I have days when I struggle. I’m in a lot of pain. Or, my self-esteem is close to empty. Or, I feel I’ve been slighted or mistreated. Yesterday was one of those days. And then . . .

An elderly man in overalls with a twinkle in his eye stopped me to ask if I could help him locate the nutmeg.

“The missus sends me after stuff I can’t ever find,” he chuckles. “But she’ll cook up something tasty with it when I get home. She always does. We’ve been married for 42 years.”

“What’s her name?”

“Pearl. And, that’s what she is. A real pearl.” He beams as he hitches up the strap on his overalls. “Her cousin introduced us when we were just kids. We lived over in Tontitown at that time. Well, we’ve lived a lot of different places, you see. Her folks didn’t want us to get married at first. Thought we was too young. But it all worked out. They’re good folks. We live right here in Fayetteville now. Same house ever since 1955. I’m going to have to have it painted this year. Can’t do it myself any more. Getting too old to. . . .”

I interrupt him. “Here, I found it. Ground nutmeg, right?”

“Heh, heh. I knew you’d be able to find it. My eyes ain’t so good these days. You’re a real peach, young lady. I appreciate your help.”

By now, I’d completely forgotten whatever was bothering me. My encounter with the little man in overalls wiped away my worries.

He said he needed help finding the nutmeg. He also needed a friendly chat. He needed to express his love of his wife. He needed someone to listen to him and to know a bit about him. He needed someone to talk to. I know because I have days like that, too. My world was brighter when I left the grocery store.

I want to be like that little man in overalls.

I BELIEVE in making your life a little better for having encountered me.

–Alice French

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