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Senath Mo.Class of '58
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Three Red Marbles
The following was sent by Mrs. John (Vicky) Sanders in the form of a “Forwarded email
Thanks Vicky for the refreshing reminder of God's Love and how it works in our lives.

    During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Missouri community, I used to stop by a friend's         roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season made it available.  Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used extensively. Jim Miller was my friend's name.

   One particular day Jim was bagging some early potatoes for me.  I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Jim and the ragged boy next to me.

  Hello Barry, how are you today?"   H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas ... sure look good."
They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"  Fine. Gittin' stronger alla' time."  Good. Anything I can help you with?"
No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas."  Would you like to take some home?"  No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with."
Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"  "All I got's my prize marble here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."  "Here 'tis. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"   "Not 'zackley .....but, almost."   "Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way
let me look at that red marble."  "Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."

  Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said: "There are two other boys like him in the community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."

  I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never forgot my friend or Mrs. Miller's story about the boys and the constant bartering between them and her husband.

  Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that small Missouri community and while I was there I learned that Jim Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

  Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts ... very professional looking.

  Those three young men approached Mrs. Miller as she stood smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping at his eyes.

  Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles and Jim's bartering so many years earlier. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. "Those three young men, who just left, one was the young man you saw that day; the other two were the other boys I told you about. They just wanted to tell me how much they appreciated the things Jim used to "trade" them. Now, at last when Jim could not change his mind about color or size... they wanted to come to pay their debt. "We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world," she confided, "but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Missouri."

  With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath was three, exquisitely shined, red marbles.
We shall not be remembered by our words, but by our “works”.
Life is perhaps not measured so much by the breaths we take.... but by the moments that take our breath away.

The original version of this message was slightly modified for placement on this sheet.