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Human Kindness – Worth A Read

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In  September 1960, I woke up one morning with six  hungry babies and just 75
cents in my  pocket. Their father was  gone.
The boys ranged from three  months to seven years ; their sister was  two.
Their Dad had never  been much more than a presence they  feared.
Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they  would
scramble to hide under their  beds.
He did manage to leave $15  a week to buy  groceries.
Now that he had  decided to leave, there would be no more  beatings, but no food
either.
 If there was a welfare system in effect in southern  Indiana at that time, I
certainly knew nothing  about it.
I scrubbed the  kids until they looked brand new and then put on  my best
homemade dress, loaded them into the  rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find
a  job.
The seven of us went  to every factory, store and restaurant in our  small town.
No  luck.
The kids stayed crammed  into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried  to
convince who ever would listen that I was  willing to learn or do anything. I had to
have a  job. Still no luck.
The last  place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer
Barrel drive-in that had  been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big
Wheel.
An old lady named  Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the  window
from time to time at all those  kids.
 She needed someone on  the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in  the
morning.  She paid 65  cents an hour, and I could start that night.
I raced home and called the teenager down the street that  baby-sat for people.
I  bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa  for a dollar a night.
She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids  would already be asleep
This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we  made a deal. That night
when the little ones and I knelt to say our  prayers, we all thanked God for finding
Mommy a  job. And so I started at the Big  Wheel.
When I got home in  the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent  her home
with one dollar of my tip money– fully  half of what I averaged every  night.
As the weeks went  by, heating bills added a strain to my meagre  wage.  The
tires on the old  Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and  began to leak.
I had to fill them with air on  the way to work and again every morning before I
could go home. One bleak  fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go  home
and found four tires in the back seat. New tires!
There was no note, no  nothing, just those beautiful brand new  tires.
Had angels taken up  residence in Indiana ? I  wondered.
 I made a deal with the  local service station.
In  exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would  clean up his office.
 I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his  floor than it did for him to do the
 tires.
I was now working six  nights instead of five and it still wasn’t  enough.
Christmas was  coming and I knew there would be no money for  toys for the
kids . I found  a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys.
Then I hid them in the  basement so there would be something for Santa  to
deliver on Christmas  morning.
Clothes were a  worry too. I was sewing patches on top of  patches on the boys
pants and soon they would be  too far gone to repair.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking  coffee in the Big Wheel.
There were the  truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state  trooper named Joe.
A few  musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were
dropping nickels in the pinball machine.
The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning
and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it  was time for me to go home at seven o’clock on Christmas morning, to
my amazement, my old  battered Chevy was filled full to the top with  boxes of all
shapes and  sizes.
I quickly opened the  driver’s side door, crawled inside and kneeled  in the front
facing the back  seat.
Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.
Inside was a whole  case of little blue jeans, sizes  2-10!
I looked inside  another box: It was full of shirts to go with  the jeans.
Then I peeked  inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and
bananas and bags of groceries.
There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.
There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and  flour. There was a
whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.
And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back  through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most
amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was  sobbing with gratitude.
And  I will never forget the joy on the faces of my  little ones that precious
morning.
Yes, there were angels  in Indiana that long-ago December.
And they all  hung out at the Big Wheel truck  stop.
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16 comments on “Human Kindness – Worth A Read

  1. Waldo "Wally" Tomosky
    January 7, 2014

    What can I possibly say Judy? What a beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Like

    • Judy
      January 10, 2014

      Thanks Waldo it brought a tear to my eye. I love stories like this 🙂

      Like

  2. nutsfortreasure
    January 7, 2014

    Beautiful story. Being a trucker I have seen many good deeds for deserving folks.

    Like

    • Judy
      January 10, 2014

      It makes you proud doesn’t it to think there are such nice people in the world. 🙂

      Like

      • nutsfortreasure
        January 10, 2014

        It does when others loose hope in mankind I see it everywhere 🙂

        Like

  3. stephiesbeadsandbaubles.com
    January 8, 2014

    Beautiful story !!!

    Like

    • Judy
      January 10, 2014

      It brought a tear to my eye 🙂

      Like

  4. cindy knoke
    January 8, 2014

    This wonderful! Bravo~

    Like

    • Judy
      January 10, 2014

      Thanks Cindy glad you liked it 🙂

      Like

  5. Ralph
    January 8, 2014

    I just love these kindness stories. 😀

    Like

    • Judy
      January 10, 2014

      Yes me too I am a sucker for them 🙂

      Like

  6. dianasschwenk
    January 10, 2014

    Is this your story? Did it happen to you?

    Like

    • Judy
      January 11, 2014

      No Diana it came to me in an email and I thought it was worth passing on. Nice to have a good news story for a change isn’t it? cheers Judy 🙂

      Like

  7. Barefoot Baroness
    January 11, 2014

    I love this share. As I was reading about the gifts for Christmas I could not help remembering a Christmas in 1964 for me. I was 9 yrs old, my father had left us too. If it had not been for a group from the Salvation Army and our community’s outpouring of love my little brother and I would not have had anything under the tree that year.
    I think the most amazing gift of all was that our mother didn’t have to suffer the pain Christmas morning of disappointment in her children’s eyes.
    God Bless angels from all over who help Santa keep the faith alive.

    Like

    • Judy
      January 12, 2014

      Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. It’s nice to read a good news story isn’t it? 🙂

      Like

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