I used to do business with an electrical supplier that had a sign behind the counter saying:
A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.
Such a statement might apply for a small business but it doesn't hold water when it comes to family. A lack of planning and responsibility on the part of one family member affects the whole family.
This reality can come home to roost in a tangible way when the economy gets bad. And it is getting bad out there. What is most sobering is that I think we are only in the beginning stages of a deepening financial crisis. At times like this, I'm especially thankful for Whizbang Books, and chicken pluckers in particular. I hope it doesn't get so bad that everyone decides to just hand-pluck all their poultry! But I'm digressing....
A couple of other sayings come to mind:
There but for the grace of God go I.
The poor take care of the poor.
If you are poor, or even if you were once poor (truly poor) you can relate to the difficulties of others who are now poor (and getting poorer). And, unlike pandering politicians, you really do feel their pain. Which brings me to a remarkable story about a woman named Audrey.
This is a true story. It needs to be told.
I do not know Audrey. All I know of her is that she is an overweight black woman probably in her late 40s. She is from the South, perhaps Georgia. She worked as a bus driver but is currently out of a job. Audrey is single and lives in a city in Arizona.
My youngest sister (I have 2) is in her late 30s and works behind the counter at a gas station convenience store in Arizona. She has worked there for maybe a year. Audrey is a regular customer. My sister and Audrey have talked over the counter at the convenience store. It has been small talk. This "friendship" has been only at the store when Audrey stops in to buy something.
My sister is coming home from Arizona to New York. She has no car, no husband, virtually no money, and two dogs. She is coming home to care for our father, in his home. He is old, and sick, and feeble, and needs help, in many ways. Marlene and I are here to help him, but we need help. This is a good development. My sister is doing the right thing.
Knowing my sister is going back to New York, and why, Audrey asks when her last day at work is. My sister tells her "Tomorrow." Audrey leaves and returns a little later. She asks my sister how she spells her name. My sister tells her and Audrey leaves again. She comes back a little while later with a card and gives it to my sister. My sister opens the card and there is a check from Audrey for $100.
My sister is shocked. She says: "Audrey! That's a lot of money. You can't do this."
Audrey replies: "I can do it. You take it. I care about you and I love you and I want to help. God bless you."
There are four people in the line behind Audrey. My sister announces to everyone that they're going to have to wait while she gives Audrey a hug.
My sister has MS and walks with a limp. She makes her way from behind the counter. She hugs Audrey and thanks her. This short, skinny white girl hugs the overweight black woman right there in the convenience store while a line of people are waiting.
After what I'm sure was a tearful display, my sister goes back behind the counter and apologizes to those who are waiting in line. They tell her they don't mind waiting for something like that.
Oh, that there were more people in this world like Audrey. People who care enough to take a personal interest in relative strangers. People who are sensitive to the needs of others. People who are willing to give from what little they have, expecting nothing in return. People who love.
God bless you Audrey, wherever you are.
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