Christmas Eve at a Gas Station

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Peace, Joy and Love to you….

~Sallie

 

The old man sat in his gas station on a cold Christmas Eve. He hadn’t been anywhere in years since his wife had passed away. It was just another day to him. He didn’t hate Christmas, just couldn’t find a reason to celebrate. He was sitting there looking at the snow that had been falling for the last hour and wondering what it was all about when the door opened and a homeless man stepped through.

Instead of throwing the man out, Old George as he was known by his customers, told the man to come and sit by the heater and warm up.

“Thank you, but I don’t mean to intrude,” said the stranger. “I see you’re busy, I’ll just go.”

“Not without something hot in your belly.” George said. He turned and opened a wide mouth Thermos and handed it to the stranger. “It ain’t much, but it’s hot and tasty. Stew … Made it myself. When you’re done, there’s coffee and it’s fresh.”

Just at that moment he heard the “ding” of the driveway bell. “Excuse me, be right back,” George said.

There in the driveway was an old ’53 Chevy. Steam was rolling out of the front.. The driver was panicked. “Mister can you help me!” said the driver, with a deep Spanish accent. “My wife is with child and my car is broken.” George opened the hood. It was bad. The block looked cracked from the cold, the car was dead.

“You ain’t going in this thing,” George said as he turned away.

“But Mister, please help …” The door of the office closed behind George as he went inside. He went to the office wall and got the keys to his old truck, and went back outside. He walked around the building, opened the garage, started the truck and drove it around to where the couple was waiting. “Here, take my truck,” he said. “She ain’t the best thing you ever looked at, but she runs real good.”

George helped put the woman in the truck and watched as it sped off into the night. He turned and walked back inside the office. “Glad I gave ’em the truck, their tires were shot too. That ‘ol truck has brand new ones ..”

George thought he was talking to the stranger, but the man had gone. The Thermos was on the desk, empty, with a used coffee cup beside it. “Well, at least he got something in his belly,” George thought.

George went back outside to see if the old Chevy would start. It cranked slowly, but it started. He pulled it into the garage where the truck had been. He thought he would tinker with it for something to do. Christmas Eve meant no customers. He discovered that the block hadn’t cracked, it was just the bottom hose on the radiator. “Well, shoot, I can fix this,” he said to himself. So he put a new one on.

“Those tires ain’t gonna get ’em through the winter either.” He took the snow treads off of his wife’s old Lincoln. They were like new and he wasn’t going to drive the car anyway.

As he was working, he heard shots being fired. He ran outside and beside a police car an officer lay on the cold ground. Bleeding from the left shoulder, the officer moaned, “Please help me.”

George helped the officer inside as he remembered the training he had received in the Army as a medic. He knew the wound needed attention. “Pressure to stop the bleeding,” he thought. The uniform company had been there that morning and had left clean shop towels. He used those and duct tape to bind the wound. “Hey, they say duct tape can fix anythin’,” he said, trying to make the policeman feel at ease.

“Something for pain,” George thought. All he had was the pills he used for his back. “These ought to work.” He put some water in a cup and gave the policeman the pills. “You hang in there, I’m going to get you an ambulance.”

The phone was dead. “Maybe I can get one of your buddies on that there talk box out in your car.” He went out only to find that a bullet had gone into the dashboard destroying the two-way radio.

He went back in to find the policeman sitting up. “Thanks,” said the officer. “You could have left me there. The guy that shot me is still in the area.”

George sat down beside him, “I would never leave an injured man in the Army and I ain’t gonna leave you.” George pulled back the bandage to check for bleeding. “Looks worse than what it is. Bullet passed right through ‘ya. Good thing it missed the important stuff though. I think with time your gonna be right as rain.”

George got up and poured a cup of coffee. “How do you take it?” he asked.

“None for me,” said the officer..

“Oh, yer gonna drink this. Best in the city. Too bad I ain’t got no donuts.”

The officer laughed and winced at the same time.

The front door of the office flew open. In burst a young man with a gun. “Give me all your cash! Do it now!” the young man yelled. His hand was shaking and George could tell that he had never done anything like this before.

“That’s the guy that shot me!” exclaimed the officer.

“Son, why are you doing this?” asked George, “You need to put the cannon away. Somebody else might get hurt.

The young man was confused. “Shut up old man, or I’ll shoot you, too. Now give me the cash!”

The cop reached for his gun.

“Put that thing away,” George said to him, “we got 1 too many in here now.”

He turned his attention to the young man. “Son, it’s Christmas Eve. If you need money, well then, here. It ain’t much but it’s all I got. Now put that pea shooter away.”

George pulled $150 out of his pocket and handed it to the young man, reaching for the barrel of the gun at the same time. The young man released his grip on the gun, fell to his knees and began to cry. “I’m not very good at this am I? All I wanted was to buy something for my wife and son,” he went on. “I’ve lost my job, my rent is due, my car got repossessed last week.” George handed the gun to the cop. “Son, we all get in a bit of squeeze now and then. The road gets hard sometimes, but we make it through the best we can.”

He got the young man to his feet, and sat him down on a chair across from the cop. “Sometimes we do stupid things.” George handed the young man a cup of coffee. “Bein’ stupid is one of the things that makes us human. Comin’ in here with a gun ain’t the answer. Now sit there and get warm and we’ll sort this thing out.”

The young man stopped crying, and looked at the cop “Sorry I shot you. It just went off. I’m sorry officer.” he said.

” Shut up and drink your coffee” the cop said.

George could hear the sounds of sirens outside. A police car and an ambulance skidded to a halt. Two cops came through the door, guns drawn.

“Chuck! You ok?” one of the cops asked the wounded officer.

“Not bad for a guy who took a bullet. How did you find me?”

“GPS locator in the car. Best thing since sliced bread. Who did this?” the other cop asked as he approached the young man.

Chuck answered him, “I don’t know. The guy ran off into the dark. Just dropped his gun and ran.”

George and the young man both looked puzzled at each other. “That guy works here?” the wounded cop continued.

“Yep,” George said, “just hired him this morning. Boy lost his job.”

The paramedics came in and loaded Chuck onto the stretcher. The young man leaned over the wounded cop and whispered, “Why?”

Chuck just said, “Merry Christmas boy … and you too, George, and thanks for everything.”

“Well, looks like you got one doozy of a break there. That ought to solve some of your problems.”

George went into the back room and came out with a box. He pulled out a ring box. “Here you go, something for the little woman. I don’t think Martha would mind. She said it would come in handy some day.”

The young man looked inside to see the biggest diamond ring he ever saw. “I can’t take this,” said the young man. “It means something to you.”

“And now it means something to you,” replied George. “I got my memories. That’s all I need.”

George reached into the box again. An airplane, a car and a truck appeared next. They were toys that the oil company had left for him to sell. “Here’s something for that little man of yours.”

The young man began to cry again as he handed back the $150 that the old man had handed him earlier.

“And what are you supposed to buy Christmas dinner with? You keep that too,” George said. “Now git home to your family.”

The young man turned with tears streaming down his face. “I’ll be here in the morning for work, if that job offer is still good.”

“Nope. I’m closed Christmas day,” George said. “See ya the day after.”

George turned around & found the stranger had returned. “Where’d you come from? I thought you’d left?”

“I have been here. I have always been here,” said the stranger. “You say you don’t celebrate Christmas. Why?”

“Well, after my wife passed away, I just couldn’t see what all the bother was. Puttin’ up a tree and all seemed a waste of a good pine tree. Bakin’ cookies like I used to with Martha just wasn’t the same by myself and besides I was gettin’ a little chubby.”

The stranger put his hand on George’s shoulder. “But you do celebrate the holiday, George. You gave me food and drink and warmed me when I was cold and hungry. The woman with child will bear a son and he will become a great doctor.

The policeman you helped will go on to save 19 people from being killed by terrorists. The young man who tried to rob you will make you a rich man and not take any for himself. “That is the spirit of the season and you keep it as good as any man.”

George was taken aback by all this stranger had said. “And how do you know all this?” asked the old man.

“Trust me, George.I have the inside track on this sort of thing. And when your days are done you will be with Martha again.”

The stranger moved toward the door. “If you will excuse me, George, I have to go now. I have to go home where there is a big celebration planned.”

George watched as the old leather jacket and the torn pants that the stranger was wearing turned into a white robe. A golden light began to fill the room.

“You see, George …it’s My birthday. Merry Christmas.”

George fell to his knees and replied, “Happy Birthday, Lord Jesus”

This story is better than any greeting card. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GOD BLESS!

Now clear the lump from your throat, blow your nose, and send this along to a friend of yours or someone who may need a reminder as to why we celebrate Christmas.

Tomorrow is not promised, – Cherish today!

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Do you wear costumes?

Dear Fellow Journalers,

This is a copy of a post written in 2015!

Today is Halloween. When I was a youngster, the entire month of October was filled with thoughts and planning on my costume for the big event and all the candy we kids were going to get.

I got to thinking the other day about costumes. In a sense, we all still wear costumes. Think about it- costumes make you feel confident ( I used to wear a certain necklace my Grandmother gave me when I went on interviews or had a presentation to make.) can change your perspective and perhaps your life.
Some costumes involve REAL clothing (“Clothing makes the man”.) Clothing can include jewelry, watches, ties, hair coloring, makeup, plastic surgery – all these things can enhance a costume.

Why wear costumes at all? One of my friends says “What you see is what you get” and she is not far off. I don’t think there is a pretentious bone in her body. What are we afraid of? Are we letting our thoughts control our emotions so that we put on fake persona and become other people?
Will the REAL __________ please stand up!

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

Sharing questions

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Have you ever been in a group where each of the participants was given an assignment that had an assigned completion date and the results of their findings had to be made verbally at the meeting? Most of us have had that experience. Have you ever been late with the assignment or witnessed someone who was? Besides the feelings of embarrassment  there’s also the reaction of the moderator’s to consider, who probably is your boss.

Roberta Hestenes, who was a small group dynamics expert in California in the 1980’s had that experience with a man we’ll call “Fred”.” Fred” failed to complete his assigned task and Roberta was irritated but simply instructed “Fred” to bring the finished information to the next meeting. You would think that “Fred” being let off the hook would complete the assignment and have it ready for the next meeting. But no, he failed again. Roberta was beyond angry. “Fred’s” work was holding up every body’s else’s project. The next meeting she decided to try something new and that changed everything not only for “Fred” but for everyone in her organization.

Roberta gathered everyone in a circle and began with this sharing question: “If you wish to share, tell about a high point and a low point of the past week.” The participants went around the table until they came to “Fred.” “A high point?” he mumbled. “There really wasn’t one. It’s all pretty much a low point. My wife is terminally ill and we’ve brought her home to die. I’m trying to hold down this job while caring for our three young children. Things are pretty rough right now.”  Roberta and everyone was speechless. Roberta had no idea her employee had been having so much difficulty in his life because  she had never asked.

That day, Roberta made a commitment to herself. Whenever she led a group discussion she would first offer people the opportunity to share what was going on in their lives. It might be the only time all week that someone expressed interest and received compassion.

One of the participants in the above group went on to form her own company. Following her previous boss’s example, she used sharing questions in her meetings. Some of the questions were: “If your home was burning and you only had time to bring out three objects what would they be?”, “How did your parent’s decide your name?” and a really telling question was “What was your dream job when you were 21?”

Sharing questions develop empathy and community and I think they are worthwhile. What about you?

~Sallie

The Days of our lives

Dear Fellow Journalers,

The following is a piece G wrote in 2012:

It’s staggering when you think about it. The days of our lives I mean. So far I have lived 24,455 days plus a few. That’s a lot of days. Most of them I have no memory of what I did or what happened. (Bet that’s true for you too) There are of course many memorable ones, but truth be told, most of the days of our lives are uneventful and not memorable. Shame, isn’t it. They just pass us by. Life burned up, gone without a trace.

Since earlier this week when I found my new favorite saying:

EVERY DAY IS A TRAINING DAY LIFE IS THE LESSON WE LEARN

I got to thinking that while we may not remember a lot of our days, chances are phenomenal that we have learned something, large or small, conscious or unconscious, every day. Our brain is like a tape recorder that NEVER turns off. Some scientists claim if we could be put into deep hypnosis that we would be able to repeat every word or action in our lives. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I don’t think it is outside the realm of possibility.

Anyway, thinking about all these things, and attempting to make this new quote my life slogan, I’ve decided to do the following:

. From now on I’m keeping a daily journal. Not a diary, but a journal. I’m only going to put stuff in there that I consider “good stuff.” What I’ve learned in the course of the day that I want to remember and use again. Kind acts done to me, and that I’ve done for others. I don’t plan to do this to “keep score”, but simply to “keep memories” for further good use. . I’ve always been a “people watcher” and I plan to continue. Only this time I’m really going to watch. I have time to do this now, where before I could only be a causal observer. I think I’ll learn a lot about the human condition. . What new and exciting things will I learn? How will I best be able to use them? Will this new knowledge change my life for the better, and how? . How will this knowledge affect my relationships with people? Will I gain new friends and lose old ones? Will some relationships become deeper, and others disintegrate? . How much and how deeply will I change? And will the change last? Will I be happy or not with the change? . Can I expect the world to cooperate or sabotage these plans?

Well my friends, pretty deep huh? And all this from a little girl’s tee shirt!

I’m off now, on a quest. I don’t know what I’ll find there, but I know I HAVE to go. This old man is going to try and recapture what it was like to wake up in the morning and be excited by what MIGHT happen, and what might be learned from it. To put aside all the skepticism, the callousness, the hard knocks, the bitterness, and the life scars, and go forth with optimism and LEARN LIFES’ LESSONS! Will I get slapped around some? Sure, but as always, I’ll get back up and keep moving.

Is this an epiphany? I really don’t know, not yet anyway. In any case, regardless of your age may I invite you to have your own epiphany? To join me in a rebirth of the spirit in your life! REMEMBER:

 

EVERY DAY IS A TRAINING DAY—LIFE IS THE LESSON TO BE LEARNED !

“The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits.”~Albert Einstein

It doesn’t take long for information to become knowledge, but for it to become wisdom sometimes takes a lifetime. — Preeta Krishna

~Sallie

The Stranger that lives within us

Dear Fellow Journalers,

Last of G series for the time being. Thanks for your comments!

~Sallie

 

There’s a stranger that lives within us. And it’s an unwelcome stranger—we don’t want them there. Some have become quite adept at ignoring the stranger, others can never ignore it. Doesn’t matter, because no matter how much you try and evict this stranger, you can’t.

This stranger is called our conscience. No one wants to hear its’ voice saying “YOU SCREWED THAT PERSON!” or “ WHAT YOU DID WAS WRONG!”

But conscience NEVER goes away, NEVER takes a holiday. Oh yeah, you might ignore its’ voice for a while, but it always comes back to haunt you.

The reason that conscience is the stranger that lives within us is because, I believe anyway, that some almighty plan never wants us to become comfortable with it. That’s why it must remain a stranger. A stranger so it can sneak up on us when we least expect it. Just when we want to do something we know is wrong, that’s when the stranger comes out to bother us.

I’ve decided what frankly I’ve always known. I’ve decided if I can’t get rid of this stranger I’ll make it a trusted advisor. That way, it’ll be a little less of a stranger inside me.

I invite you to join me.

 

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