More good than bad

By Mack Thompson, Editor

I was at Walmart the other day and happened upon an older woman trying desperately to reach something on the top shelf in one of the food aisles. I stopped and asked her if I could get that for her and she said, “please”. I retrieved the item and she thanked me as I went on my way. I felt so good about that act of kindness that I felt I had to tell my wife about it upon my return home. But why did I feel I had to mention it? I mean, we all do these sort of things all the time or do we?
I guess I was glad I got to help another person with a problem, however small. But that is what makes us a community and not just a bunch of folks living next to each other. The more I thought about it, the worse I felt. Not about doing the kind act, that is how my Momma raised me, but that I thought it should be recognized. That’s not the reason to do good. More than likely the person you help will only remember it for a short time and then sometimes they hold that memory for a lifetime.
Case in point. When I was about 17 playing summer baseball in Paragould, I played with a guy that was a year younger than me. I won’t use his name, but he worked hard in the summer heat helping his family with their barbecue business. I loved the food they made and since it was only two blocks from the house, so we ate it often. He went to another school in the county and to be truthful, I didn’t know him that well away from the ball field.
One day he came to practice wearing a white tee shirt that had barbecue stains on it. Some of the other boys started to make fun of the stains and it embarrassed him. I don’t know why, maybe it was the beginnings of why I wanted to be a police officer, I defended him. I asked the others what they had done that day before practice while he worked. I had a little bit of reputation for being physical I guess, so they backed down… and that was that.
Of all the things I remember …why I would remember, what to me was an insignificant event, was a puzzle. Fast forward many years later, I found myself as a pall bearer at a funeral. As I looked over the names of the other five that would serve that day, I saw this fellows name. As we lined up to go into the church, he walked up to me and said “I bet you don’t remember me”. I probably wouldn’t have known who he was had I not noticed his name, but I said, “I remember you. We played ball together.” He then recounted the day I defended him and told me he never forgot it and stuck out his hand and thanked me. How was I to know that what I did that day would be remembered all those years later? We all do things good and bad never knowing what will be remembered. I know I have. Now go out and do more good than bad and change some lives.

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