Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Stand Up and Be Counted

"The king was in his counting house . . ."

In the winter of 1085, King William ordered his servants to travel all over England and find out what he owned. It took them a year. Visiting each shire, village, farm and castle, they counted everything. They went back to the king and told him how many people lived in England (two million) and how many sheep, cows, horses, ploughs, pigs, fishponds and haystacks were in his kingdom. It was all written down in The Domesday Book, which still exists today.

The Domesday Book

The census form I filled out didn't ask anything about my fishponds or haystacks, but at least I got counted. I don't want to just be counted. I want to count.

I was standing at a Dillards counter behind a woman waiting to buy a skirt. A cashier was helping a teenage girl who had decided on a dress. She asked if she could put it on hold for a few days. "I can't hold anything longer than 24 hours," the sales lady said. The girl seemed very disappointed and explained that she didn't get paid until Friday, so she wouldn't be able to buy the dress.

Just then the woman in front of me spoke up. "I'll buy it for you." We all looked at her in surprise, as she said again, "Let me buy it for you." The girl quickly said, "Oh, no! I couldn't let you do that!" The woman said, "Please. I had a daughter about your age who was killed in a car accident last year. I'd love to buy her a dress. Let me do it for you."

The sales lady and I both had tears in our eyes as the girl hugged her new friend. It was such a sweet act, so unexpected and kind. She counted.

Other people can be counted on. Last fall Dee had a heart attack. After an extremely stressful day, the doctors assured me he'd be OK, so I drove home to have my break down in private. I had one before I got there.


I was sitting in the left turn lane of a busy downtown street and the car died. Died. I guess death was after someone that day and settled for the car. It just conked out. It took me a few seconds to find the blinker lights, as people roared up behind me, honked like crazy, and yelled at me. Two guys even flipped me off!

I sat there, close to tears, wondering what to do. I couldn't call Dee for advice—he deserved that much of a break. My sons had definitely done their duty, tending kids, worrying all day, and visiting the hospital. But I ended up calling my son.

There were a number of strange types around while I sat there waiting in the dark, blocking traffic. Suddenly two guys knocked on my window. I assumed I was being car-jacked (it didn't occur to me that people don't car-jack cars that don't work.) They motioned that they'd push me out of the intersection. A couple of minutes later another scary looking but helpful man pushed me into a vacant parking spot. (Don't judge guys by their tattooed necks and pierced eyebrows.)

Pete arrived, and worked under the hood with jumper cables for a while, then crawled under his truck and my car, hooked us together, and towed me to a car repair place. There are people all around that I count on.


I admire those who have the courage to stand up and be counted. Abigail, a new mother, was a speaker at her law school graduation. She said,

"I look at the opportunities that it appears I have missed out on, but when I look down at my two-month-old daughter sleeping in my arms I am struck with the realization that there is nowhere in the world that I would rather be at this moment.

"I have already started my full-time post-graduate employment as a stay-at-home wife and mother. While this is not a typical job for a recent law school graduate in today's world, I can't think of a better use for my fine education than to apply it as I love and serve my family."
This is a woman who stands for something.
She'll make a difference—you can count on it.


~Write a paragraph that starts: "I can always count on________"


Jennifer said...

When I think of all the times that I have bailed out my kid - picking him up when his car has broken down, giving him rides to work, loaning him money for gas (and of course, the whole raising him bit) it is nice to think that someday I might be able to call on him for assistance in turn. :) What a great son you have!

MommyJ said...

This post made me smile. I love that goodness exists everywhere. Sometimes we have to look for it, and sometimes it just settles around us, reminding us that the world really is full of lovely people.

Here because my sister, Inkmom, speaks so highly of you.

Mrs. Organic said...

What a wonderful gift to be there when she offered to buy her dress. I love seeing the good in people (and there really is so much good in people).

Do you know the people who've always helped me with car troubles have been the tattoed/pierced type? Once a man helped me with an overheated radiator in the absolute dark of an apple-packing plant parking lot. He said "Never open a hot radiator," and then he held up his hand (which was missing several joints) as his proof. He was such a nice man and my first instinct had been to be frightened of him!

Tiffany said...

This made me tearfully happy. Thanks!

Kay Dennison said...

A touching post!

Sheri said...

Another remarkable lesson.

I can count on Marty to cheer me, teach me and set an example.

Alisha Stamper | Photographer said...

oooh! I enjoyed this post immensely! you're fantastic!

Gus said...

Personally I want to tell you that just go through the Domesday Book so that will give you partial prediction.

Katie H said...

I love this. Thank you for sharing these experiences.