String Bean Spirituality-Bob Perks

A visit to the grocery store changes the way I look at produce–and people.Patience is a virtue. One of the many I lack. Never more evident than when I am grocery shopping.Some days the only time I get out of the house is when I force myself to head to the market to buy what I need for dinner. Oftentimes I go there with absolutely nothing in mind and find myself inspired by the aromas of fresh-baked bread or slow-roasted chicken. I enjoy the experience, except for the crowded vegetable section of the store. This is where most people slow down so they can inspect, fondle, smell, and squeeze until they have discovered that one grapefruit, that special cantaloupe that everyone else missed.I can be seen, plastic bag in hand, waiting, moaning, and huffing as I finally slump over my cart in frustration. In just a few seconds I’m in and out, green pepper in hand and on my way to the scale to slap that sticker on it. No big deal for me.Except for yesterday.I decided to pick up some string beans. Of all the sections in the vegetable market, the string bean people move the slowest. One bean at a time. “Oh, Lord give me patience!” I said to myself as I approached the counter.There, blocking access with his cart, was an elderly man. His messy white hair, flipped up in the back, made him look like a 80-year-old hippie. He was average height and looked much like a string bean himself. Thin and frail-looking, he moved slowly and his hands seemed to tremble as he searched through the pile of beans.Without turning his head toward me, he said, “It takes time to find the right ones. There’s an art to this, you know.””I didn’t realize that,” I said. “Although that explains why everyone spends so much time here. They’re artists.””I see them as people,” he replied.”The beans?” I asked.”Yes.” he said in a matter-of-fact tone.”See this one? This short, stubby one would tend to get passed over. Its appearance doesn’t fit the perfect image of a long, thin, crisp bean. Most likely, after too much handling, the clerk will toss it out thinking no one wants it. So I take it. People don’t know what they are missing, passing up this one,” he continued.”Now I know this curved one won’t be used either. Some people see food as more than nourishment. It’s all in the presentation. The image of a few select beans, all of the same length, lying on a plate nestled perfectly next to the entrée, supposedly adds to the enjoyment of the meal. I for one see my food as representing life itself. The world is full of texture, odd shapes and sizes. My world is not perfect. Nor is my dinner plate,” he said.Suddenly I realized that we were the only ones in this aisle. Very unusual for this time of day. I was calm and very attentive to everything this man was saying. Also unusual.”Yes, this pile of beans reminds me that people come into my life in all sizes. Some are broken like this one. Others are still attached to the vine where they were nourished and protected and oftentimes were ripped away from their roots, carrying with them resentment and fear. Like this bean, the vine needs to be removed so that it can be seen in its full beauty and not one clinging to things of the past,” he said as he tossed them in his bag.A few minutes had passed as I stood in silence just watching the old man as he dug deep into the pile, turning and tossing them from the bottom as one would stir a salad.”Well, I must go now,” the man said. “I’ll leave you with these ‘human beans.’ Be kind to them. Don’t judge them just by looks. Inside everyone of them is the same life-giving elements. But like people, many will never be given the chance,” he said.”So they end up on the bottom, tossed aside?” I asked.”The difference is,” he replied, “as people we have a choice not to settle for the garbage heap.”He tied the top of the plastic bag and turned away, missing the cart completely as he tried to place it inside.”Sir, let me get that for you,” I said.”Every once in a while I misjudge the distance. I’ve been blind all of my life. You’d think I’d have this worked out by now.”Blind? I couldn’t believe it. Suddenly a young lady appeared from around the corner.”Poppa! I’m over here, straight ahead of you. Would you like me to pick out some nice tomatoes?””No, honey. I know just what I need,” he said.Turning back toward where I was standing, he whispered, “She’s always in such a hurry. She’ll miss the best ones. Have a great day!”What insight. What vision this old man had. A blind man helped me to see what joy I had been missing in the simple act of shopping for vegetables. I wonder what else I have been blind to in the hurry of my day.By the way, tonight we are having brussel sprouts. I can’t wait to get back to the market.

A Cats Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray this cushy life to keep.
I pray for toys that look like mice.
And sofa cushions, soft and nice.
I pray for gourmet kitty snacks.
And someone nice to scratch my back.
For windowsills all warm and bright.
For shadows to explore at night.
I pray I’ll always stay real cool
And keep the secret feline rule–
To NEVER tell a human that
The world is really ruled by Cats!


By Roger Dean Kiser

Back in the late 1970s, maybe even the early 1980s, my wife and I owned a business selling wood burning stoves.

The bottom had just about fallen out of the business and we hadDecided to move from Brunswick, Georgia, back to Modesto, California. Everything was packed and loaded into the two vehicles. All was readyFor the 3,000 mile cross country trip, except for the two animals and about800 cans of canned meat and vegetables. I have always had this “thing” about having tons of canned food. IHave always had a pantry everywhere I have lived. If there wasn’t a pantryWhen I moved in, I would build one. I guess storing canned food stems back to when I was a young boy inThe orphanage. I have never forgotten the nights I went to bed hungry –My stomach hurting and growling. I remember the days that I had to stealBread crumbs so that whatever boy was locked in the hall closet would haveSomething to eat. There was no way that we would be able to haul all this food acrossCountry. So, it was decided that we would leave it for the next family whoMight rent the house after we moved. I drove to the supermarket to pick up some soft drinks for the trip.As I made my way down the aisle, there were three elderly women blocking Walkway. I stopped and waited hoping that they would move one of theirCarts so that I could get through. I stood there getting a little. The three of them were going through tons of coupons. All atOnce, one of the ladies dropped the coupons and they scattered all over theFloor. I pushed my cart to one side and I got down on my hands and knees andI began gathering up the hundreds of coupons. As I raked them together IHeard the ladies talking among themselves. It appears that the three ofThem had pooled their social security money together in order to buy food The month. I gathered up the coupons and I handed them to one of theWomen. When I looked into one of their carts there must have been 40 or 50Cans of peas. “Boy! You guys sure must love peas,” I said. “They are on sale, five for a dollar,” said the elderly woman. “You eat peas everyday?” I asked them. “Corn will be on sale next month,” said another lady. “Ladies, I have a deal for you. Put all this stuff back and followMe,” I told them. “I know you do not know me from Adam. But we areLeaving for California in a few hours. I have a ton of canned food thatYou can have for free. Peas, corn, canned meat, tuna, chicken in a can.You name it, I got it,” I told them. “The manager knows me here. He willTell you that it is ok.” Within five minutes the ladies were following me to my house. ForMore than 30 minutes we loaded canned goods into their car’s trunk and backSeat. All at once, one of the elderly ladies picked up two cans of cornedBeef hash and held it against her chest. “You’ve got meat! I LIKE MEAT,” said the woman, as she sat down onThe ground and began to cry. “I’ve never seen anyone cry over canned meat before,” I told her. “You’d cry if you got hungry enough,” said one of the other elderly women. “I know,” I said, as I smiled at her, remembering back to my days inThe orphanage. As they drove away I looked over at my wife and I yelled out, “I FEELGOOD — just like the song says.” “Oh, Roger. Let’s go! California here we come!” she said as sheSmiled at me.

Getting In Late, LoL

The other night I was invited out for a night with the guys.I told my wife that I would be home by midnight… “IPromise!”Well, the hours passed quickly and the beer was going downWay too easy. At 3 am, drunk as a skunk, I headed for home.Just as I got in the door, the cuckoo clock in the hallStarted up and cuckooed three times.Quickly, I realized she’d probably wake up, so I cuckooedAnother 9 times. I was really proud of myself for havingSuch a rapid, witty solution, even when smashed, to escape aPossible conflict.The next morning my wife asked me what time I got in, and ITold her 12 o’clock. She didn’t seem disturbed at all. GotAway with that one, I thought!Then she told me we needed a new cuckoo clock. When I askedHer why she said, “Well, last night it cuckooed 3 times,Then said, ‘Oh crap,’ cuckooed 4 more times, cleared itsThroat, cuckooed another 3 times, snickered, cuckooed twiceMore, and then farted.”

The Angel of Abundant Blessings-by Mary Nelson

I woke up feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of hobbling around with a cast on my leg. I’d broken my ankle on a family outing in the country, and now autumn had rushed in overnight. The house was downright chilly. “Brrr,” I shivered. “This would be a good soup day.”

I craved the comfort of a homemade soup. You can’t get that from a can. But my refrigerator didn’t have much to offer, and a trip to the store seemed like too much effort. Still, all day I couldn’t get that soup idea out of my head. Sure would be nice if some dropped down from heaven, I thought at lunchtime.

About five o’clock I opened the front door to get the mail. A gift bag hung on the handle of the storm door. What in the world? I peered inside the bag. Would you believe it? There were four containers labeled with different kinds of homemade soup. Who had delivered this gift from heaven?

I called a friend, thinking it might have been her. No, she wasn’t my soup angel, but guess what. “I’m finishing up a soup right now,” she said, “to bring you for dinner tonight!” So now I had five soups. What an abundant blessing, just when I needed it.

The efficiency expert

The efficiency expert concluded his lecture with a note of caution: “You
Don’t want to try these techniques at home.”

“Why not?” asked somebody from the audience.

“I watched my wife’s routine at breakfast for years,” the expert
Explained. “She made lots of trips between the refrigerator, stove,
Table and cabinets, often carrying a single item at a time. One day I
Told her, ‘Hon, why don’t you try carrying several things at once?'”

“Did it save time?” the guy in the audience asked.

“Actually, yes”, replied the expert. “It used to take her 20 minutes to
Make breakfast. Now I do it in seven.”