Monday, August 20, 2012

*Who Needs the Charmin?

The children rushed up the stairs, as they were so excited to come to their first session of sidewalk Sunday school of the new year. The children all sit down on the floor, the rules of sidewalk Sunday school are reviewed. Rule number one: boys on one side and girls on the other. Rule number two: sit on your pockets. Rule number three: when an adult, counts to three everyone’s quiet. That night, about 30 kids came into the room. We sang some songs, told stories about Jesus, had a prayer time and played a game. A 10-year-old boy won the game. We went to the prize bucket that was at the front of the room to select a prize. When he got there, there were no prizes in the bucket. The bucket was empty. I had forgotten to put the prizes there. I told him that when everybody was gone we would go downstairs to the janitor’s closet where he could pick a prize. When we got down to the janitor’s closet, the boy looked up and saw toilet tissue all across the top shelf. He asked if he could have some toilet tissue instead, so I put tissue in a bag and gave it to him and then invited him to go ahead and pick out a prize. He said, “No, this is my prize. This is all my family needs.”

During the next week I went to visit this young man’s mother and asked what the deal was with the toilet tissue. I really didn’t know. She told me that she was on food stamps. With food stamps you can buy only food. You can’t buy soap, toilet tissue, shampoo, toothpaste, or anything else--- only food. I asked her what she did for toilet tissue. She explained when she gets to the end of the month it is difficult because she’s out of money. “What I do“ she said, “ is I send my son to school. I tell him never to steal, but when he goes to lunch, he should take two napkins. I tell him that every child deserves two napkins one to clean his face and his hands and the other goes into his pocket. When he comes home from school, I take the napkin out of his pocket and I rip it in thirds. I give a third to his brother, I give him a third and I keep a third. That’s how we get through.”

 When I left the house, I learned something about myself and about the way I grew up. We always had toilet tissue in our home; we never worried about that. I learned that day that too many people have to worry about little things in life. I’m so blessed! 

*Excerpted from, Life on the Porch,  all rights reserved  Jeff Newton, copy write, 2012  pages 38-39.