An exchange of gifts

I came out of Smith’s with my arms and hands full of groceries, including sushi, roasted chicken, beer, and 5 pink roses. A down-and-out man sat on the bench near the grocery and looked up at me. “Spare some change, sir?” I was so laden with my own good fortune that I couldn’t get a hand free to give him anything. “Sorry,” I said, “good luck.” “Have a good day, Sir. May god bless you.” As I walked to the truck, I thought about what I could give him instead of cash. I had a bag of potato chips I had taken on the road but not opened. My fortune is such, I could order fries and save the chips for later. As I put my bounty in the truck and got out the chips, I saw the bag of pistachios. Those are more nutritious, I thought. I grabbed them, too.

Back at the bench, I proffered the pistachios. “Yes,” he said, “I’ll do the best I can.” Perhaps that was in reference to his random assortment of teeth. He could give them to someone else, I thought. I held up the potato chips. “Oh, potato chips,” he exclaimed. His face was transformed by joy, his grin huge. I may have beamed as brightly back at the sight of him. “Thank you, brother. You have a good week.” It was a fitting end to my walkabout on the anniversary of my Mom’s death.

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