A few months ago, my husband decided to visit his ailing mother. And what was the first thing that crossed my mind? Yes, you are correct! Freedom at last! When you have been married for as long as we do, a little mini vacation away from each other is like winning the lottery.
I spent a great deal of time with my sister, Lucy. She and I went to the casino to gamble and to eat. And she took me to my first ever yard sale. I was a little hesitant at first because I didn’t know what to do, but unbelievably became a better yard sale shopper and even learned how to haggle. I bought a figurine from this guy for a dollar and he even gave me a few things I don’t even need for free. From then on, I couldn’t wait for the weekend to come to start my garage sale adventure.
One morning, I was getting my breakfast at McDonald’s on Katie and Maryland Pkwy on the way to work. It must have been 6:30 and it was still dark outside. As I was getting out of the drive-thru, a homeless old man standing in the corner holding a cardboard sign waved at me. My first reaction was to ignore him and roll up my window. It was still dark out and who knows what would happen. But I looked at this man, with his dirty clothes and faded thin jacket shivering, and with his crooked teeth showing, he smiled at me.
Normally, I had coins in my car to give to a homeless person, but ever since I bought this pink piggy bank from a garage sale for twenty-five cents (I was so happy about that, by the way), I have been feeding my friend since. I felt bad telling the man I didn’t have any money with me. To my surprise, the man smiled at me and with his crooked teeth showing he said, “it’s okay, Miss. Maybe next time. By the way, did you know that your lights are out?” He stood in front of my SUV and pointed at the lights. I thanked the man and drove off.
At this point in time, the man could care less about me because I didn’t give him any money, but what he said and done hit me hard. Two days later, with $20 in my hand, I went back to the same McDonald’s location and looked for him. He wasn’t there.
A month later, it was raining a bit, and I was back at McDonald’s again. As I turned to get out of the drive-thru, I saw a homeless man standing in the same spot and immediately recognized my homeless friend. I searched my purse for money but only had $10 with me. I rolled down the window and called him.
“Do you recognize me?” I asked him.
He frowned and said no. I said, “Do you remember telling someone that their lights were out?”
The man frowned again but immediately said, “Yes, I did!”
“That was me!” I blurted out.
He looked at me and smiled with his crooked teeth. He said, “Yeah, of course. I remember you. I see you replaced it.”
I handed him the money and apologized for only having $10 with me. The man took it and with the brightest smile he said, “This is worth a lot more to me than you think!”
We waved each other goodbye before I drove off.
I’ve learned a few things over the course of my husband’s trip. I relied on him too much. I took it for granted that the car will always be fine. My husband did all the work to keep it up. All I know is to turn on the ignition and pump gas. When I needed to replace the tires, and then the dashboard lights went out, I had it!
When my husband finally returned from his trip, I told him I don’t want to be home alone again and would gladly go on his next trip.