My First Job — Look Out World, Here I Come!

October 19, 2007


When I was in high school, I never had a job.  My parents discouraged it, and as long as they were willing to give me spending money, it was fine with me!  Besides, it would have gotten in the way of the after-school things I was involved in (speech and drama). 

Not having a job also made it possible for me to go to summer school to take all the subjects Mama and I thought I needed!  I wanted to take the college prep courses because I had this kind of “yeah, me too” thought that if my friends were going to go to college, I probably would too.  Mama, being muuuuuch more realistic than me, said, “You can take all the college prep courses you want, but you HAVE TO TAKE at least 2 years of shorthand and 2 years of typing!”  So, in order to get all that in, I went to summer school. 

It wasn’t much of a hardship to take summer school –my friends all did it too.  It was more fun than regular school, because you only took two classes, each for 2 hours a day.  And, unlike regular school, there were lots of field trips.  Memorably, our summer biology class took a  field trip to the University medical center and, among other things, got to see (lucky us) a room full of refrigerated boxes with dead bodies floating in formaldehyde inside!   Teenager totally grossed out here! 

One summer the whole 4-hour day was driver’s education (at that time, it was required).  There was alot of book learning and written tests, of course,  but we did drive almost every day, and learned to drive both automatic and standard transmissions.  The classroom teacher was a normal middle-aged guy, but our driving instructor was a verrrry nice looking “older man” (about 21) who we would see arriving each morning in his CORVETTE  — my girlfriends and I were in awe of him!!!”  (And, in return, I’m sure we left him “breathless” sometimes when our inexperience made us “jack-rabbit” a standard shift car through a red light, with the other driver-trainees laughing in the back seat!) 

So, when I decided NOT to go to college, it’s a good thing Mama had insisted on those secretarial classes!  It’s hard to believe, but I don’t remember her saying “I told you so.”  What a saint. 

The big local insurance company actually sent people to the high schools to do interviews and testing (yeah, yeah, I know, that Mama-required shorthand and typing), so I knew at least a month before graduation that I was going to work there. 

Let me just say here that the employer we all ASPIRED to work for was the big local truck manufacturer, because of the money.  For comparison, my one friend who DID get one of the few job openings there, started out at $100 a WEEK  (a wage that many married men were supporting a whole family on at that time — 1964) while I started at the insurance company at $260 a MONTH! 

But, truly, the pay was about the only thing that wasn’t wonderful at the insurance company.   They employed 3,000 people and 2,500 of them were women (who I saw as all potential friends).  Of course, typical of the times, the men were the  “Chiefs” and the women were the “Indians.”  But it was a beautiful, spotlessly clean building to work in, and they had a fantastic lunch room where (this is absolutely the truth) we could eat a full meal, including dessert (not a problem yet for our teenage metabolisms) and our drink, for 25 CENTS — TOTAL!!  So, this was not the employer that was going to make us RICH, but definitely a great place to work.  AND, it was right downtown where we could, after our 25-cent lunch, walk to lots of stores to spend the REST of our meager pay on clothes and shoes!  But, for the non-shoppers, the company also had a library, a glee club, a Toastmasters club and a large room full of tables and chairs where you could always join (or start) a fast game of cards at lunch time.  What a great company in which to have your first work experience! 

So, anyway, the end of school arrives, and I’m ready to become an adult!  Mama had bought me five new dresses with high heels to match each. We LOVED for things to match back then.  I was SET.

So, I graduate from high school on Friday night (point of interest — I’ve read that Dolly Parton graduated from high school on the same night, different school, different state, and got on a bus the next day to Nashville.  The beginning of very different career paths for her and me!). 

The next Monday morning, I teased and sprayed my hair into a perfect helmet, put on one of my matching outfits and nervously drove to the insurance company to begin my new “career.”  I was going to be a floating secretary for the Summer, and would get my permanent assignment in the Fall.  As a floating secretary, I would fill in for secretaries who went on vacation (That was some of the best education I ever received, filling in for all those more experience secretaries,  but I think most of their bosses were pretty glad to see them back after having the “greener-than-grass” kid fill in).

Anyway, first day — I had been told to report to the Personnel Department that first morning.  When I tottered in on my new high heels, the place was packed!  I thought, “Oh, all these poor girls are here hoping to get a job — and I ALREADY have one!  Aren’t I lucky!”  I  tottered perkily (not easy to do both at once) up to the reception desk and said, “I’m here to start work!” (secretly hoping, I suppose, that somehow the earth would alter it’s course on this momentus occasion!)  (Step back — slightly inflated young ego about to burst here.)  The receptionist said, “So are all these other people.  Have a seat.”  The first of many reality checks in the working world. 

Thus began my first day of my first job.  It was a lovely job, where I had many great experiences and made lots of great friends.   And, in many ways, it was my BEST job — because it was my first. 

Thank you, God, for all the great “firsts” in our lives that make for treasured memories.

The French Would Say, Le Soup. I say, Lo Soup!

October 18, 2007


I am a soup FAN!!  And, there is ALOT to like about soup.  

For example:  It is “thin calories” — the theory goes that because the calories in it are suspended in liquid, it takes fewer calories to fill you up.  Also, if you eat it with a small spoon, it takes longer to eat — giving your “I’m getting full” signal from your brain time to kick in.  If a broth-based soup is available in a restaurant, it is usually a lower calorie alternative to a salad before your entree. 

And, there is no such thing as “leftovers” when the meal you make at home is soup — because it’s just like “new” every time it’s heated up until it’s gone (it also freezes well).  In fact, I think soup gets even better each time it’s reheated because the flavors continue to blend.

Have you tried the new Progresso vegetable soups that are ZERO Weightwatcher points for a “serving?” (Count one point if you eat the whole can — still “cheap” diet-wise.)  The Italian is verrry good.  But, I have to say, I still like “home-made” soup the best.

Any soup I make includes at least a soup can-size chicken broth.  It may surprise you to know that I mean chili and beef vegetable soup too.  In fact, in the case of the stew I suggested a few weeks ago out of left-over roast — sometimes I even add chicken broth to it.  When chicken broth is added to beef-flavored soups/stews like these, you really don’t taste anything that tastes like chicken.  It just makes the flavors that are there a little more rich.

The other two ingredients that I add to most soups — a couple “glubs” of olive oil and a few shakes of Frank’s hot sauce.  Again — not flavors that you can necessarily pick out — but they just add to the overall flavor.  Note:  If you’ve done everything you can think of to a soup (including salt and pepper), and it still tastes a little “flat,”  try adding a teaspoon of sugar or a packet of Splenda.  Especially true with tomato-based soups/stews — also, spaghetti sauce!

When you bring home leftovers from a restaurant, what do you REALLY do with them?  In a perfect world, you would eat them for lunch the next day and feel good about having made two meals from one, but in reality, do they set in your frig until they “grow a beard” and then you throw them out?  If so, next time, think about making them into soup! 

I order chicken 99% of the time when we eat out — usually with veggies and a pasta or rice.  And, many times I bring half of it home.  Perfect for my “Lo (leftover) Soup.”   The next day, I can just put a cup or two of chicken broth in a sauce pan on medium heat (everything is already cooked — I am really just reheating), then I chop up the chicken in bite-size pieces and dump it and the leftover veggies and pasta/rice into the broth, making sure I include any sauce that was on the meal that may remain in the take-home container.  You can add V-8 too, but many times the chicken has a tomato sauce on it that makes the V-8 unnecessary.  Add the aforementioned olive oil and hot sauce, and then taste.  Add spices if needed.  But, I have found that restaurant chicken dishes are usually really nicely spiced, so many times I don’t need to add anything other than maybe some salt and fresh ground pepper.  When it’s hot — I eat it!  Much nicer way to eat my leftovers than trying to “re-create” the original meal by re-heating it in the microwave.  It never tastes quite the same.  Another nice thing about this is, depending on the quantity of the leftovers, it sometimes makes enough soup for both Hubby and me. 

 I would think that Lo Soup would be good with other meats too (beef, pork, even shrimp, but I’m not sure fish would work) — I just haven’t tried it with anything but chicken, because that’s what my leftovers are!

Have you had your Lo Soup today?  Try it — you MIGHT like it as much as I do!!

Thank you Father for the abundance of food we have in this country.  Please help us to be good stewards of it and everything else  you have given us!

Would You Have Put That Label There If You Knew It Was Permanent?

October 17, 2007


The first Christmas I was the “leader” (not sure who was leading who) of the Commissary at the Jail, several of the people who worked in the Commissary, and their spouses, were going to come to the Sheriff’s Department Christmas Party!  I was sooo excited that we were going to get to have a social evening together (there’s a dinner, a few speeches, lots of door prizes, and a DJ for dancing), so I told them, because I knew I had to be there early, that I would save a table so that we could all sit together. 

When that evening came, Hubby and I were there early because we were “greeters” (that will be listed under “experience” on our applications to Wal-Mart) so, I couldn’t just sit at a table and “shoo” people away from it to make sure we could all sit together, so how was I going to save a table?”  I had an idea — I’d write Commissary on the paper tablecloth!    So I borrowed a marker from the bartender, and picked out a choice table, and then just wrote “Commissary” in big letters across the tablecloth  so that people would know that it was reserved for “Commissary” people.  (Did I mention it was pretty dark in the room at that time?)

A little while later, at a lull in the “meetin’ and greetin'” I was noticing the room –the lights had been turned up and candles had been lit — it looked verrry nice.  A new group was in charge this year, and they had really “glam-ed” it up — candles on every table — china and REAL silverware (instead of the plastic from previous years), and even real linen napkins and tableclothes.  Oh my gosh, had I written “Commissary” on a LINEN tablecloth?  I rushed off to check on the table I had “labeled” in the off chance that the budget was tight and that maybe (please God) THAT table  had a PAPER one.  No such luck.  Long story short, I left my name and phone number with the catering people and told them I would pay for a replacement if the marker didn’t come out.  I never heard from them, so either it DID come out, or they just wrote it off as the “cost of doing business.”

Would I have labeled that table if I had known I would be ruining the tablecloth?  Absolutely not.  And, I think we do the same thing sometimes in life when we label people.  Would we put that negative “label” on them if we knew it might be permanent?

When our children were very little we had neighbors who had a little girl who was just a couple months older than DD.  From the time they were old enough to play outside, DD and Kammy were best friends.  I have a darling picture of the two of them sitting in a rocking chair together — happy as two bugs in a rug!  But, Kammy’s Mom, who I LIKED (even likeable people do thoughtless things sometimes), did something in my hearing one day that sent chills up my spine.  She called Kammy, “Dummy.”  I didn’t say anything that time, because I was surprised, and thought maybe it was a one-time thing, but the NEXT time I heard her say it, I HAD to say something.  So, I waited until she and I were out of earshot of the kids and told her I thought she ought to be careful about calling Kammy, “Dummy.”  She laughed it off, and said that Kammy knew she was just kidding.  I never heard her call Kammy that again, and I hope that is because she decided it wasn’t a good idea, not that she was just careful not to say it in front of me. 

That family moved out of state just a couple years later, and we only heard from and about them occasionally.  But, this is what I have heard — Kammy didn’t finish high school, has never been married but has several children, and has never been financially self-sufficient, still depending on her parents to subsidize her and her children.  I believe that how Kammy’s life has turned out was surely influenced by a label that was thoughtlessly attached to her as a child, that I’m sure her mother never thought would be “permanent.”

When I read an obituary in the paper that lists “step-grandchildren” I always wonder what that says about the relationships in that family.  Our oldest granddaughter was 5 years old when her Mom married Gunny.  I have always told her that she was ALWAYS our grandchild — we just didn’t KNOW her until she was five.  And, I can truthfully say that I love all six of our grandchildren equally.  So, I wonder what thought process makes a grandparent differentiate between how grandchildren came into their lives?  Do they think that the blood running through their veins is something special, so that “blood” grandchildren, are somehow “better?”  Let me just say this — I believe that God loves each of my grandchildren equally, and he expects me to love them equally too! 

One last “label.”  I have known women who never have anything good to say about their husbands, and I’m sure you have too.  Now, I know there aren’t any “perfect” husbands out there, but I have to think that there MUST be SOME good things that could be said about those husbands, if the wives would just choose to enumerate them instead of their faults. 

I have always subscribed to the theory that my spouse is a reflection of ME!  If I LABEL him as an “idiot” or “lazy” or “inconsiderate,” how smart does that make ME look that I MARRIED the low-life!  I prefer to look for the good in the man I married, and talk about his positives rather than his negatives whenever possible. Because, I assume, if he is GREAT — doesn’t that make me look “Brilliant” that I married him?  I tell people that I have been the president of Hubby’s “fan club” since I was 15 years old! 

May we each see (actively, LOOK FOR) something in our spouse TODAY that reminds us how lucky we are to be married to them.  And, if we are speaking to someone  about them TOMORROW — may that positive thought be the one that comes out of our mouths.

Be very careful of the labels you put on people — you never know which ones might become permanent.

Akela Jane Will Be Missed

October 16, 2007


We had to have our wonderful  12 year old Australian Shepherd, Akela, (aka Akela Jane, Keeler, Killer) put to sleep last week.  I immediately sat down and wrote a gut-wrenching post for the next day that, let me just say, you should thank me for not posting because it would have torn your heart out! 

But, now that I’ve had time to get past the initial surge of grief, I believe I can write a tribute to her that will help you and me remember the reasons to have a pet, when you KNOW that you will have to say good-bye someday.

When we lived on the farm Akela was a “guard dog.”  She was NEVER aggressive with people, but she vigilently patroled our acreage and did her best to keep other animals off “her turf.”  She had a nasty fight with a big, mean looking ground hog once, and she won.  Probably, because she did that with all her heart, just like she did everything else.

When we moved “to town” four years ago, I had some concerns about how happy Akela would be when confined to just a small yard.  But, we got an invisible fence (I highly recommend them), so that she could be outside whenever she liked and, in most cases, as long as she liked, and we didn’t have to worry about her leaving the yard.  She would just lay out in the yard, looking out over the lake, watching the geese and ducks, and just generally watching the world go by.  What a life!  And, if neighbors were out doing something, like sitting on their decks with friends, Akela would go to the corner of our yard nearest the “action” and just watch them.  I have wondered if that sometimes made people a little uncomfortable, but no one ever acted like they even noticed.  But, apparently SHE found THEM verrrrry interesting.

For her exercise, we have always thrown “the disc.”  We bought the nylon cloth frisbees so that they wouldn’t hurt her mouth, and she LOVED LOVED LOVED to chase one.  She would jump high into the air, coming down with the disc in her mouth, and sometimes roll like a gymnast does — and I suppose for the same reason — it didn’t hurt as much when you hit the ground.  And then come running back to you, as fast as she could (and she WAS fast), for you to throw it again.  This would go on, until YOU got tired, because she NEVER did.  In fact, many times, when we would be sitting on the deck, she would go get the disc and bring it to one of us and lay it in our lap to throw for her.  And, if we laid it aside because we were doing something else, or carrying on a conversation, she would retrieve it from where you had laid it and lay it in our lap AGAIN, and if THAT didn’t work, she would get it AGAIN and lay it in SOMEONE ELSE’s lap.  She didn’t have any favorite “thrower” — anyone would do.  She loved it when our grandchildren would come because there were more “throwers.”

Our next door neighbor, Mike, was one of Akela’s favorite people, and here’s why.  Any time he was outside at the same time she was, she would take the disc and go over and lay as close to his yard as the electric fence would allow, and then lay there and watch his every move, until he would (and he ALWAYS did) take the time to stop whatever he was doing, and throw the disc for her, and then give her a tummy rub. 

Akela DID have a couple of habits that not everyone was thrilled with.  We were never able to break her of jumping up on people.  And, at the same time, licking them!   (Of course, this meant that most of the time, she went into her kennel when there were guests in the house.)

The first time Akela “met” Linda (who is a dog person without a dog, so Akela “adopted” her and her husband), Linda leaned over to “greet” her, and stood back up “slimed.”  She said, “How did I get wet?”  Akela was a fast and efficient “licker!”  And a friendship had instantly been formed that would last a lifetime. 

Linda was listed at the kennel as Akela’s “next of kin.”  Many times Linda and her wonderful hubby would take or pick up Akela at the kennel, or, if we were going to be gone for a long day, they would come over mid-afternoon to “potty” Akela and feed her, and, of course, throw the disc for her!  Linda has said that she has a dog — it just lives at a friend’s house!

About 6 years ago, the Vet told us that Akela Jane needed to lose a little weight.  (It runs in the family!)  So, a friend told me the trick of replacing a cup of a dog’s food with canned green beans, to cut down on their calories.  We did it and it worked!  The Vet was amazed.  And, after she had lost the weight, we continued to replace a half cup of her food with beans, because she liked them so much.  She thought they were a treat!  Go figure.

One more thing about Akela.  We could see she was starting to show her age about a year ago, when we were still working, and it made us begin to wonder how much longer she would last.  At that time, I said a prayer, asking God to let Akela at least last until after Hubby retired in December, because she was always such a stress reliever for him.  When he would walk in after a stressful day, you could just see his spirits buoyed when Akela lavished love and slobber and discs on him! 

God granted that wish.  Hubby retired in December, and we had her for 10 months of our retirement that we got to spend even more time with her.

Thank you God for Akela, and the wonderful love she gave us.

When I Say “Diet,” Hubby Hears “Die”

October 15, 2007


Hubby and I have had to work on our weight, with varying degrees of success, over the years.  When the time comes, He KNOWS we need to do it.  He KNOWS we’ll feel better when we take off some weight. He KNOWS in order to lose the weight, we have to cut back on portions, and try to eat healthy.  But, just because he KNOWS all that, doesn’t mean he has to LIKE IT.

Hubby is not a happy dieter, but he is a SUCCESSFUL dieter!  I find that very annoying.  Because I AM a relatively happy dieter, and it is still much  harder for me to lose the weight than Hubby.  I always tell people that all I have to do is decide to go on a diet, and Hubby immediately loses 10 lbs.! 

 I’ve been told that women have more trouble losing weight than men because a woman’s body is designed to hold on to fat that would be necessary to nourish a baby.  My answer to THAT is, “It’s okay, Body, we can let go of the fat now — we’re not going to have any more babies!”  Apparently, my metabolism is hard of hearing, just like my ears, because all of me continues to want to hold on to the fat.

When we started our “Year of Getting Healthy” in January, and joined the gym, I really thought that would be enough to make us lose weight.  But, no surprise, Hubby lost 30 lbs. in the first 3 months and I lost 8!  Big whoop.  All that exercise, DID make me feel better, but I couldn’t believe I wasn’t losing any more weight than that.

So, in May, I brought in the big guns — I joined Weightwatchers.  I have belonged to WW probably a half dozen times in my life, with varying degrees of success.  That organization definitely believes in redesigning their process regularly.  There were a couple times I joined that I found their program so complicated, it just didn’t seem do-able for me.  But, the program they have now is very straight forward, and I have been successful on it.  I have lost 27 lbs. and am feeling much better — but need to lose at least 20 more to reach the WW goal range.  I’m not sure I can do that, but I have decided that WW meetings are going to be to me like AA meetings are to alcoholics — a support group to help me be strong against my “addiction.”  Besides, I realllly like the group at my meetings, so it gives me an added incentive to go when I know I’m going to see people I enjoy — including our leader.

Of course, Hubby is not interested in attending WW meetings, partly because he is sure he would be the only guy there (men are definitely a very small percentage), but, also, why go to meetings when, obviously, he can lose without them!  I think he feels that somehow it’s not “manly” to be “officially” dieting. 

If this whole post has the feel of annoyance on my part — you’re reading me correctly.  This “unfairness” in the realm of weight loss, him vs. me, is a little bit of a sore point with me. 

Some examples of his weight loss “strategies.”

While we were both supposedly dieting, we went out into the garage to get in the car one day, and I happened to notice a large malt cup in the top of the trash can.  I asked him about it and he said he had been passing the ice cream shop and just picked that up instead of lunch.  I said, “That really isn’t a good way to diet — skipping the protein, etc. you would normally have for lunch, and replacing it with the empty calories of a malt!”   We then laughed about it, and as a final dig, I said, “Well, have you learned your lesson?”  He said, “Yessss, I have.  I will put the cup UNDER something in the trash can next time!”

One evening I told Hubby I was going to have some light microwave popcorn and I was going to try spraying I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on it because I had heard that that was really good.  I tried it but didn’t think it helped that much.  After I went to bed, Hubby made himself some popcorn.  The next morning, he told me that he had tried the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, and that he thought it was reallllly good!  I expressed my surprise that he had liked it because I had found it just okay.  Then, I found out a possible reason why.  He said, “Did you spray it on until it dripped?”

When I was growing up, my favorite “treat” was the chocolate Hostess cupcakes with cream filling.  Now Hostess makes a “diet” version of those.  It is a tube of three very little cupcakes, for 100 calories.  So, I bought some, and I have to say that one of those 3-packs and a cup of coffee is a very satisfying, chocolate-wise AND diet-wise, dessert for only 100 calories.  But, the supply was going down pretty fast, so I asked Hubby if he was eating them too.  He said that he was and that he really liked them.  Then he told me he was eating three tubes at a time!  (I think he does some of this stuff just to torment me!) 

And, with all this, he STILL loses weight!

God may have given me CHILDREN to make me humble, but he gave me HUBBY to teach me patience!

Thank you God for giving me Hubby — and giving both of us a sense of humor!

His Eye Is On The Sparrow — And Me!

October 14, 2007


I read a post a few days ago in which the writer was talking about prayer, and she had some interesting comments from readers.  I would have made a comment, but I just couldn’t come up with the right words at the time.

But now that I’ve had time to think about what I want to say and how to say it, I would like to share with you what I think about prayer and my relationship with God.

First and foremost, I know that God sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. And I know that, because I BELIEVE that Christ died and was raised from the dead in order for my sins to be forgiven, I will live for eternity in Heaven after I die. He said it — I believe it — ‘nough said. 

A pastor said something one time that makes my salvation feel very personal.  He said, “Christ would have died on the cross if you were the only one who was saved.”  Because God’s mind is infinite, and can do anything, in any amount of time, I personally believe that, Christ probably thought of each person who ever did or ever will live on Earth in the time He was on the cross, and maybe even said a prayer for each of us!  That’s kind of awesome to think about isn’t it?  To think that He might have thought of you personally, by name, while He was making that sacrifice?   But, that is how personal I think God wants our relationship to be with Him.

Matthew 10:29-31 says:  “Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.  And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.” (NLT)

So, when it comes to praying, I believe that God wants us to “pray without ceasing.”  I take that to mean that there is nothing too small or trivial in my life that I can’t pray about and know that God cares and will answer!  Unfortunately, to my small mind, He doesn’t always answer as quickly as I would LIKE or in the way I would LIKE — but, He does ALWAYS answer! 

I read one time about a woman who kept a prayer diary, and I have always thought it would be a neat thing to do.  She wrote down prayers in a notebook, and then simply wrote down the date they were answered, and what the answer was!  She said that it was amazing to see that, truly, every prayer she wrote down did eventually have an answer written beside it — and sometimes an answer she could never have predicted.

So, on this Sunday, I suggest that we all do one little thing today: Say a prayer about something that is troubling us, and then write down just that one prayer.  When it is answered, write down the date of the answer, and what the answer was. 

Here is my prayer:  “Dear Heavenly Father, please bring a buyer to Gunny’s house in Charlotte so that his family can make the move to where  he is in his new job.  Thy will be done.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen”  I’ll let you know when this prayer is answered.

If anyone DOES do this, I would be interested to hear from you. 

Now, we’ve talked about food for the soul (prayer), but I like to give you a recipe for the tummy on Sunday too, so here is a quick, simple pineapple cake that is WONDERFUL with fresh fruit on it (my favorites are blueberries and/or strawberries). 

Pineapple Sheet Cake

Combine: 2 C. flour — 2 C. sugar — 1 t. soda — 1 t. salt — 20 oz. crushed pineapple NOT DRAINED — 2 eggs

Pour into a greased jelly roll pan (11×15) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  But, DON’T OVERBAKE.  Start testing a few minutes early, and remove from oven AS SOON AS a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool and then frost.

Glaze:   8 oz. softened cream cheese — 1/2 stick butter, softened — 1 t. vanilla — 1 1/2 C. powdered sugar  — a little milk if it needs thinning

May God bless you and your family this Sunday, and always.

The Road BEST Traveled!

October 13, 2007


Years ago, I heard this little “fable” and I’ve always remembered it, and tried to apply it to my life. 

The story goes:

A wise, old man spent much of his day, sitting by the city gate making conversation with those who passed by.

One day, a traveler approached and said, “Hey, old man, I am just arriving here to live.  What kind of people will I find here?”

The old man answered with a question.  “What kind of people were in the town you have just left?”

The traveler proceeded to rant and rave about how awful his former neighbors were and recounted all the slights that he felt he had suffered at their hands.

When he was done, the old man answered his question, “I’m sorry to tell you that that is the sort of people you will find here too.”

The traveler walked away grumbling about his sorry lot in life.

Later in the day a second traveler arrived at the gate, and also approached the wise, old man.  He also asked about the type of town this was, and the old man answered him with the same question he had asked the first traveler.

“What sort of people lived in the town you are coming from?”

The second traveler answered, “That was a wonderful town.  It was filled with people who went out of their way to help each other, and treated each other with kindness and love.”

The very, very wise old man then answered, “Then that is the kind of people you will find here.” 

 May God help each of us to look for the best in those around us — because what we look for is what we will find.