Pizza in a Slow Cooker . . . Melting pot of thoughts, ideas, and stories of family, love and throwing everything in but the kitchen sink.

Inspirational story..... please read! !!!!

Hello All !!!

     Why is it at the end of the year you hear, read or tell people to "be nice", "do something nice" and the ever repeated "pay it forward" ???  Really?  It just irks me because it shouldn't be the  "Christmas spirit" or a so-called "New Year's resolution" ! My husband and I are kind to each other year round (sickening?) but we truly are. Recently on one of our shopping trips to a large grocery store a few weeks back, I noticed this woman repeatedly trying to get a good look at us? I thought maybe she knew Dennis (or thought he was as good-looking as I think he is!) because I didn't recognise her. Then finally she says, "Excuse me, but are you two newlyweds?" Dennis tells her,  "Almost 2 years ago." She explained that as she was following us through the parking lot she observed how we held hands (and we were probably joking around about something)  and maybe kissed? She said it was nice to witness and more people should do it more. We were doing what comes naturally to us, but to a stranger we looked like honeymooners !!! All day I kept reminding Dennis of it - I was thrilled, tickled pink and downriver right happy !!!

                                            Let me share a few of our experiences with you :

Grocery store:
     Young couple with a small child at the check out line in front of me. They are putting some food on the conveyor belt and leaving some in the cart. At the end of it, I hear them ask if they can leave the extra food in the cart; to the side, until their ride picks them up and maybe they can borrow some money and get back in line. Now, it did cross my mind to offer to pay for what was left over, but I could see they were kind of embarrassed and I was embarrassed for them? And I was sad. I probably could have afforded to pay for the entire bill and it wasn't all green leafy vegetables and lean meats. They had what any family would have at their age and for their daughter. I felt awkward trying to figure out a way to help without making "us" feel any worse. As I was leaving, (I thought they had been picked up) I felt guilty for not having done something. So I drove by the front of the store, which I avoid like the plague because of the crosswalks, hoping..... and there they were! Standing inside, out of the cold! I put my truck in park, turned on my hazard lights  and walked towards them, thinking "how can I approach them?" I decided to go to the man and said, "Hi, I was behind you in there and hope this can help a little bit." I handed him a $20. I walked out as fast as I had walked in, not wanting to cause any uneasiness. I was almost to my truck when I heard "Ma'am!. . . . Ma'am!"  I turned to see the young lady running to me, arms wide open, then a warm embrace and her thanking me more than I deserved. I still get misty eyed or out right cry sometimes remembering that. I cried all the way home (3 miles!) and kept kicking myself in the ass for not giving more! But I do hope they will pay it forward one day when  they can.

Little restaurant:
     Dennis and I often grab breakfast right around the corner. And we could probably choose to do this on each visit (and maybe we will, now that I think about it). Why this particular time I don't recall. Even Dennis doesn't remember. So I'll take a few guesses. Two petite elderly women had come in probably half way through our meal and maybe we over heard them needing to share a plate, adding up what they wanted off the menu, or the *clink*clink* of change being counted? Take your pick or make up your own reason - when we cashed out we asked our waitress to use our ten dollar bill to pick up their tab and keep the change. Keep in mind this is a "small cheap early morning specials place". We had already tipped our waitress for serving us well. We have had to keep the faith that the young lady actually followed through and only hope it brought a smile to those 2 "cute as a button" grandmas! So you don't always get to watch the reaction but it still feels good doing it !!!

Typical party store:
      Down the road is our friendly neighborhood beer, cigarette, red bull, etc joint that we shop at when we are short on something at home and don't want to deal with the big over-crowded super marts. If a sports game is airing,  it'll be on their 42" screen hanging from the ceiling near the cash register. We make small talk with the owners/employees when we drop in for a sugar free red bull on our "out and about"  on a Saturday morning. At the time this happened, they had a new girl, young good-looking blonde, working for them - who didn't know us and we didn't know her. After a number of transactions,  it just wasn't working? I don't know about the other regular customers, but I wasn't impressed.

(Okay, I do have an affliction to blonde's but she seriously fit the bill.) Just ask my real estate agent - not only was I buying a house for the first time, I was relying on a blonde to help me and I didn't make it easy for either of us! But it worked out in the end. Thank you, Mary!! (not pictured above!!)

     So, anyway, I go in one day and grab whatever - pop, maybe some rum, cigarettes, the usual party store run. In front of me (yes, again but different) is a wrinkled short gruff sounding old lady. (No, not grandma material - though I don't know absolutely.)  She was probably coughing that smokers' cough as she asked the pretty little blonde for 2 packs of Camels (don't really remember, could have been Lucky Strikes?) and she had her money sprawled out on the counter. Maybe some singles and definitely coins this time, attempting to count out what she owed. Hell, she might have had a 40 ouncer or a pint, too? I didn't care. She's in her 70's (that's being nice , by the way.) and who am I to say nay? I told the pretty young blonde to add her smokes to my bill (pay for ALL her bad habits? How bad do you think I am?) Haaaaaa! When the woman left after gruffly thanking me (no hugs here) the pretty young blonde asked, "Why would you do that? She's in bad health and old." (not a perfect quote, but you get the gist of it) Me- " At this late stage in her life she ain't about to quit and needed what she had on the table." I am not here to judge (I smoke and drink.) but even if I didn't, I wouldn't have had that young girls' yet to live life attitude. This doesn't bring anything near a mist to my eyes, just the knowledge that we are all different and have different needs, whether you agree with them or not. And I wonder if that old grumbling wench appreciated it or if she wondered "what the hell does this stranger want from me?" And you know what? I don't care! It felt good to do it even if it wasn't in  the best interest of her health. PERIOD.

     While writing this and discussing it with Dennis- he retold a story his Dad told him. Leo was asked by a not-so-well-off person if he could "borrow a dollar for food". (Back in those days, the 1940's, a buck was ALOT) And Leo knowing this man was  probably homeless (or who knows? just a wino?) said, "Sure, let's go in and have a burger and coffee." So in essence, Leo made sure that he and that man got his dollars' worth. Fast forward-  after Dennis has heard this story - becomes a young man with a family(1970's) and remembers his fathers' words. Again, a man approaches begging for a  $1.00.  Dennis does as his father did... 'let's go break bread' , and as they talk- Dennis is touched by the mans' words, faded now after the years, but the lesson is still always fresh. He bought that man a meal and went a step farther, STILL giving the man a $1.00, probably for a bottle of wine. AGAIN, who cares as long as you CARE?
In memory of Leo
March 13, 1931 - February 9, 2010
I love you, Leo. You treated me as your own and welcomed me with open arms. I will never forget you and will always adore you. You keep the roar in my heart alive for your son, he is so much a part of you. I wish I had known Jo. I know you will never leave us, thank you so very much. XOXOXOXO


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