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For the price of a gallon of milk

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I’m not surprised when my daughter, Melissa, shows herself unselfish.

She demonstrates it daily as Mom to a special needs son and her husband’s special brother, as well as her dedication to the welfare of hundreds of younger folks as an assistant in the Republic High School nurse’s office.

It was in connection with that daily calling that a routine errand led to another unanticipated demonstration of grace. A diabetic, Melissa left the office one recent morning to buy batteries for a defibrillator, but had to stop first for a snack when her blood sugar began to drop. Someone unfamiliar with diabetes might think she was just hungry, but as a keen manager of her health, Melissa recognizes the feeling of low sugar and also wears a monitor to tell the exact level.

After pulling into a convenience store lot, she noted an older car a couple of spaces over. An elderly woman behind the wheel asked her to come over, and seeing no obvious threat, Melissa approached the driver. In the front passenger seat was a young boy, apparently not school age, and in the back seat were a couple of small grocery bags.

The woman explained she had gone shopping with her grandson and neglected to pick up milk. She had stopped at the convenience store to get the milk, but discovered she hadn’t enough money to pay for. In short, could Melissa buy her some milk. She explained the boy had not had milk in a week, and he really needs his milk.

It was an uncommon request. Intuitively determining the woman was sincere and uncomfortable asking for help, Melissa immediately told her she would be right back with the milk.

When she returned with the gallon of milk the woman passed it over to the little boy, who beamed with joy, thanked her profusely, and clutched the gallon jug to his chest as it if were his favorite teddy bear. “Thank you, thank you,” the boy repeated. “I love milk. I’m tired of just drinking water.”

The grandmother, with tears streaming down her cheeks, needed say no more.

As they pulled away, Melissa remembered she hadn’t yet bought the snack she needed. A mite choked up, herself, she went back in the store and subsequently continued on her errand to find defibrillator batteries.

When she related this story a few days later, I commented she was much the same as her late grandmother. She countered with, “Dad. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. You would have done the same thing.”

Maybe, but that same grandmother might not have asked me. Melissa, in her medical garb likely looked more approachable. Moreover, I’m sure the Lord knew it was a moment both Melissa and that grandmother needed that winter morning, and all it cost was an ounce of humility, an equal portion of compassion and the price of a gallon of milk.

Copyright 2022, James E. Hamilton; email jhamilton000@centurytel.net. Read more of his works in Ozarks RFD 2010-2015, available online from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or from the author.

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