Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Moral Compass, and
Help From The Spirit World



Other than finding a nice frozen Thanksgiving turkey on sale, the best news in my world until yesterday really ain't even in my world, it's in my daughter's world.

Cassie is a 9th grader, an honor's student, and since Saturday, focused on making the school basketball team. She got cold feet and was misty-eyed on the way to the first tryout last Saturday.

"Why are you crying?", I asked. "I thought you wanted this."

"I do," she whined, "but I won't have as much time for studying!"

"Yeah you will."

She described the problem of one friend, also in honor's, whose grades dropped like a rock after joining another sports team.

"Look, you gonna have to make this work," I said firmly. "Unless I find a great full time job, I won't have a nickel for college for you. You have to do everything you can get a full scholarship."

Cassie has heard this before, and sucked up the tears. I felt a twinge of guilt. I loved my TV shows too, at her age. My high school years had little pressure. Most of what I read were paperback sci-fi and horror novels. Higher education was cheaper then, and between my father and government grants, my tuition worries were non-existent.

I considered biting her bait when she said, "Maybe I can wait and try out in 11th grade."

"Nope," I replied, sounding eerily like my father, who'd drive me nuts with that word.

I parked the car.

"Why are you parking?", she asked in dismay.

"So I can watch you not eff up on purpose. I ain't playing about this."

She inhaled deeply and walked ahead of me into the gym. I know she was thinking how embarrassing it would be to have mother watch. Tough.

Once inside, I met the coach.

"She's worried to death about not having enough time to study," I said to him quietly. "She gets a little more homework, I think, 'cause she's in that honors program. Do you find this a problem with the girls?"

He glanced her. She looked down at her feet. Poor kid.

I was feelin' for her, but this was no time to be her friend. At that moment, I had to be her mother.


"Absolutely not," he answered confidently. "It's all about time management. I give them talks about this too. She'll be fine."

I stayed and watched her. She made the hoops easily. Cassie is one of the taller girls, standing at 5'10 and 150 pounds. Like the others trying out for Junior Varsity, she wouldn't have prayer against the more seasoned 11th and 12th graders. Thank God I said nope to waiting two more years.

Then came the drills. Her performance began to drop when her partner would pass her the ball. Five times in a row she missed the hoops. I softly called her name. She looked over at me.

I spoke to her wordlessly, with my eyes.

Her performance improved. Satisfied, I left.

On Sunday evening I took her to a basketball court and played against her. It was cold and dark, but oh hell that was fun. I just knew I was gonna win, but she cheated.

"I did not cheat!", she yelled.

"Yeah you did," I teased. "Ain't nobody tell you to be taller than me."

She laughed. "That ain't cheating, Mama."

"You chose a hoop where the street light was shining in my eyes. You know I hate that."

She laughed again. "That still ain't cheating!"

"Pfft," I replied. "Whatevah."

She stuck out her hand and smirked. "You owe me a dollar. Ha ha."

"Don't cry when I win it back."

This really cracked her up.

We had been home for an hour when she found a handful of ID's belonging to a young lady about 20. She brought them to me.

"I think Xavier robbed somebody," she said.

We've long suspected he's done this before, because he 'finds' more ID's than anyone possibly could. I've seen half a dozen over the years.

I looked at them. A driver's license revealed a pretty white girl, a college ID, and other stuff.

I got on the phone and called the family muscle, a soft-spoken male relative who can take his azz down in seconds. He came over immediately.

My apartment is kind of large, but when the door knocks, everyone comes out. Cassie didn't; she knew the deal.

"Hey, waz up?!", Xavier said, smiling, to Tony.

Tony is cool. Greeted him, had a seat, made small talk. The day before, Tony worked out with him at the gym. This was a treat, because he rarely has time to visit us. The two have a good relationship.

I put the ID's on the coffee table and asked, "You gangbanging again?"

Xavier was fast. "No, I found those."

"I didn't believe you last week when your sister found someone's gym membership. I believe you even less today. Why are you stealing people's wallets?"

"I found that one! I forgot to turn it in!"

Tony and I grit on him.

Rat a tat tat speed, our questions came.

Tony looked at the ones on the coffee table and said, "What happened with these?"

"For real," he insisted, "I found a girl's wallet."

"Where?", I asked.

"What's it matter where?"

"You lying, how'd you get it?"

Lie, lie, lie. We wore him down. Finally, Xavier told what is hopefully something close to the truth.

"I was at a party," he said. "My man stole this girl's purse while I was talking to her. She was freaking out looking for it. It was kinda funny, really. "Where's my pocketbook?!", she was yelling. Oh my God! I can't find it!"

"That shit ain't funny," Tony growled.

I stared hard at Xavier.

"Why you looking at me like that?"

"I'm picturing you with gray hair in jail," I replied. "That's where you gonna get old."

"I didn't do nothing!"

"Then why you got her shit?"

"I forgot about it!"

Xavier does have a fucked up case of ADHD along with some other shit. This makes him an idiot for a criminal, and he cannot cover his trail. He is truly forgetful.

A light bulb went off in my head. "Where's her credit card?"

"We ditched that at Popeyes."

If he were smart, he would have said she didn't have one. I didn't point this out to him.

Tony said, "So y'all treated yourself to a big meal after the party?"

"We were hungry."

"We?", I asked. "How many of y'all were there?"

"I ain't getting into names, and not everyone ate."

"Where's the credit card?"

"I bent it up and threw it away afterwards."

"So," I said, "if you had possession of the credit card, then you stole the purse, 'cause that's what the ring leader wins. Ain't that right?"

"No..."

"Shut up," I said. "You busted."

"You a bitch," Tony said to him. "Lemme go to your room and see what I can steal."

"No, I'm sorry!," Xavier said.

Tony walked back to his bedroom, with Xavier following. Cassie peaked out of her door.

"Snitch," Xavier growled.

"Ha ha," she laughed, and slammed her door.

"I like these shoes," Tony said, picking up a pair.

"I won't do it again, I swear. We were high."

"Nice excuse," Tony said. "Try that shit on a judge and see how far it gets your black azz."

Tony kicked me out the room so they could have a man to man-child chat. He left with shoes. I imagine he'll give them back the next time he visits, or maybe make Xavier catch that long bus and subway ride to get them.

The next day, I googled the girl's name, found she's in the college like her ID said and got the info for Xavier to mail her stuff back to the authorities there. I explained 'my kid found it', and they didn't ask my name or hers, and said they'd forward it to her.

Initially I thought he was a stupid criminal and still do, but as I looked through her stuff again, I wondered about something. See, this girl had three or four gift cards from various stores.

Xavier was laid off his minimum wage job a few weeks ago, and I've already told the kids don't expect much, if anything, for Christmas beyond the tree, saying Happy Birthday to Jesus, and a spectacular meal.

Last year the gifts were thin, and this year the question has not been what do you want?, but do you want anything?

They each got the message and to my relief, politely said no, they'd be okay.

Suddenly, temptation whispered in my ear.

"Gift cards," the Devil said. "Untraceable. You can keep these and buy stuff for them and you. I'm sure there's some money on them or the girl wouldn't have had them in her wallet, right?"

"Shut up," I whispered back to Satan. "I ain't like that."

He was persistent. "She looks rich. Must be since she lives out of state but attends college here. Pretty too, even got blue eyes. Probably got it made. Lives on campus so you know her folks got money. They might even be one of those Wall Street Wolves who made it so hard for everyone else..."

"Shut up!", my soul whispered back to Temptation.

"Go ahead," he whispered, "keep them. No one will know."

"Fuck you," I hissed. "I'll know."

I called in Xavier. "Why did you keep these, really?"

"I don't know," he said.

I passed them to him. "Look through them one more time," I said.

He did.

"Did you plan to use the gift cards?"

He shrugged.

I passed the envelope to him. He put them in, sealed it, and we walked to the mailbox.

"You can still keep those gift cards, Ma," he said quietly. "They ain't like credit cards, and there's probably not much on them anyway."

My eyes locked with his. "I know," I said, "but it ain't right whether it's $25 or $100. I'm too proud to evah go on welfare, and damn sure too proud to steal, even from a little rich white girl."

"Why you gotta be so perfect?"

"I'm not perfect, and I won't lie to you. It is a little harder to be honest when you're broke, but it's not impossible. I wouldn't want someone doing this shit to me, 'cause what goes around, comes around. Karma, ya dig?"

He looked at me like he was unsure, and this made me feel unsure. After all, a lot of people who've never harmed anyone get hurt. I tried to hide my uncertainty.

"It's a pride thing, too," I added quickly. "Some kinds of pride will bring your downfall, like being too proud to work at McDonalds. Other kinds of pride will keep you honest. Times are a little tough for us right now, but they ain't tough enough for any of us to sell our souls. Some lines you just don't cross. They're like potato chips, where you can't only eat one."

He nodded, and shoved the envelope in the mailbox.

We spoke with our eyes. He was proud of me. This boy, my son, who has always walked a tightrope between Good and Evil which warred for his soul, wouldn't have a prayer if I or the folks in our extended family started slipping in the slime of dishonesty.

That afternoon and the next, Cassie had more basketball tryouts. I didn't embarrass her further by going to see her again, but noted that she was more relaxed and confident when she came home. Her chatter about making new friends among the girls was a good sign, but I know how kids, like adults, lie.

Xavier and I waited excitedly for her to return from school on Wednesday. Her coming in later than usual was a good sign.

Before I could open my mouth, he asked her, "You make it?"

A small smile played on her pretty face and her eyes.

"Yeah! I'm in!"



We cheered and hugged her.

"I'll need new shoes to play," she said. "The coach told me these aren't good."

She must have seen the worried look on my face.

"Don't worry, Mama," she said. "I have $40 from my babysitting money to put toward them."

"It's not a problem," I lied. "I may have a new client this week."

Truth be told, not as many folks are coming in for mental health treatment since the economy crashed. They can't afford the copay. That's the main reason I'm looking for another gig with an agency. This one was great while it lasted, but all things come to an end at some point. I been thinking that if shit gets much worse, I'll be begging Best Buy or Borders Books to hire me.

Xavier and I watched the family hero walk to her room. Normally she turns on the TV. Instead, she dived right into her homework.

Later, I sat back in my comfy chair at my computer. Been wanting to write something good all week, including finishing a post where I'll be passing along another award I was given, but had no time. I thought of how financial worries suck me dry of creativity, but I accomplished some things as a parent.

I thought how I miss my mother. If only she could see how little Cassie is has grown to be so strong, stoic, focused, and blessedly, accepts my guidance, she'd be overjoyed.

Suddenly, an angel whispered in my ear.

She said, "Look for the savings bonds I left you. Remember those?"

"But you cashed them, Ma, didn't you? I remember that. You treated the kids to those great summer camps two years in a row!"

"Look anyway," her angelic voice whispered.

I've never gone over her financial papers after she died. My father's either. It was too painful. Back in 2004, I had tossed them in two separate boxes and shoved them all way back in my closet, next to their cremation urns, never ever planning to touch any of it again unless I moved.

Indeed, the bonds I remembered had been cashed. She'd written a note on the copy, saying so. My shoulders slumped. Oh well, I thought, it was worth a try.

And then suddenly, I could smell her.

Her scent was on her papers. It was heaven. I clutched them, reveling in a primal ecstasy of smelling my mother's aroma once again. It was as though she were alive and in the room with me.

I set them down, finally forcing myself to read through her past bank and other statements. I tried not cry over her life, now gone.

Then, I spotted an insurance policy.

She left me nearly $4,000.

Then, I found more copies of savings bonds I'd never seen before, payable on death to me. I don't know if she cashed them or not. I couldn't find the originals, but it won't be hard finding out if they're good or not.

Then, Daddy's box. His scent was not on the papers, to my disappointment, but then...

Another small insurance policy for me near the top of one stack. Nearly $2,000.

Overwhelmed, I couldn't look no more, and still don't know if any other gifts are in that box.

Gifts... gifts that I wouldn't have found anytime soon, if ever, if I had lost my moral compass and been out shopping with someone's stolen gift cards.

Karma.

I began weeping.



37 comments:

  1. you are the bomb Kit! I appreciate your honesty, life lessons and the way you tell a story. I was watching a formation of birds fly and I thought of you and that post about flanking one another! Love your writing and thank you for sharing this experience!

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  2. Okay, I havent even read the post, I just wanted you to know I get excited whenever I see theres a new topic up. Like Im seriously smiling right now. And it looks like a story!

    Going back to read...

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  3. Its hard at times to walk the right path, but it seems in those moments when our moral compass is being tested, the right solutions come to light.

    Like another commenter, I always love coming here because you keep it real and we live in a time where folks tend to shy away from being real.

    Sadly too often financial woes do suck us dry, Lord knows I am in the same boat. As I told the hubby if something don't change soon he may be busting coffee at Starbucks or something because sad to say our professional gigs simply are not bring in enough bacon. So I feel you.

    I lost my own Mama in 2004 and it seems that in my lowest points, I feel her presence giving me strength too.

    Blessings to you and your kids.

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  4. Black Girl In Maine, Thank you, and so true, it's the hard times that test us. Good luck to you and the spousal unit, as you love to call him. :)

    Dom, You're making me smile!

    C, Thank you so much for the feedback. And yeah, that's one of my favorite early posts, Welcome To The Suicide Club. Like geese, we lift each other.

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  5. Just finished the story! Praise God!

    Just goes to show you your parents always had your back! I guess Cassie will be getting a new pair of 23's?

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  6. Dom, I had to look up "23's". You know your shoes! Cassie mentioned they had to Jordans, and that's what those are. She'll get those today, just in time for her first pre-game tomorrow.

    I was told this morning it will probably be a month before they process these claims, but I can rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak, until then. I'm not going to go crazy with it either; too much job insecurity out there. And yeah, for all their imperfections and mine too, and through thick and thin, Mom and Dad had my back. Amen.

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  7. What a joy and a blessing. Congrats.

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  8. I have a younger brother so much like your son. My wife is a nurse and works with people with brain injuries. She asked me if he ever hurt his head real bad, and he did in a bycycle accident when he was 6. Did Xavier ever have a head injury?

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  9. Shelton, You asked, "Did Xavier ever have a head injury?"

    Not counting his head making friends with a windshield two years ago, his birth mother drank "a little beer" and smoked crack for several months while pregnant; she was luckily busted in a raid which kept her from doing further damage to him. I've worked with a lot of teens whose mothers used cocaine but not booze, and most of them were normal. The alcohol probably did far more harm to his developing brain than the cocaine.

    IQ wise, he has an odd mix of talents and problems; in some areas he scores higher than average, in others lower. The ADHD and moodiness might be genetic or the result of shitty foster care.

    Some of the company he keeps doesn't help either, nor does the poor role models he's seen on TV, from gangsta rappers to the President's pillage and burning of Iraq to the fellas who have raped the economy. Whether or not anyone dropped them on their heads or their mama's drank while pregnant is anyone's guess. ;)

    Shai, Thank you.

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  10. A fine post Kit. thanks. I always need to remember to keep an eye on the moral compass. . . right thinking and right actions.
    In my experience, if Xavier can stay out of jail and not blow his mind out with drugs in the next few years, he will be OK. He's got too much if you in him.

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  11. Whew, Kit! This touched me on so many levels. I'm sooo happy you were rewarded for not giving into the temptation of easy money. Talk about perfect timing.

    Miss Cassie will be just fine. It'll take some adjustment, but she'll be in the flow of juggling activities in no time (like you mentioned...she chose homework over tv...a sure sign of self-discipline).

    You're in my prayers. Much love!

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  12. wow kit. forget the job, i think you need to start working on your book, then publication, then movie deal, etc etc.

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  13. Hello KIT,

    You are truly a gifted writer...seriously. A lot of people blog but you have a gift of expression that should not be wasted.

    My daughter is diagnosed O.D.D. (oppositional defiant disorder) and prior to that it was ADHD so I know where you are coming from. I've had a similar experiences with my daughter stealing - she was picked up for shoplifting in the mall last year.

    We are still on a long, hard road to getting her on the right path.I feel overwhelmed at times but I will never give up on my daughter.

    Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in what I am dealing with her.

    If you have time, you can stop by my blog anytime...
    Amethyst

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  14. you are a truly TRULY amazing storyteller and i felt every damn word in this. i love your writing. i'm brand new here but imma be back fa sho.

    you are an inspiration for all the folk out there who look to justify doing something they know goes against who they are as soulful folk. it ain't never too late to learn or to long to remember.

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  15. Kit, I've seen your comments over at ABB's blog and have popped in a couple of times because I like the way you write -- I'm just not much of a commenter.

    I love the honesty in this post, and I wanted to bring up another reason that you can feel good about the decision not to keep those gift cards. Maybe the girl in question wasn't a rich white girl. Maybe she was in college on a combination of scholarships, grants, and loans, and was hanging on financially by the skin of her teeth because she knew how important a college education is and how lucky she is to have that opportunity.

    The gift cards could have had as little as ten bucks on them, all her parents or friends could afford. Perhaps that's why she was so upset about losing her pocketbook in the first place -- maybe it was all she had. Getting it back with the gift cards still inside would have rocked her world in a good way. :)

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  16. Spring, Thank you, and you're right about the girl - I certainly can't rule out that she could be financially struggling too. As soon as my son gets a job again, he'll be mailing the her via her school an anonymous money order for those chicken dinners.

    Amethyst, My son went through that progression too, and worse as a teen with the drug and alcohol abuse which exacerbated moodiness. These kinds of special needs children are extremely difficult to parent, and parents are generally very embarrassed to talk about it. If more did, people would understand how common and brutal the problem is. I hope you can find a support group now; they usually fall under AA/NA/CODA groups. I'll check out your blog asap too.

    Curvy Girl, Yeah, the timing was perfect, and Cassie looked fantastic this morning in her new kicks. She ended up getting picking out a banging pair of Reeboks last night.

    Sagacious, Thank you so much, as I know you had a turbulent youth but came out fine. I read your comment to Xavier. He loved it.

    Nikki, Torrance, Emeritus , Thank you for the kudos on my writing. The people closest to me dissed my style and two fiction stories I was writing so badly in 2006 and 2007 that I shelved it and began blogging this past May. This blog might be what saves my confidence to finish them. I hope so... I pray so. I ain't Jesus by a long shot, but every now and then I think of how He had to leave town to spread his message.

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  17. This was awesome. I have chills . I felt like I was right there when you were getting into Xavier's ass. Quick rewards for making the right choices are so great.

    " I thought of how financial worries suck me dry of creativity, but I accomplished some things as a parent."

    This speaks to me so loudly. Did you tell the kids about what you found? Wouldn't it be cool to just surprise them with the bomb digity xmas. Did I just say that, LOL?

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  18. Gotta get them J's, yessir. Love the fam.

    *********************

    Comment posted on the field negro site:
    Man, my buddy KIT (keep it trill) sent me to this page and I gotta tell you, I appreciate this article from the bottom of my heart. I'm not an Eagles fan, I'm a Mac-5 fan. I'd run thru a brick wall for Donovan. Real Talk. He's been my favorite player in the league since he got there, since Syracuse, since I found out he was raw as hell in both bball and football, and he was a mama's boy. That's just my dude.

    Donovan's been a top-5, MVP QB, with NO RECEIVERS. The fact that Desean Jackson is the 2nd best receiver Don's ever had tells how good DJ10 is but how bad the WR's have been in Philly. I dunno if its a racial thing, I'd like to say no, because the patron saint of Philly, Mr. Mike Schmidt, got the royal treatment many times too.

    The thing is, if McNabb left, Philly would be sick. I hope he leaves, just not for the Cowboys. FCUK DALLAS...

    Articles I've written on "Five"
    http://www.edthesportsfan.com/2008/08/donovan-mcnabb-mr-unappreciated.html
    http://www.edthesportsfan.com/2008/09/will-someone-get-donovan-mcnabb-some.html

    -Ed.
    www.edthesportsfan.com

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  19. KIT. There is a website that works with Typepad (I'd have to check for blogger) that allows you to turn your blog into a book. You can order one or more copy for yourself and you can publicize your book and others can buy.

    The books can be paperback, hardcover (photo wrap), or hardcover with jacket.

    You can also draft a book from scratch (without importing from your blog). I'm gonna do a photo anthology of my parents' lives.

    I'll get back to you with the site info.

    BTW, I mention this because I'd buy a book authored by the great KIT! Your writing is fantastic, and you have a life of stories (and insight) worth reading.

    Hawa, author of
    Fackin Truth Blog (Personal Blog)
    and
    Cleanse Master Remix (Health Blog)

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  20. Oh wow. This was just beautiful. And SO what I needed to read today. How do you always do that?! lol

    You're SO right; it's easy to walk the straight and narrow when everything is going well. But the true test of your character is who you are when things are bleak. Xavier has good reason to be proud of you. I am!!!

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  21. La Thanks, and so true.

    Hawa, Thanks for the tip. I'm still checking out typepad but haven't found "the website that works with this." If you do (no rush) email me please with the info when you get a chance.

    Ed The Sports Fan, She turned down the "J's" and preferred the Reeboks. Same price. Go figure.

    Glad you enjoyed that sports article on "Five". Heh-heh, and I knew your opinion would be interesting, too. Thanks.

    Real Hustla, Yeah, gotta stay vigilant of my little manchild; it's like being two parents and needing four eyes and ears.

    You asked if I told them. Yes. They were shocked. I told them not to get any big spending ideas because it was to pull us through and have a little reserve until I start working for an agency again (got my fingers crossed). It's weird... I was doing so good this year but unexpected bills, car repairs, an increased cost of everything and decreased income put me at an all-time low. Well... I'm in good company, and they're learning the value of a buck. Can't beat that.

    Also - been listening to one my favorites: Sam Cooke, He'll Make A Way. If you haven't heard it, it'll move ya.

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  22. God is still good.

    And the church said:

    "All the time."

    It takes a lot of faith and determination to stay honest. I fail sometimes, I succeed other times. Thanks for sharing this story of your success.

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  23. You could just raise her like the Wingnuts raise their kids-

    "Studying? What fer ya need ta study? Ya wanna grow up 'n be a sissy school girl?"

    Excellent post, per usual, Kit.

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  24. MacDaddy, You said, "Thanks for sharing this story of your success."

    You ain't slick, Mac. Sounds like a challenge. ;)

    Fairlane, The funny thing about my daughter is I have never once had to tell her to do her homework. This time I only needed to convince her she could juggle it with ball.

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  25. Your writing is so great. I love your blog entries. Your daughter sounds like a great girl.

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  26. Much Love Kit!
    U in my prayers!
    Jaycee

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  27. Kit, you should be proud because you are such a good mom. You are also a masterful storyteller. When you talked of smelling your mom's aroma, I lost it. Not only that you found what you needed and it was from your parents after all this time but that you had that beautiful connection of her smell. I lost my mom a year ago next month and it is all still so fresh.

    Best of all!
    Congrats to Cassie!!! WOOHOO!!! for being an honor student and Wohoo! for BBall! and Woohoo! for keeping Xavier honest! Yayyyyyy Cassie!!!!!!!!!!!

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  28. @ KIT
    don't hold back because of something someone close to you said. ppl always ask me if i model but my sister looks at me and says 'sorry girl but i don't see what anyone sees.' lmao.

    it's not so much your style but the genre it will be placed under that's my difficulty. i love reading your stuff but i'm still trying to find a place for it in my mental bookshelf. but not to worry, a good editor will tailor it to something (unfortunately the literary world doesn't believe anyone can create a new genre anymore).

    i don't know if it was you that told me that the author of the harry potter books took her book to EVERY publishing company in either both the UK and US or just the UK until the last one, Scholastic took her.

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  29. Kit,

    I'm coming in late, but I am so glad I read this. Wow. Just wow! Its so beautiful I don't have words.


    ==================
    Would you consider life coaching? That is probably also effected by the economy...

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  30. Miriam, Thank you, and nah, no one is ever too late leave a comment on my blog. I wish I knew how to rid the dates from my personal essays since they're timeless, but keep them on the political ones. Glad you liked this.

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  31. I love love love your blog! I always get something out of your posts.

    I've been tempted these past couple of weeks to be dishonest, but I've decided to do what I know is right. I just thank God for my morals...I know I'll see the rewards in the end.

    Good job :)

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  32. Thank you, Mimi. I appreciate it when readers take the time to comment on older posts. As to what you said about yourself, good job!

    Temptation is a monster carrot on a stick. Seems like the times you get away with stuff just sets you up for the time you won't, or cheats you out of something better.

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  33. Kit, I'm way late on this, been saving it for when I have time--your posts are usually long, but so worthwhile. This one's no disappointment! Great story, especially because it reminds me not only of the effect we can have on our kids, but the opposite too.

    I once found a wallet in the street (I really did just find it) that had--wow--$900 in it. In cash.

    I took it back home, and the gaggle of young kids in the house (some of whom were visiting) could tell something was up. I thought about counting the money in another room, not having decided yet if I could really return THAT much to its rightful owner, instead of keeping it. Hell, I thought, I could buy a lot of nice stuff for these kids and still have a lot left over.

    But then, seeing their young faces set my moral compass back to truth North (or whatever direction works here). I spread the wallet open in front of them, and as their eyes popped, we counted it together--$916! I asked them what we should do with the money, and the fact that I was asking made them realize what the right answer was.

    I used IDs in the wallet to get on the phone with the owner, who was of course very grateful, not only to get the money back, but also, he said, because I had suddenly "restored his faith in humanity." He didn't give me a reward, but instead, dinner at a nice restaurant.

    I was glad to set an example for the kids, but I was also glad that they'd helped me do the right thing.

    Thanks for bringing me back to that day with your wonderful post.

    And finally, best of luck to you in the incredibly tough job market.

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  34. Great story, Macon! I loved it. It's much harder doing wrong in front of kids... maybe because they're a little closer to Heaven.

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  35. Just read this. Loved it, especially the spirit world tugging at you. Thank you for sharing it.

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Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

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