Pensacola, Florida—Dodge’s Convenience Store. Friday afternoon. This is the kind of gas station with greasy fried chicken that’s not half bad.
In the long line ahead of me: a young couple. They are sweaty, dressed in white clothing, covered in paint splatters. The woman is holding a toddler.
On the counter, the man places two energy drinks and a large box of chicken. He removes his wallet. He has no cash.
“Never mind,” he tells the Dodge’s cashier, “I’ll just put everything back.”
A old woman in line behind them removes her wallet and pays.
He thanks her.
She says, “Nah, don’t thank me.” Then, she leaves.
Montgomery, Alabama—a very nice restaurant. Mary is in her car, applying makeup before meeting her boyfriend.
She sees two boys at the valet desk, wearing matching golf shirts.
An old man with a long beard shuffles the sidewalk. He has a backpack on his shoulder. He walks past the boys.
They holler, “Sir, wait!”
One kid runs inside. He returns with a take-out box. The man thanks them.
Mary watches the man walk on ahead, sit on the pavement, and eat with his hands.
Mary has to re-apply mascara.
Jacksonville, Florida—an older man finds a cat in his neighborhood. The cat has a bloody stub where her right ear once was.
He takes her to the vet and gets the wound dressed. The cat sleeps on the man’s recliner. He names her.
One morning, before he’s even made coffee, he notices something beneath his easy chair.
He crawls on his hands and knees to look. Four newborn kittens.
“I’m a dad,” he writes me.
A granddaddy is more like it.
Shreveport, Louisiana—Anne is a young widow. Her car is giving her fits.
She takes it to a garage. The mechanic says it’s an expensive problem. She’s better off getting a new vehicle.
One of the young mechanics overhears this. He takes Anne aside.
He says he knows of a local scrapyard. He says he can find a used part and fix her vehicle for no charge. She agrees.
He visits her after work. He gets her car repaired in one evening. He stays for supper.
And now they have two children together.
While I write this, my wife is watching the evening news. The Barbie Doll on the TV screen is saying that the economy is in trouble, the government is crumbling, and mankind is dangling by a thread.
To drive the point home, there is footage of mushroom clouds and various crime-scenes. The broadcast ends with a story about a pregnant giraffe—I guess that’s supposed to make it all better.
Listen, maybe this world is in trouble. God knows, I’m just Joe Nobody, from nowhere. I have no right to tell anyone what to believe.
But, if I may, I’d like to speak to the friendly broadcast journalists who dig for the most appalling headlines they can.
Brothers and sisters:
The pregnant giraffe wasn’t enough.
Visit Dodge’s gas station.