Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: INSOUCIANT (06/02/16)
- TITLE: The End of the Path
By Donna Powers
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I’d taken to selling insurance like a cat laps up cream. I’d learned there are two types of people: those who have insurance, and those who need it. Everyone needs to prepare for life’s unexpected turns. I’d been on my own sales route for six months, now and I was doing just fine.
On that day, each house on that old country lane had yielded an effortless sale. I was as full of optimism as a kid at Christmas.
When I got to the end of that lane, I sighed. I needed one last sale to break that record. Somehow, it seemed my luck was tied to that country lane, and I needed to stay there for that last sale. But I was at the last house, so I had to move on.
But as I hefted my briefcase, I noticed a flower-trimmed path - right next to what I’d thought was the last house. I walked up the path, and it widened. At the end, I saw a little farmhouse. Standing near that house was an older woman. She smiled and beckoned me forward.
And I figured: “why not?”
I started my pitch: “Josiah Pemberton, ma’am. Security Insurance Company. Can I interest you in a life insurance plan? We’ve got a plan to suit every situation.”
Her eyes seemed full of laughter. “Well, son thanks - but I believe I’ll pass.”
“But, ma’am, surely you want to prepare for your future. After all, none of us knows what the future holds.”
She laughed and answered, “Well, that’s true – about earthly life. But my eternal future holds heaven, and everything here on earth is up to the Lord.”
I couldn’t believe this. No modern person could be so uninformed. “Ma’am, I admire your faith. But surely, you’d like to have something to pass on to your family.”
She gestured around her, at the little farmhouse and the green fields. “This is what I’ll pass on to my family. I make a living selling eggs and honey. My granddaughter Abby will get those when I go to heaven. Anything else my family needs; the Lord will provide.”
I sensed I’d better try a different tactic. “Well, all right. You seem to have your life insurance needs covered, but what about homeowner’s insurance? What if a fire or flood should come? Surely, you’d like to protect this beautiful farm?”
She laughed again. “Well, the Lord gave me this land, and He sent bees and chickens enough to make my living. Since He gave them to me, He’ll make sure I keep them.”
“But, what if…. I mean, ma’am! Everyone has to protect their future! I mean… faith is fine, but we must be practical!”
She drew close and put a hand on my shoulder. “Son, you’re getting all hot and bothered. I think you’d better come over to the shade and sit a spell.”
I let her lead me to a rocking chair in the shade, but I wasn’t about to ‘sit a spell’. The afternoon was drawing to a close, and that sales record was just within my reach. My head was swimming with the words she’d said. I’d faced negative reactions to my sales pitches, before, but I reminded myself there were only two kinds of people. In this day and age, for someone to be so unaware of the need for careful future planning… I looked up, garnering my resources for one last try to reason with her, but….
“Son,” she said, sweetly. “This is my granddaughter, Abby. She’s got some lemonade here that might help you cool down. Why not sit and rest a bit?”
Abby’s eyes and smile were as cool and enticing as that lemonade, and suddenly, that sales record was no longer the thing I wanted most.
Fifty years later, I spend a good part of my afternoons in that same comfortable chair. More often than not, my wife Abby sits next to me, sipping that same sweet lemonade. We hold hands and smile contentedly as we gaze at our grandkids; as they tend that same little farm.
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