“Is it still stealing,” asked crow, “if I just want to take away your pain?”
Red mouse wasn’t sure, so she just hugged the big black bird and cried.
Mobiles: Mint Chip, Daisy, and Red Bubblicious
So, yes, I stole it. I was only seven, but when I put it in my pocket, I knew what I was doing.
When I was a kid, we often piled into the car and headed to Thrifty’s. We went for the ice cream. If we were lucky, it’d be a double scoop. . Butter Pecan, Chocolate Malted Krunch, Coconut Pineapple, Pistachio Nut, Rocky Road, and Mint Chip (namesake of one of the mobiles here).
There were those cones that melted in your mouth, flat-topped scoops, wax paper “napkins,” and lots of smiles.
I’m not sure why I was wandering the aisles, nor why I decided a house plant hydrometer was worth pilfering. But there it was, and it was so easy to slip into my pocket. . Less easy was explaining to my mom why I had stolen it when my older brother ratted me out at home. Minutes later, I was in the front seat of our Ford Fairmont station wagon, headed back to Thrifty’s.
The manager was wearing a plaid shirt and a blue vest with a plastic nametag. He had kind eyes. He took me back to the scene of the crime, got down on one knee, and started gently talking about the importance of making good choices and the consequences of our actions.
I’ve often thought about this man. He didn’t go to work that day thinking he was going to have counsel a 7-year-old shoplifter. But there he was, no anger, no threats; taking the time to get down on my level, literally + figuratively, to offer guidance, kindness, and wisdom.
It took all of five minutes of his day, but it’s stuck with me for decades how present he was. Such a lesson to remember the opportunities we have every day to offer those we meet our attention, a safe place, a supportive word.
What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
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