Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My Almost Good Deed

Picking up dinner. Local sub-shop. Something for the kids. Nothing for me. Or the bride. The customer in front of me vividly remembers the Great Depression. Pale-haired. Long, dark, thread-bare jacket. White, flowery dress. Bright yellow socks. Grey sandals. Somebody's wispy Grandmother.

She didn't know which sandwich she wanted. But it had to be $5. The Sandwich Artists, as they're called, kept offering suggestions. And she kept confirming they were $5. Finally, she settled on grilled chicken.

As they're wrapping it, she turns and smiles at me. "I'm sorry to be so picky, honey. I only have $5." And she pulls out some money to show me.

It's a $1. A lone dollar. Wrapped tight as a cigarette.

"Oh," she says. Looks at me. At the bill. "Oh?"

I said not to worry about it. Nodded to the the Sandwich Artist and said to put it on my tab. Then let  Somebody's Wispy Grandmother know I was sure she would do it for me. She gave me a huge smile, patted and rubbed my shoulder. Thanked me for being so kind before  leaving.

I placed my order. And Somebody's Wispy Grandmother flipflops to the door. She goes to put her stray dollar in her pocket. Then stops. She pulls out another bill. Turns around and flipflops back to me. She has a $20 to keep the $1 company, now.

With another smile, she pays for her own sandwich. Then thanks me again for my almost good deed before disappearing into the night.

And everyone has Happy Bellies tonight.

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