Okay, funny little miracle story…the guardian angel kind…
So, I write almost every day. Most of you know that. Just a thing. Gets all the shit out of my head. Anyway, when my little composition books get filled up, I go through a mini-ceremony and rip up all the pages and throw the pile away. Purging, I call it!
I figure, what…1986 through 2015–29 years–365 days a year…pick a random figure to reflect an average number of pages I write each day…low, at 3. And, oh, lawdy, what about those phases when I write 10 or more pages without thinking about it…wow. I’m either wasting a lot of paper …or I simply have a ton of shit in my head, ay? Probably both.
Whenever I’m at the Dollar Store…always a protracted plan to hit one, oh, every three months or so…I make sure I pick up my composition books because they’re only a buck. Plenty of them. They always have ’em. Then, I always have ’em. It’s a habit. You know the kind: they’re black. They’re not too big. The cover has “Composition Book” printed on it. Ruled pages. Soft cardboard covers. The kind you use in school. Great for writing journal stuff without having to buy real journals. Been part of my daily life for years now.
Nothing extraordinary here.
So, this last week, I went looking for an empty book at home and couldn’t find one. Are you kidding me? I was surprised…I always have extras. Oh, hell, I thought….use a legal pad. Whatever. Nah, I don’t like writing on legal pads….I prefer those darn little books…where everything is in order and protected by a cover. But, heck, why not…gonna throw it all away anyway, right? Because I just did NOT want to do a “Dollar Store Run”. Not one more special trip for something I can live without. Not on a holiday weekend. I have everything else I need…all that stuff you stock up on at those stores…and just didn’t want to make a special run. I figure, “No big deal.”
Been a week. Legal pad is half full. Forgot all about it.
Today, on the way to the laundry, I decide to pick up a few things at the Walmart Grocery Store. You know…extra charcoal for the weekend. A pork roast to smoke on the grill. Odds and ends. I needed milk.
Do my shopping. Get everything I need. Finally navigate over to the checkout lines. Always fun at a Walmart Grocery Store. Start pulling into one…”No!…back up!…Too many people!” Check out another one. “Shoot, that lady must be shopping for two months…,” I’m thinkin’. Another one, “Oh, no. I just can’t stand behind that lady.” Parts of her back were hanging over the sides of her scooter…her pink sweater looking like pink water balloons. I just couldn’t stare at that today. Nah, not today. “Dang…I don’t want to hit the self-checkout area…” So, I finally find a line and pick my spot…only three people…relatively light loads in their carts. Whew.
I start unloading onto the conveyer belt…still waiting, of course, for the second guy ahead who waited until everything in his cart was already loaded into bags…and THEN he started punching the little credit card thingy. Oh, well…can’t do anything about it. Just have to wait. Be calm. Sigh. Just a little time.
So, my eyes wander over to the candy displays. “No! No, I say to chocolate!” Already looked at the magazine covers. Apparently Kim caught Kanye with his ex. A shiny one stood out: “Understanding The Bible Today”….oh, there’s one, I thought—“Only in Oklahoma…wonder if it explains understanding what the Bible is not.”
Yes, I’m wandering in thought. Distracted. That daze in the store when you’re almost out…you’re almost free…but ya just have to wait a little longer…thinking about nothing in particular…just biding your time.
And, then my eyes wander on up to the top of the candy racks. Smooth stainless steel. Must be the top of the cooler behind the rack–you know, those mini refrigerators with lemonade and cokes. Nothing on it but one little thing. Just one little thing.
“Hmmm. Is that a composition book sitting there?”
No…it can’t be. I look again. I step over just a couple of feet and realize that, yes…it’s a composition book. I pick it up thinking someone must’ve decided they didn’t want it. I wonder if it’s marked up or dirty or something. Maybe it’s got food smushed on the back cover.
Usually, the only things people leave behind are, you know, a package of cheese sitting on top of the Ice Breaker Mints. Or, a can of soup shoved into the beef jerky slot. Never anything I want or need. Or, want to touch. Kinda cool that out of all things, there’s this black composition book just sitting there. All by itself. And, it’s clean!
I actually entertained the thought that maybe I shouldn’t get it…it’s probably three bucks…darn it…”I’m not gonna pay extra for that book when I can get it at the Dollar Store.” It was my mother channeling through me. I laughed to myself…and, decide, “Of course, I’m going to get this book!”
I’m smiling now, thinking it’s pretty cool. How convenient. I add it to my grocery pile. Glance up when she scans it. A whopping 62 cents. I’m thinking, “I didn’t even know they had these here…hell, and it’s cheaper than the dollar store, too? You’re kidding me!”
All of a sudden, I find myself in a brilliant mood. I’m just feeling remarkably content. Noticeably so. This is not a feeling I normally associate with while grocery shopping at Walmart, believe me. Anyway, I smiled…and all the way to the car couldn’t help but thinking…
“No…seriously…you just found a composition book sitting there as if it were meant for you? Didn’t even have to look for it? Forgot you even needed one? Just sitting there waiting for you at the checkout line? The random checkout line you picked after inspecting all of them? Wait. That’s cool. That’s WAY cool. A little thing, yup…but it really IS as though…”
And, that’s when I decided it WAS my guardian angel…no doubt. Or some grand connection of energy I can’t explain that somehow placed this composition book right there…for me…no one else. A little gift. In front of me. A little something I needed but had forgotten about. Did I somehow know it was there? It left me with an outstanding feeling of protection…that my needs will always be met–and, in fact, I don’t even have to worry about or remember what those needs are…that someone is looking out for me. Coincidence? Nope. I don’t believe in coincidences.
Okay, no grand miracle here. Yeah. Yeah. It’s not like I was saved from a car wreck or something dramatic. It’s not like I saw bright lights and floating clouds in the Walmart Grocery Store. It’s not like some magical event with angels singing and Jesus’ face appearing in the macaroni salad behind the deli counter. I get that.
Nope. Just a composition book. Just a little thing. But, for me, a reminder. A big reminder–that when you really do ‘let it go’…sometimes you get a gift, a little message…that can make you smile and remember that everything is going to be okay–if you slow down, open your eyes and see.
That little composition book was meant for me.
So, I said, “Hey…thanks!” out loud. In the car, of course–yes, after I shut the door. Not sure who I was talking to. But, said it anyway. And, I cruised home…still in my great mood…and felt like writing out this little story for you. Doesn’t take much, does it? Now, especially, I’m kinda looking forward to the weekend!
And, I know where I’m going to get my next Composition Book, too.