What price would you place on hope?” By Bob Perks It was preview day at the fair. In the many years that I have been going to the Bloomsburg Fair, I have never attended it on preview day.
It’s the Friday before the official opening most of the vendors are open, there was entertainment, but some of the exhibit buildings were closed.
I would have gone on preview day if there was only one food stand and a man playing harmonica.
That’s how much I love that fair.
They cancelled the fair last year because of flooding. It was the first time they ever cancelled it in it’s 157 year history.
It was early in the day. My expectations of huge crowds waiting at the gate was both disappointing and pleasing. I thought everyone would be as anxious as I was, but having a small crowd was a pleasure. There were no long lines, plenty of parking and I got to meet the most remarkable couple.
Well, they had no choice. I just had to talk to them. I knew there was a story there to discover.
We entered one of the dinner stands where the roof is a huge tent, the floor is grassy, the handmade counter top is narrow and breakfast is served all day long.
There was one man at the end of our counter who was taking advantage of the all-you-can-eat pancakes special.
“Would you like three more?” The server asked.
“Might as well!” He answered each time.
We had placed our order and as our drinks arrived so did an older couple that sat almost opposite us.
“We’ll have two burgers,” the woman said as she settled in.
“Would you like fries?” The server asked.
“Yes, please,” the man replied.
“He doesn’t know it but I’ll have some of his,” the woman added pretending to whisper so he wouldn’t hear her.
“A man can never have his own fries!” I said.
He agreed and added, “It’s been that way all our married life,” he replied.
We all laughed and a peaceful quiet made waiting for our meal a pleasure. Any other day at the fair is noisy, crowded and a bit overwhelming.
“We’ve shared fries for 62 years,” the man said suddenly.
I was stunned. They have been married for as long as I’ve been alive.
“That’s remarkable!” I told them.
They both sat there proud as could be basking in the sun light that peeked under the tent covering.
“You know, we have never had an argument,” he added.
Okay, now this was even more remarkable.
“Never?” I asked.
They shook their heads confirming the fact.
“How do you do that?” I asked.
“When something comes up we just discuss it and come to an agreement,” she said.
“Wow! Good for you,” I said.
Married 62 years and they never argue.
But wait, it gets better.
“I’m 82 years old and I don’t take any medications neither!”
Now I just wanted to take them home and hear the rest of this remarkable story.
Imagine if I hadn’t spoken to them. I tell you all the time to speak to people around you. I have never been disappointed.
We didn’t have to pay for parking today and because we were so early we got in for free. I took that money, walked over to our waitress and asked for their check.
“This one is on me!” I told them.
“God gives me many gifts each day and always at least one person. You two were my gift for today,” I said.
For less than $10 I was blessed beyond measure. They gave me hope in return.
Everyone has a story to tell. There’s so much to learn from each other, too. You don’t have to spend a dime to just say “Hello.” It just might change your life.
What price would you place on hope?