August 5, 2013 9:38:59 AM
Sometimes you get a wild hair. I wish I could say it doesn't happen often, but frankly, it does.
The older gentleman stood at a four-sided rack of boxes of donuts in the grocery store. He was nicely dressed in work clothes. His hair was graying and formed tight little curls all over his head. He stood at one of those racks that you couldn't possibly miss. It was right in front of the magazine rack and at the entrance to the cat food aisle. Now is that any place for a donut rack?
I passed by the man and watched him lift a box of donuts and study it. Then he'd place it back on the rack and drop his hands limp by his side. He'd continue gazing at the donuts. Then he'd move to another side of the rack and pick up another box of donuts. He'd gaze at the box and put it down.
While the man was donut gazing, I zipped down to the cat food, threw a dozen or so of Jack's favorites in the buggy and headed back toward the checkout stand. The man was still donut gazing. That's when I said it. "Sir," I leaned over close to him, "I think you should just get the donuts."
"Well you see, I went to the doctor .... " he started.
I listened and thought, "Oh my. He's probably diabetic."
"You see, my father died at 95. He always told me don't eat too much sugar 'cause it'll ruin your kidneys."
I was thinking that my momma told me it would ruin your teeth.
"Then last year the doctor found a spot on my kidney. He said it was too small to do anything so we'd watch it, and I'd go back in a year."
I nodded, and he continued, "I went home and I prayed for the good Lord to heal my kidney. I knew I'd been eating too much sugar. I'd stop by Dollar General and get me about four candy bars, so I said I'd stop eating candy bars and asked the Lord to heal me. Well, I went back to the doctor and he said there was nothing there and he couldn't explain it, but I could."
"So ... " I said, "Sir, I'm thinking maybe you shouldn't get these donuts. Maybe you could just hold the box and put them back like you're doing, or maybe you could say, 'Get thee behind me, Satan.'"
The man smiled, "Thank you for listening to my story."
I asked his name. "T.C. Lowery, like initials," he said.
From his wallet he pulled out a little white card. "See, T.C. Lowery and that's my phone number and that's my wife's name, Bertha," he pointed.
The card reminded me of my momma again. Momma made us carry names and numbers in our pockets in case we conked out somewhere.
Sometimes those wild hairs pay off big.
Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.