you and I."
The ex-con leaves the man with a promise, "This time, everything will be different." The man knows it's true because nothing can ever be the same.
One day the man says of his work, "I'm so glad that I make something, that I actually produce something."
I smile and agree with him that it is a good thing to make something. What I know that the man doesn't realize is ... what he really makes is a difference. And isn't that what we all really want in life? We want to know that somehow, somewhere, in some way to somebody, we made a difference.
Happy birthday; I love you, man.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.
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