The other night after a long day at the office, I received a call from my friend Ed. Could I come over and help him install a new hard drive? Having several more important things to do, which I could now avoid, I ran right over. Eventually, we got it up and running, sort of, and finally, around 9:00, I allowed Ed to pop open a beer. I took the first couple of sips. The phone rang. It was my wife. The furnace had gone out at my mother's house.
Mother is 86 and is very self sufficient. The day before her water heater had burst and she stayed home mopping up and ordering a new one without even calling one of her sons (or anyone else) a for help, But after a day dealing with the installation (and a workman who fell through her ceiling -- but that is another story), when the fuse blew in the furnace late on a cold night, it was too much. She called my wife. Could we bring over a 15 amp Buss fuse?
There is a Menards home supply store halfway between my friend's house and hers. I called. They were open until 10:00. I found the electrical department. I saw two different types of 15 amp Buss fuses. One blue screw in and one long snap in type. I called Mother to make sure. It was the blue one. I went down to the cashier.
I was trying to decide which check out counter and cut off another customer who was trying to make the same decision. He had an arm load of 2X4s. He was kind of gruff in his initial comment, but we got into a discussion of parents and similar matters. Then I moved up in line. I reached for my wallet. It wasn't there.
It was almost 9:30. Not enough time to go home or to Mothers and get back, I thought.
What to do? I stepped out of line and began looking for the manager. A young checkout girl (her name tag said "Crystal") asked what I was doing. I explained I was going to see if somehow I could arrange to take the fuse and pay the next day. I had no credit cards, no ID, no nothing.
Just then the customer I had cut off came over. He handed me two bucks. "It's all the cash I have left after paying for the lumber," He wouldn't give me his name or number. "For your mother's sake," he said.
"Follow me" said the cashier. She rang up the fuses. The total was $2.42. She called over another check out girl. Together they picked through their pockets and came up with two dimes, three nickels and, finally, between them, some lint and a lifesaver and then seven pennies.
I jumped in the car and raced to Mother's (carefully, of course -- no driver's license).
I got there. She was exhausted. I went into the utility room and found the fuse box. The fuse I had picked up was too small. Turns out there are two blue 15 amp Buss Tron fuses. SL and TL. She needed TL. It was about 12 minutes to 10:00.
I called Menards. Yes, they did have the other fuse. "Take it down to Crystal." I said. "Tell her it is for the guy who owes her some money." Mother handed me a Twenty and I raced out to the car. No time to worry about cops. I ran in the door of the store. It was 9:58. Crystal saw me and we traded fuses. I tried to hand her the Twenty.
"I ain't cuttin' my blessin'," she said, waiving my money away.
It is interesting to note that this happened just a week before Thanksgiving. It put me in a frame of mind to recognize how blessed I am. Looking back, I see a similar episode occurred last year at this time. "Thanksgiving Thoughts"
Thank you Crystal. And thank you to all the anonymous individuals who repeatedly commit very specific acts of kindness.
A final note to this story: the second fuse did fit. And my wallet was at Ed's.Best wishes for happy holidays and a healthy New Year.
Copyright 1998 Leonard Grossman
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Copyright 1998 Leonard Grossman
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Created with DiDa! )12/2/1998 5:28:32 PM