The hand-lettered sign was tied to a barbed-wire fence on a country road. Faded red writing on a dingy white background proclaimed Pecans For Sale.
“Stop!” my wife shrilled, swiveling her head to keep the retreating advertise- ment in sight.
I stomped the brake pedal, thinking we were in mortal danger of hitting, or being hit, by something unseen. Pleasant thoughts vanished into the squeal of rubber on asphalt.
“We need pecans,” she said, her arms braced against the dashboard as we slid to a halt.
“Woman, don’t do that,” I said, aggravated to my soul. “I’ve told you a thousand times. I almost ran us in the ditch.”
And, as always she apologized, but justified her actions. “Sid’s funeral is tomorrow. I’m baking a cake for the meal after the service. I really need some pecans.”
After backing up, we turned through an open gate and drove down a pecan tree shaded lane. The track led to a small, neat farm house surrounded by aging implements and outbuildings. A large black dog, alerted by our musical approach on the graveled drive, crawled from his shady spot beneath a hay baler. Stretching leisurely, his tail began thumping dust into the air with a rhythm accomplished drummers would admire. His dark liquid eyes questioned our exit from the car.
“Hi, folks,” came a cheery greeting. An elderly man with soft blue eyes and a tanned, leathery face walked toward us from a small barn, wiping his hands with a red rag. He was wearing bib-overalls and a John Deere cap. “Don’t mind Gaspar. He doesn’t bite. I’m George.”
“We saw your sign,” Mae said. “Do you still have pecans?”
He did, and they were reasonably priced. We decided on ten pounds.
Putting a paper bag on a scale, he took a scoop and deftly filled it from a large barrel of nuts.
“I put eleven pounds in there,” he said, handing me the bag, “just in case there are a few bad ones.”
There were very few, we discovered, after shelling the pecans. His price had been more than fair and the additional pound he gave us left a warm feeling. More than that, as we stood around talking before departing, a friendship had been kindled.
We know where we will purchase pecans next year.
Although George and I are about the same age, he reminded me of my grandfather who died when I was a teenager. He too, was a farmer/rancher. One of the things he sold was peaches.
I treasure what mother wrote, quoting him in her memoirs: “Another thing, when I sold peaches I didn’t fill the bottom of the basket with little-uns. I put in the best I had and filled her up. Never could stand a feller who wouldn’t give good measure.”
On his death bed he said, “I don’t know if the Lord would have any use for an old codger like me or not. I have never been a go-to-church-pray-on-Sunday feller. I’ve never amounted to much, never had much of a chance to be somebody.”
Oh, but I think he was!
Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (NKJ)
Both George and my grandfather are good examples.
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Author’s note: Micah 6: 9-15 describe God’s abomination of the short measure, and the consequences for those that use wicked scales.
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