Cotton

CottonI had my note sheet with several totals
that were quite a bit more than the twenty, one dollar bills I had rolled up in
my hand that held my pencil. Twenty one-dollar bills, my reward for picking a
ton of cotton which would wind up as one bale.

I went back over the racks of shirts
looking for some a little less expensive, writing the price down in the column.
Then to the pants, shoes, underwear, same thing. I could do without a new belt
as I could buy a smaller waist size and get by without one. The total was still
too high.

I sat down to rest in a chair used for
fitting shoes while staring at the holes in the knees of my pants. Those
weren’t holes I mused, there was only a strip of pants cloth two or three
inches wide holding the bottom of the pants on below my knees. The holes in the
toes my shoes gave witness that I still had ten of them. Worn from dragging the
cotton sack while on my knees for miles and miles down those hot dusty rows.

“Hi! Have you decided which items
you’d like to buy?” Mrs. Liebermann kindly asked.

“I’m still a couple or three dollars
short so I’ll have to pick some more cotton at night and on weekends for a few
weeks and wear these last years ones to school for awhile.” I replied,
looking at the ceiling wondering and knowing the subtle stares and chuckles I’d
have to endure from classmates until I could get some new clothes.

At least I had enough to eat stored at my
several camps in the woods that friends and their parents had given me. They
would last awhile since thirteen year olds don’t eat much.

“HMMM! Let me see those.” It was
Mr. Liebermann pointing at the bills in my hand.

“HMMM! These look like cotton dollars,
are they?” He asked.

“Yes sir, I’ve been working everyday,
into the night and weekends trying to get a few decent clothes to start school.
I haven’t had any new ones since last year when I was here.” I sadly told
him.

“Well you know we have a secret sale
going on for old and loyal customers and these cotton dollars are worth a
dollar and twenty five cents since they are harder to get.” He said while
looking at his smiling wife.

“Really?” I said amazed.

“Yes, lets gather up the things that
you need and we’ll total them up, you may have enough to get what you need and
after you finish this cotton season you may have enough for some more.” He
said as he put his hand on my shoulder leading me to the clothes racks.

After picking out a couple of shirts, some
blue jean pants and a belt we sat down in the shoe section again. There was
enough for a good pair of ankle high boots and some socks. A pair that would be
good for the fall and winter approaching and tough enough for the woods where I
lived most of the time.

They rang them up and there was nearly a
dollar left over. I couldn’t believe it. I would be able to get a few lunches
in the cafeteria on my own.

Leaving I told them that they were so kind
to help me and I knew that God was certainly looking over me to have them for
storekeepers in our small community.

“Shalom my little friend.” were
the words I heard from them as I carried my new clothes with me down the
street.

Mark
Crider

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