Today, while shopping for the family Easter dinner, I was reminded of a grocery trip, years ago, for another Easter meal. It was twelve years ago. My husband, daughter and I had just returned from up north visiting my family for the Spring birthday celebrations. My Mom, my older sister and my daughter have birthdays within weeks of each other, and we celebrate them all with one big birthday celebration. It had been a lovely time. My daughter, then 9, was very pleased with her gifts, especially the gift of a brand new five dollar bill she had received in a birthday card. It was just enough to purchase a new Polly Pocket Doll that she had been wanting. It was easy to be excited when you were only nine. She had carefully folded up the bill and for safe keeping placed it in her pocket.
Once we returned back to Town, we stopped at the local grocery store to pick up some eggs, milk and whatever else was needed for the following day as it would be Easter Sunday, and all the stores, rightfully so, would be closed. As you all know, going to a grocery store right before a holiday guarantees that the store will be crowded and the inventory low. Having grabbed our purchases with only a few substitutions, we made it to the express line, which thankfully was moving right along.
While waiting our turn, I noticed that the woman in front of us was someone I recognized, by face and not name. She was one of the elderly church ladies that served as cashiers at the Methodist Church rummage sale held each Fall and Spring. (By the way, the best church sale ever, I am a loyal regular customer. FYI Their Spring sale is in 3 weeks.) She always had a smile and air of calmness and was never bothered by the long line of customers, some of whom unfortunately did not display proper manners, cutting in line and even pushing, as they queued up before her to pay. That was why I was surprised when I realized that this sweet lady before me had become quite flustered and agitated. Apparently, she did not have enough money to cover her purchases. It was obvious that she had put together the ingredients for a little Easter meal, a small ham slice, a bag of carrots and two potatoes in addition to a prescription from the pharmacy. It was a new prescription for her and she hadn't realized how expensive the medication would be, more than what she could afford. The cashier was trying to be helpful by suggesting an item to perhaps put back, but really all were needed.
Before I could formulate a thought or action to assist this woman, my daughter, my sweet nine year old little girl with the heart of one much older, reached into her pocket and pulling out the neatly folded $5.oo bill handed it to the cashier and asked "Will this help?" The cashier, at first confused, looked at me for a confirmation of sorts and I nodded my head in approval. The woman began to protest that she could not accept the money. Placing my hand upon her own frail fingers shaking from the stress of the moment, I turned to her and said it was my daughter's gift to her and wished her a Happy Easter. Giving my hand a squeeze to say thank you, she then turned to my daughter and gave her a hug. The cashier finished ringing through the purchase and after applying all monies collected, returned $.18 cents in change to the woman.
Although her birthday had already been celebrated, a few days later, my daughter awoke to find a brightly colored little package on her pillow, containing one much coveted Polly Pocket Doll, a gift from Mom and Dad, proud parents of a very special little girl. This Easter, please remember that it is more than bunnies and chocolate that we celebrate. From my family to yours, wishing you all a blessed Easter Day.
*Image courtesy of Graphics Fairy