It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!
I wipe the rain from my eyes and stand still a few moments not wanting to walk and shed water on the old floor. The owner walks out and makes a comment about the terrible rains. I smile at him and begin to glance around the store.
It was my lucky day. I love antique stores and had always thought about stopping in here but never did it because it looked a little on the shabby side. I looked at him and smiled. He was an older gentleman with well-worn docker pants. I noticed the button was undone and he had a pair of suspenders holding them up. He had a white short-sleeve shirt on with two pens sticking out of his shirt pocket. White socks and loafer/slipper type shoes. He didn’t have much hair on his head and what I could see was pure white.
I did see something that made me feel at home. The twinkle in his eye reminded me of my own grandpa when he was still living. When he spoke about his store I could feel the love that he carried for the items for sale.
” I have been in business for over thirty years. My wife and I collected for nearly fifty years. Oh we used to scan the newspapers and find the most interesting auctions.. We would gather our chairs and a picnic basket full of her home-baked goodies along with some sandwiches and we would spend the glorious day together buying all the cheap things we could. Those were the days for sure. Now my wife has cancer and the medical bills have eaten us up and I am having to sell everything we own so we can keep the house.”
I pulled up a chair and sat down near him. My own eyes filled with tears as I heard the love he had in his voice for his beloved wife. He got another chair and sat beside me. He went on with, ” My Bessie, my dear sweet Bessie. She was a real looker back in the day. She turned my head the first day I discovered her and we been together ever since. I promised her I would take care of her until the day she died and I am keeping that vow.”
” I just don’t move that quick anymore. I got that old arthritis in my knees and I can’t see like I used to. I want my Bessie to remain home as long as possible, that’s why I am selling our life here in the store.”
I listened intently and then without thinking volunteered my services. ” I don’t have anything to really do three days a week. What about me coming in and helping out. I could dust shelves. I could rearrange items so visitors see something new each time. I could make coffee and bake some cookies so they had something to make them feel more at home here. You could entertain them by sharing a little bit about the history of what they are looking at.”
He smiled and stood up. ” You must be an angel sent from God. I think your idea could work and I would love to take you up on your idea.” We shook hands and as I turned to leave, the clouds made way and the sunshine was burning bright. I was dry and I walked through the front doors. When I stood outside his store I looked up and saw the biggest rainbow I had ever seen. I smiled to myself and thanked God for leading me into the path of this store. I walked easily to my car, got in and drove home, ready to scour my cookbooks for some interesting cookie recipes.