JOE HELPS

He was driving home one evening, on a two-lane country road. Work in

this small Midwestern community, was almost as slow as his beat-up

Pontiac. But he never quit looking. Ever since the factory closed, he'd

been unemployed, and with winter raging on, the chill had finally hit home.

It was a lonely road. Not very many people had a reason to be on it

unless they were leaving. Most of his friends had already left. They

had families to feed and dreams to fulfill. But he stayed on. After all,

this was where he buried his mother and father. He was born here, he knew

the country. He could go down this road blind, and tell you what was on

either side, and with his headlights not working, that came in handy.

It was starting to get dark and light snow flurries were coming down.

He'd better get a move on. You know, he almost did not see the old

lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day,

he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes

and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped

to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't

look safe, he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened,

standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that

chill that only fear can put in you. He said, "I am here to help you

ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name

is Joe."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady that was bad

enough.Joe crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack,

skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire.

But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug

nuts, she rolled down her window and began to talk to him. She told him

that she was from St. Louis and was only passing through. She could not

thank him enough for coming to her aid. Joe just smiled as he closed her

trunk.

She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all

right with her. She had already imagined all the awful things that

could have happened had he not stopped. Joe never thought twice about the

money. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and

God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had

lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other

way. He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time

she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance

they needed, and Joe added, "And think of me."

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold

and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing

into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to

grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg

of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old

gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was

like the telephone of an out of work actor-it did not ring much.

Her waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair.

She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day

could not erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months

pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude.

The old lady wondered how someone like her who had so little could be so

giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get her change from a hundred-dollar bill,

the lady stepped right out the door.

She was gone by the time the waitress came back. She wondered where the

lady could be, then she noticed something written on a napkin. There were

tears in her eyes, when she read what the lady wrote. It said,"You don't

owe me a thing. I have been there too. Someone once helped me out, the way

I am helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here's what you do.

Do not let the chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill and people to

serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when

she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the

money and what the lady had written. How could she have known how much she

and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be

hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to

her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered low, "Everything's going to be

all right. I love you, Joe."

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Published in Senior Chatters

Comments

  1. grandmaj

    thank you for another great blog Tania. Sorry I havent commented on all the blogs, I havent had time. Thank you and all the members who take the time to write the blogs 🙂

  2. drummer

    I started to read this, it looked a good story, but alas my aged eyesight could not sustain long enough, so will try and pick it up again later.
    The thoughts I expressed earlier make me wonder if a little careful editing might make it easier for we older folk to keep up.