The clerk whizzed my purchases through her checkout station. This was a store accepting only checks and cash, so I’d brought my checkbook along, and sure enough, fell seven dollars short on cash.
Then she said they no longer take checks, so I started figuring out what I needed least, but barely began when she said, “No problem. Seven dollars—I’ll take care of it.”
I stared at her , stunned.
“It’s really okay, don’t worry.”
Others waited behind me in line, so I thanked her profusely, and proceeded outdoors. Driving down the highway, I had to wonder how often she did this. Seven dollars is no drop in the bucket, especially when multiplied by more random receivers like me.
The thing is, we have plenty of money for groceries, and I didn’t look especially bag-ladyish that day . . . I simply had a need, so she met it. Pretty cool, huh? My thoughts veered, as they often do, to Addie, the heroine of my latest World War II novel. She performed plenty of kind acts for her mother-in-law who lived just across the driveway, and for her friend Jane down the Iowa country road.
They did the same for her. Once, when Addie obeyed a summons to a law office in their little rural town, Jane drove her, and when Addie came out, Jane handed her a plain brown bag with a Snickers candy bar in it. With war restrictions on sugar, chocolate, and money so tight, Jane’s gift might seem small to us, but in those days, it represented sacrifice.
A thoughtful gift in the name of friendship—and Addie understood perfectly. On her journey out of a fear-based life to claiming her God-given dignity, small gifts like this meant so much. Still, she hesitated to eat the candy bar, so Jane asked her to eat it right then, saying she’d enjoy watching.
Some things, we’re simply meant to accept. I certainly didn’t feel worthy of that clerk’s seven-dollar gift. And for Addie, a Snickers bar back then probably might have equaled about that much money.
She did bite into the Snickers, and I’m pretty sure she caught the joy of giving reflected in Jane’s eyes.
That clerk and I will likely never meet again, but as she considered her day’s work, I wonder if satisfaction filled her at the remembrance of meeting a need. A random kind act—the gift that keeps on giving.
Gail Kittleson taught college expository writing and ESL. Now she focuses on writing women’s fiction and facilitating writing workshops and women’s retreats. She and her husband enjoy family in northern Iowa, and the Arizona Ponderosa forest in winter.
White Fire Publishing released Gail’s memoir, Catching Up With Daylight, in 2013, and her debut women’s historical fiction, In This Together (Wild Rose Press/Vintage Imprint) released in 2015. She also contributed to the Little Cab Press 2015 Christmas Anthology,
The first novel in her World War II series releases on June 6, 2016—D-Day, and the second is contracted with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for release in February, 2017. You can count on Gail’s heroines to make do with what life hands them, and to overcome great odds.
Meeting new reading and writing friends is the meringue on Gail’s pie, as her heroines would say.
Pearl Harbor attacked! The United States is at war.
But Addie fights her own battles on the Iowa home front. Her controlling husband Harold vents his rage on her when his father’s stoke prevents him from joining the military. He degrades Addie, ridicules her productive victory garden, and even labels her childlessness as God’s punishment.
When he manipulates his way into a military unit bound for Normandy, Addie learns that her best friend Kate’s pilot husband has died on a mission, leaving her stranded in London in desperate straits.
Will Addie be able to help Kate, and find courage to trust God with her future?