A Red Marble
Thanks to Becky Henry for passing this story along.
During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern
Idaho community, I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for
farm fresh produce as the season made it available. Food and money
were still extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.
One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for
me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged
but clean, hungrily apprising a basket of freshly picked green
peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of
fresh green peas.
I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the
peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr.
Miller and the ragged boy next to me.
"Hello Barry, how are you today?"
"Hello Mr. Miller, Fine, thank you. Just admiring those peas...
sure look good."
"They are good, Barry. How's your Mother?"
"Fine. Getting stronger all the time."
"Good. Anything I can help you with?"
"No, Sir. Just admiring those peas."
"Would you like to take some home?"
"No, Sir. I don't have anything to pay for them with.
"Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?"
"All I have is my prize marble here."
"Is that right? Let me see it."
"Here it is. She's a dandy."
"I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort
of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?"
"Not exactly...but, almost."
"Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip
this way let me look at that red marble."
"Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller."
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.
With a smile she said: "There are two other boys like him in our
community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just
loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or
"When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do,
he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home
with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one,
I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with the man. A
short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot the story of
this man, the boys and their bartering
Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho
community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.
They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends
wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased
and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army
uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white
shirts...very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller,
standing smiling and composed, by her husband's casket. Each of
the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly
with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes
followed them as, one by one, each young man stopped briefly and
placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket.
Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes. Our turn came
to meet Mrs. Miller.
I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about
the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the
casket. "Those three young men, that just left, were the boys I
told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things
Jim "traded" them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his
mind about color or size...they came to pay their debt.
"We've never had a great deal of wealth of this world," she
confided, but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest
man in Idaho." With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently
shiny, red marbles.
We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.
I wish you enough.......
sent by Becky Henry
I wish you enough....
Recently I overheard a father and daughter in
their last moments together.
The airline had announced her departure and they
were standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, "I
love you. I wish you enough."
She said, "Daddy, our life together has been more than enough.
Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy."
They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was
could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his
privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking, "Did you ever say good-bye to
someone knowing it would be forever?"
"Yes, I have," I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of
expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done
for me.Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to
tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this
man was experiencing.
"Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?" I asked.
"I am old and she lives much too far away. I have
challenges ahead and the reality is, her next trip back would be for
my funeral," he said.
"When you were saying good-bye I heard you say,
'I wish you enough.' May I ask what that means?"
He began to smile. "That's a wish that has been
handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to
everyone." He paused for a moment and looking up as if trying to
in detail, he smiled even more. "When we said 'I wish you enough,' we
wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good
sustain them," he continued and then turning toward me he shared the
following as if he were reciting
it from memory.
"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through to the final "Good-bye."
He then began to sob and walked away.
My friends and loved ones, I wish you ENOUGH