The Folded Napkin … A Truckers Story

The Folded Napkin … A Truckers Story

I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn’t sure I wanted one. I wasn’t sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick-tongued speech of Downs Syndrome.

I wasn’t worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don’t generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me; the mouthy college kids traveling to school; the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded “truck stop germ” the pairs of white-shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truck stop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.

I shouldn’t have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truck stop mascot. After that, I really didn’t care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table.

Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.

Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truck stop. Their social worker, who stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home. That’s why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work.

He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Downs Syndrome often have heart problems at an early age so this wasn’t unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.

A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery, and doing fine. Frannie, the head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Bell Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of this 50-year-old grandmother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Bell Ringer a withering look.

He grinned. “OK, Frannie, what was that all about?” he asked.

“We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay.”

“I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?”

Frannie quickly told Bell Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie’s surgery, then sighed: “Yeah, I’m glad he is going to be OK,” she said. “But I don’t know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they’re barely getting by as it is.” Bell Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.

Since I hadn’t had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn’t want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand and a funny look on her face.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I didn’t get that table where Bell Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off,” she said. “This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup.”

She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed “Something For Stevie.

Pony Pete asked me what that was all about,” she said, “so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this.” She handed me another paper napkin that had “Something For Stevie” scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.

Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply: “truckers.”

That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he’s been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn’t matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy.

I arranged to have his mother bring him to work. I then met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back. Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn’t stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.

“Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast,” I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. “Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me!”

I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.

“First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess,” I said. I tried to sound stern. Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had “Something for Stevie” printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table.

Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it. I turned to his mother.

“There’s more than $10,000 in cash and checks on table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. “Happy Thanksgiving,”

Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what’s funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

Plant a seed and watch it grow. At this point, you can bury this inspirational message or forward it fulfilling the need! If you shed a tear, hug yourself, because you are a compassionate person.

Well.. Don’t just sit there! Share this story!

An Awful Looking Man

Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore . We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic.

One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. “Why, he’s hardly taller than my 8-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.

Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus ’til morning.”

He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face …… I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments …”

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.”
I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch.. I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No, thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag.

When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her 5 children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury.

He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer. He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going…

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch.
He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, “Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.”
I told him he was welcome to come again.

And, on his next trip, he arrived a little after 7 in the morning. As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen! He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh. I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. And I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.
In the years he came to stay overnight with us, there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk 3 miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious.

When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning.
“Did you keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!”

Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But, oh!, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear..

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God.
Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms.. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!”
My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.”
She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven.

“Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.”
All this happened long ago – and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)
Friends are very special. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear and they share a word of praise. Show your friends how much you care. Pass this on, and brighten someone’s day.

The only thing that will happen if you DO pass it on is that someone might smile (because of you).

 

A Memorial Day Story

As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away.

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.

I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying:

‘You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.’ And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.

He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’

He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went I inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’

He said that he served with the first Marine Division at Guadalcanal, Pelieliu, and Okinawa.

He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again, and I said my goodbye’s to his wife.

I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks, when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written: ‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’
I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America.
Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall.

If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!

Remember, Freedom isn’t Free. Thousands have paid the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.
LET’S DO THIS: JUST 19 WORDS:
GOD OUR FATHER, WALK THROUGH MY HOUSE AND TAKE AWAY ALL MY WORRIES; AND PLEASE WATCH OVER AND HEAL MY FAMILY; AND PLEASE PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS, AND WATCH OVER OUR TROOPS, WHO ARE DEFENDING THOSE FREEDOMS. AMEN

 

 

Do you remember the story?

Do you recall when you learned what “Hot” was?

When we are young and inexperienced our parents do their best to keep us safe.

Mom will caution us to ‘stay away from the stove, it’s hot!’ or the radiator or light-bulb…

But, we do not have the reference or experience of what hot is!

So at some point we touch a hot pot, or spoon a hot mouthful of food… now we have a reference.

Over time we begin to understand the nuances of hot, flame, even burns.

 

But do you remember the experience or story itself, yourself, your memories of learning about hot?

Most of us do not.

What we remember, and carry with us always is the respect of hot, fire, flame.

As though it is an instinct, we avoid the types of hot that could cause physical harm and pain.

 

As you journey through this life, remember, it is not necessarily the “story” which is of import, but the lessons gained, and how it serves our experiences in life.

This is how we release attachments.

This is how we heal often, by forgetting, absorbing and becoming stronger, more aware.

 

Sometimes stories define us.

Sometimes stories refine us.

How to Make a Wedding Toast

[tube]http://youtu.be/4deue0KdMXM[/tube]

Bubba wins in New York

His name was Bubba, he was from Georgia…and he needed a loan. So he walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Paris for an International Redneck festival for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of the bank.
The bank officer Told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so the Redneck handed over the keys to a new Ferrari. The car was parked on the street in front of the bank. The Redneck produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer Agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having To charge 12% interest.
Later, the bank’s president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the Redneck from the South for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari Into the bank’s private underground garage and parked it.
Two weeks later, the Redneck returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07.
The loan officer said, “Sir, we are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled.
While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found that You are a Distinguished Alumni from the University of Georgia, a highly sophisticated investor and Multi-Millionaire with real estate and Financial interests all over the world.
Your investments include a large number of wind turbines around Sweetwater, Texas. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?” 

The good ‘ole boy replied, “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?”

His name was Bubba…keep an eye on those southern boys! Just because we talk funny does not mean we are stupid.

“MONKEY’S ON A TRIP” Gianni Rodari’s fable

One day the zoo monkeys decided to make an educational trip. they walked and walked, then they stopped and one asked:

– What do you see?
– The lion’s cage, the seals’ pool and the giraffe’s house.
– What a big world, and how instructive is travelling.
They started again their journey and stopped only at midday.
– What can you see now?
– The giraffe’s house, the seals’ pool and the lion’s cage.
– What a strange world and how instructive is travelling.
They started travelling again and stopped at the sunset.
– What is to be seen?
– The lion’s cage, the giraffe’s house and the seals’ pool.
– What a boring world: you always see the same things. And travelling is no use at all.
Of course!: they travelled and travelled, but they had not got out of their cage and did nothing but going round and round as the horses in a merry-go-round.

(Gianni Rodari)

The Fable of The Old Merchant, the Sleuth & The Tapioca

The Fable of The Old Merchant, the Sleuth & The Tapioca

A HIGH-PRICED Detective was sitting in his Lair, trying to look Mysterious, when there came to him a gray-muzzled old Business Man. The Latter was noted for his Probity, his Keenness and the Fact that he never Thawed. In the Commercial Agencies he was Rated AA Plus A1, which meant that he had it in Bales.

“I wish to enlist your Services,” said the Great Merchant. “A Young Man who lately has come into a World of Money desires to be admitted to Partnership in our Large Business. We are an Old and Reputable Concern, and before associating ourselves with this Stripling we wish to know all about his Character and Habits. We want you to Camp on his Trail and give us a straight Line on his Daily Life.”

So the Main Detective called in a couple of Ferrets, who drew Twelve a Week, and they began to Shadow the Young Man at $8 a Day. They put on Gum Shoes and covered their Faces with black Muffs, such as are worn by the Train Robbers in a Davis and Keogh Melodrama. They peeked over Transoms and shinned up Fire Escapes and hid behind Bill-Boards, and every time the Young Man made a Move they were Next. At the end of a Week the Celebrated Detective made a Report to the Pious Patriarch who had employed him.

“I regret to tell you that the Young Man who seeks a Connection with your Well-Known House is a Night Hawk and a Spender,” said the Superintendent. “He is trying to dim the Record of Coal-Oil Johnny. He opens Cold Magnums for the Merry-Merry almost every Midnight, and he is having Diamonds set into the Teeth of Nine of the Peroxide Sisters. By the time that he lands into his Happy Clothes of an Evening he is fairly well Corned, and he sees the Dawn of Morning through a Purple Haze. In the Afternoon, when he arises, he has a hang-Over which is made the Foundation of something very Tidy in the way of a Skate. lie begins to Push the Button and absorb the tall Pick-Me-Ups. For a six o’clock Breakfast he has a few Cigarettes and some of the cold Zippy-Zip. Thus he contrives to be the Custodian of a continuous Bun and stave off the Katzenjammer, his Life resolving itself into one long Honolulu Sunset. His Associates are a fine Bunch of Rowdy-Dows, who lean over when they Walk, and wear Lilac Gloves in the Summer Time. Their one Joy is to purchase little Hot Birds and big Johannesburg Twinklers for the Ladies depicted on the Lithos.”

“My! my!” said the staid old Merchant, as he shook his silvered Head. “He must be a Lah-Lah if he can hold to that Gait. I suppose he plays the Drunken Sailor with his Money.”

“I regret to say that he does,” replied the Eminent Sleuth. “All the Tin-Horn Sports and Shoe-String Gamblers speak of him as their Meal Ticket. He is put against a new Brace Game every Week. He is so Soft that sometimes even the hardened Sheet-Writers feel that it is a Shame to take it away from him. But they need the Vulgar Mazume, so they lighten him.”

“Is it not Sad to see a pin-headed Rake dissipating a Large Fortune built up by some one who Walked to save Car Fare?” asked the Old Gentleman. “You are sure that he has no Business Gumption?”

“No more than a Rabbit,” was the Reply of the Detective. “He is a Come-On for any Bunco Game in the List. He is a Ninny. Should you give him an Interest in your Business he would show up at his Desk about once a Month, and if you handed him an Assessment he would think it was a Dividend.”

“I thank you for your Report,” said the Pillar of Trade. “We will admit the Young Man to a Full Partnership and urge him to put in all the Coin at his Command.”

“I am surprised,” said the Sleuth. “He is a horrible Light Weight.”

“That is why he will be a Mark for a coolheaded Johnny Wise who lives on Cereal Food and gets into his Pajamas at 9.30 every Evening,” said the Prominent Merchant with a slight Grin. “Why should all this lovely Money go to Cabmen and straw-colored Soubrettes when it might as well be Garnered by an Honored Citizen who would know how to Invest it? From what you tell me of the Rapid Youth I conclude that he would be Meat for a crafty Side Partner.”

Next Day the Chorus Girls’ Friend was Taken In, and eighteen Months later the steady old Partner with the Snowy Locks had him euchred down to the Clothes on his Back.

His Fortune was permanently Invested in an Old and Reliable Establishment, and he was on his Uppers for fair.

MORAL: Any one who has the Qualifications can get in with a First-Class Firm.

The Fable of The Bureau of Public Comfort & The Man in Charge

The Fable of The Bureau of Public Comfort & The Man in Charge

THE Druggist stood in his Place of Business surrounded by Capsules, Hot Water Bags, Perfumes and Fluid Extracts. A Man came in and said he wanted to look at the Directory. Then he asked if “Murphy” was spelled with an “f.” He looked at the Hair Brushes, whistled a few bars of the “Spring Song” and went out.

A Small Boy entered and wanted to trade two empty Bottles for a Piece of Licorice Root. The Deal fell through, because the Bottles had a Name blown in the Glass.

A Woman came in and said she was waiting for a Friend. She had the Druggist bring her a Glass of Plain Water. She said she could not drink Soda Water because the Gas got up her Nose.

Another Woman came in for a Stamp. She did not have any Change with her, but was going to come in and hand him the Two Cents some time; that is, if he was Small enough to remember it.

The next who came in was a Man with hardly any Chin. He wanted a Free Sample of Liver Pills and an Almanac telling the Date of the Battle of New Orleans, when the Sun rises and sets and why the Chicken crossed the Road.

After him there came a Man who was in a Hurry and wanted to use the Phone. He was vexed when he learned that Skinner & Skinner did not have any Number. He asked the Druggist why it was. The Druggist said he was sorry and would See to it before the Man came in again.

Soon after two little Girls came on a Run and helped themselves to Picture Cards. They left the Door open, and a Boy in Overalls stepped in to ask if he could hang a Lithograph in the Window. The Druggist went back into the Laboratory and got a large stone Pestle. He was just ready to beat the Life out of the Cash Register when an Elderly Gentleman came in with a Prescription.

The Druggist Stayed the Blow and chirked up quite a bit. “This is where I catch even on the Day,” he said.

It was no Mirage. He had to and he did.

MORAL: Don’t Blame the Druggist.

The Fable of The Undecided Brunette & The Two Candidates


 

The Fable of The Undecided Brunette & The Two Candidates

A DARK-EYED Maiden was being Rushed by a Cheap Man and a Provider. They took Turn About in coming up to the House. She was a Child Wonder when it came to spreading her Dates so that one Gentleman would not cross another’s Beat. Each of the Applicants was led to believe that he was the Only One for whom all the Lights were turned on. He thought that when he failed to Show Up, she was in her own Room, looking at his Picture and Feeling Blue.

The girl did what she could to foster these Delusions. She wanted to hold as many options as possible, so as to have her Pick.

The Cheap Man had his Good Points. He was House Broke and could play Chords on the Piano. But from eight to five every day he was a Shylock. When he was in a Crowd he never did anything Rash that involved the use of Money. He saved a little more than his Salary every Week, and was pointed out as a Comer in the Business World. It hurt him to Let Go.

When he wanted to give the Brunette a Frolic, he would get a Book out of the Public Library and take it up to the House and read it to her. Once he put her on the Car and gave her a jolly Ride down to the Second Baptist Church to hear a Free Lecture on the Holy Land. At Christmas Time he sent the Dark Girl a Square Card with a Snow Scene, a Clump of Fir Trees and a Frozen Water-Wheel. When they went out to a Party, he always remarked that it seemed to be a Pleasant Evening and they might as well Hoof it.

The Provider was just the other Way. He was for Buying. The Queen received her Violets every Day or two, even though he had to Catch Even by lunching on Buttermilk and Sinkers. She got what she wanted and he took his Chances on standing off the Wolf at the Door.

He took her to a Theater and they had Parquette Seats on the Aisle. After the Performance the Colored Man would call out their Carriage Number and there would dash up a Team of Prancing Bays. The Provider would hand her into the glittering Vehicle with the graceful Flourish of a Sir Roger de Coverley. The Door would slam and away they would Clatter, with all the Awed Spectators wondering which one of the Vanderbilt Boys that was.

After he got back to his $2.75 Room and put the Dress Clothes where the Moths could not get at them, he would do some calculating on the back of an Envelope, and discover that he had Burned Up just One Week’s Salary between 7.45 and 11.15.

Then he would wish that a white-haired Old Lady with a Safety Deposit Vault full of Securities might come along and Adopt him and put him in a white and gold Suite with a Pianola and a Man-Servant.

The Provider was a Financial Feather-Weight, but he was Game as a Pebble. He worked on the Principle that a Man can Afford anything he can Get. He allowed himself nearly everything that the Rich Folks have, except Money.

He would invite the Brunette to Luncheon with him. When he was by himself he called it Lunch. That “eon” on the end usually makes a difference of about $4.85 in the Check.

They would repair to a Café with a Fountain playing in the center of the Room. Every time she pointed her Finger at another Item on the Carte du Jour, it put a Sickening Crimp in his Visible Assets and moved him about three Notches nearer to Hard Pan, but he never twitched a Muscle. He would push a Half over toward the Waiter as if it annoyed him to see Money lying around.

He would walk out as light as a Toy Balloon and put her in a Cab and send her Home, and then he would be down to his Gloves and a Bunch of Keys.

The Brunette was Up a Stump when it came to making a Choice. It seemed to be another instance of Horse and Horse. She knew that the Cheap Man would own Bank Stock and Corner Lots when the Provider would be living on Snow Balls, and yet she could not bring herself to lean up against a Stingy Old Thing who never Unbuckled. As for the Provider, he was the Kindest Friend she knew and a Good Thing while he lasted, but she knew that he could not Last farther than from here to the Corner. She guessed that if she went ahead and married the Provider, he would give her everything he Owned, but he never would Own more than you could put in a Steamer Trunk.

The Cheap Man, on the other hand, would have a Neat Balance and a Strong Rating, but it would require the use of an Anasthetic to get a Tailor-Made Suit out of him.

While in this Quandary, she consulted her Aunt Em, who was two kinds of a Widow, Grass and Sod. She had buried one Husband and come out in Black. She had tied a Can to No. 2 and come out in Bright Colors.

Aunt Em asked a number of Leading Questions in regard to the Qualifications of the two Suitors, and then she said: “My Dear Niece, this is a Tall Problem for a 20-year-old Girl to close in on, but you are entitled to a lot of Credit for holding back and studying your Cards. A Lass who was short on Foresight would have chosen the Provider, in the foolish Belief that she would continue to get the Violets and Broiled Birds all the rest of her Life. A Mercenary Maiden might have grabbed at the chance to be Mrs. Cheap Man, but you are Dead Wise in your Theory that one who is a Parsimonious Papa during Courtship will prove to be a Close Proposition as a Husband. The Man who will not Loosen Up under the Melting Influence of True Love is a born Gaspard. Truly it is not what Hubby has but what he Hands Out, that helps one to Endure him as a Necessary Evil. If you marry the Cheap Man, it is true that you stand a Show of getting the whole Estate sooner or later, but this is an Outside Chance, because the Cheap Man usually adopts a Diet of Prunes, Graham Bread, Vegetable Soup and plain Spuds, and he will be here a long time. The World is full of women whose Husbands are so far ahead of the Game that they can make fat Loans on Improved Real Estate, and yet each of these Wives is wearing Last Year’s Hat, with the Wing moved over on the Other Side. If she whispered Automobile to old Ready Money, he would throw a Double Arab. If you are going to start in to do a 40-year Stunt as Housekeeper to some Human Savings Bank, you had better put the Bargain on a Business Basis to start with. Go before a Lawyer and have him frame up an Iron-Clad Contract. Then you will get your little old Six every Saturday Night. Otherwise you will have to Coax it out of him and get about 75 Cents per Throw. As between the Generous Young Fellow who is Flat and the Moneyed Man who never Comes Up, it is about Six of one and Half a Dozen of the other. I think you are tied up with a couple of Frosty Ones. Auntie’s Advice would be to pull down the Blinds and pay a Visit to some other Town where the New Girl is a pleasing Novelty. There permit your Affections to Center on some Tractable Person who is neither a Prospective Pauper nor a close-fisted Clam.”

The Brunette caught the Wisdom of the Suggestion and took a little Jaunt to Cleveland where she fell desperately in Love with a General Manager of Set Habits and a calm, untheatrical Generosity. They came to an Understanding and lived happily ever afterward.

MORAL: It is Necessary to make a few Purchases both before and after Marriage.