A LIFE MORE ORDINARY - "It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Best Of Times"

(12/08/2003)

By Gaylen Duskey

You may contact Gaylen Duskey at realfang@citlink.net

With apologies to Charles Dickens: This is the Tale of Two Lindas.

I know Dickens’ famous opening line in a Tale of Two Cities is: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” but in this case there needs to be some alterations since it was the best of times … the worst of times part was averted.

Let me tell you, in three-part harmony, exactly what happened:

I love Snowballs. For all you loyal Hur Herald readers in another part of the country who may not know what a Snowball is, a Snowball is a what used to be referred to as a “10 cent cake.” We don’t have “10 cent cakes” any more either. They are more than likely a “dollar cake” or a “dollar-twenty-nine cake” but you know what I am talking about if you stop into one of your local convenience stores since they have racks of them.

Anyhow the Snowball is one of those cakes. It is a cream-filled chocolate cake covered with a marshmallow icing, which is covered with coconut. It tastes a whole lot better than it describes.

I live within walking distance of the Dollar General store here in Grantsville and I had decided at halftime of the Army-Navy football game I was going to walk down and get me one.

Linda, my wife, asked me if I needed any money.

“Nah, I can get a box for a buck and I got a bunch of change in my pocket,” I said and headed out the door.

When I got to the store I picked out a box of pink ones. Actually I think they all taste pretty much the same but pink just happened to be the color they had in stock in the handy six-Snowball box.

I took the Snowballs and walked up to the register where Linda (Hartshorn) Bollinger was working. I have known Linda since, well, just about as long as I can remember. She was in Linda’s class at Calhoun County High School.

She checked the person out in front of me and by that time two or three customers had lined up behind me.

When she rang up the item the total came to $2.12.

Oops. I had through they were $1 a box, not $2.

“I don’t think I have that much money,” I said.

“No problem,” Linda said. “How much do you have?”

I counted … came out to $2.00 even.

“Here,” she said getting her purse," let me help with that.”

What could I say but “thanks?”

She paid the difference and I thanked her. She said it was all right since it was the “holiday season.”

Somehow, however, I thought on the way home she would have ponied up the difference even had it been in the middle of the summer.

I walked through the snow thinking warm-and-fuzzy feelings about Grantsville.

Had I been in one of the larger towns – and just about all towns are larger than Grantsville – I can imagine the clerk giving off a loud sigh, calling for a “member or management,” then voiding out the ticket while telling me that they would put the item back. Then I can imagine the clerk apologizing to the people behind me for some old coot not having enough money to pay for what they bought.

As I turned off the sidewalk heading up the steps to my house I smiled and thought how nice it was not to be embarrassed for making a mistake.

But I also knew what was coming.

I told Linda, my wife, about what happened. But I knew what was coming next.

“Get the money out of the jar (our coin jar) and go pay her back,” she said. “And tell her thanks.”

Back at home now I am writing this and thinking how this could have been the worst of times, but, thanks to a kind person (Linda) and an understanding wife (Linda) my “Tale of Two Lindas” ends up lacking that. It was the best of times … it was the best of times.


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