Don't Be Too Good

 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 

Don’t be "too good" Just up the road from me is a Vietnam veteran who calls himself Jimmy. I stop and speak to him often at the corner store where he works late at night sweeping and cleaning up around the place. He smells really bad and it appears that he hasn't had a bath in a very long time. He wears a bandana tied around his forehead and an old straw cowboy hat over the top. His clothes are dirty and torn and he stands with a hump in his back. He always acts happy to see me because I stop and talk to him. He laughs a lot and is always telling me the story about how he works for the sheriff's department. He is not totally crazy all of the time because sometimes he says things that actually make sense and he pays attention to details. It surprised me that he has always remembered my name and also who my children are and when I got my new company truck 2 years ago that was exactly the same as my old company truck before I got the decals on the door, he asked me what happened to me working for the pump company because he noticed the logo wasn't on the door. I stopped and talked to Jimmy today and he looked really skinny today.  I asked him if he had any supper today and he told me that he ate some potato chips.  I tried to get him to take a few dollars but he refused. He said he couldn't take money from a woman and even though I tried to give it to him anyway insisting that he use it to get a sandwich, he jokingly told me he would break my arm if I put it out there again. Just then I remembered that I had quite a bit of shrimp and red snapper left over in the refrigerator and I asked him if he would like to come by the house and eat some of it. He said, "are you inviting me over?" and I said "yes, I have the fish and shrimp that I cooked on the grill" and he told me he could not eat if I didn't eat with him so I agreed and told him I would meet him over at my house. I headed on from the store to my house and it wasn't too long afterward that he was knocking at the door. He asked me if it was okay for him to sit down while I heated up the dinner in the microwave and then he told me what a nice "pad, man " I have. We sat at the bar and began to eat and he told me it had been a very long time since he has had something to eat that was that good. I gave him the biggest portion of the food and he kept offering me some of his since I had finished mine first. He ate really slowly and I kept telling him that he didn't have to eat it all. Eventually, he decided that he would like a doggie bag. While he was eating, I remembered that there were some shirts hanging in the boy's old room that we no longer have a use for so I went and got them for him.  He told me he wasn't looking for handouts and I explained that the boys can no longer wear the shirts so he tried one on because he was cold from my air conditioner and I suspect that he lives without central air and heat at his house. It was a very nice shirt made by Wrangler and basically brand new and it fit him to a tee. He admired himself in the new shirt and told me that he really looks like a sheriff now in the shirt. Later, he tugged on the shirt and told me that no one has ever been this nice to him.  He kept apologizing to me for not being shaven, but I told him it was okay. Then, he took out his prized dog tags from the Vietnam War and recited his number that was on the tag from memory. Later, he asked me if I care about him and I told him that I did. After dinner, we sat on the front porch so he could smoke and he started reciting the twenty-third Psalm. I asked him about his brothers and sisters and I asked him if he ever had any children. He told me that I would think he was crazy, but a navy seal he knew from Vietnam told him he was a computer genius and he made him a daughter on the computer. He told me that she did not like the man who created her and that he named her Betsy Ewing. He told me that Betsy talks to him all of the time. He kept telling me that it was true and asking me if I believe him or not. Of course I told him that it was fantastic that he has Betsy and I told him that I believe him. He also told me that his big house had burned down recently. We sat on the porch for a little while and he told me that he never imagined that he would be sitting there with me on the front porch. After a while, I told him that I need to go to bed and get ready for work so I walked him out to his junky truck. He thanked me for the dinner and the shirts and went on his way after he gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Wow! I remember looking at the sight of him when we were eating and thinking about how thankful I am for everything I have. I really do have it good and I am very blessed.  There is really no better feeling a person could have than the feeling I had tonight when this Vietnam Veteran expressed an appreciation for my kindness and told me that no one else is ever nice to him. It made me feel human and it also saddened me that people think they are too good to associate with someone like Jimmy or that our world makes people fear the indifferent.    This was just the end to my day which brought about a call from my son regarding my neighbor who was trying to make $200 dollars off me to help me get a tree cut up that had fallen down on my property over on his. I was so pissed off that a neighbor could not be human and helpful to a single woman next door and that my son was not willing to help me either.  And I was thinking about how people don't want to help others these days.  Then,  I called my friend that is the type of person (rare) who would help anyone at anytime and he loaned me a big chainsaw. I brought the chainsaw home and cranked and cranked and cranked then, finally, I got it running and then it was on! Chainsaw ***** got it on RUNNNNRUNNNNNNRUNNNNRUNN!!!! I was so proud of myself! Then I used my new weed eater, mowed my pasture, and then shampooed my carpets inside the house before making a trip to the corner store. Think of others today and every day. Don't be "too good" to take the time to speak to others just because they are different. Help a neighbor in need. Your attitude determines your altitude. When you look in the mirror, like who you see.

mulbig mulbig
36-40, F
1 Response Feb 24, 2009

This is a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. It often costs so little to make a huge difference to someone.