I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Long Pit Stop

Photo: U.S. Army
It was supposed to be the equivalent of an average NASCAR pit stop – 14 seconds. My plan this morning was to be in and out of Dollar Tree in a minute or less with a box of the pink stuff for my coffee and a three litter bottle of pop.

The round trip should take 12 minutes or less. I would be at my desk with a steaming cup of coffee, complete with the pink stuff, in 15 minutes.

Knowing exactly where both items were located in the store, I found them easily and got in the check out line behind a woman and her little boy.

Uh oh, this doesn’t look good. The clerk looks confused.

“Ma’am, this table cloth is ringing up as one cent and it should be a dollar. I’m going to have to get my manager.”

He walks toward her office, but she can’t be bothered. “Ring it up as a $1.00 miscellaneous item,” she says through the door.

He tries it. This time it rings up as a quarter.

Another clerk comes over to try to help him. And then another. And another. And another. And another. And another. Seven people are now trying to figure out what to do. Nobody thinks to open another register to check me out. I ask one of them to do so and he says he’s not open.

Okay, I might as well settle in. This is going to be a while.

The seven people discuss the possible problem. Maybe he hit the wrong key? Maybe it was entered in the computer incorrectly? Another clerk says it happened to her yesterday too. Finally the manager leaves her office and tells all the other clerks that the item must be on recall and they can’t sell it.

“Maybe you can choose another color,” the manager says to the woman.

“But I don’t want another color. I want this color.”

At this point I don’t want this store. I want another one.

“But I can’t sell you this color. It has been recalled.”

Funny how definitive she is about the recall at this point.

“Well, what are you going to do with them? Throw them out? If so, I’ll take them.”

This is one determined customer. How could I not laugh? My one minute pit stop has now turned into ten minutes and there appears to be no end in sight. I now know what Greg Biffle feels like when the gas man cannot get the can lined up with the car and his stop takes much longer than anticipated.

“Ma’am, we have to return the table cloths to the manufacturer. It’s a recall.”

She sighs and then decides she wants the red table cloths that are not on recall. And the clerk plans to wait for her to return before ringing me up. Thankfully, the manager intervenes.

“Ring up your customer,” the manager says to him.

“That’ll be $2.00.”

I can’t tell you how happy I was that he didn’t say two cents.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Ones Nobody Else Wants

I’ve been reading The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. It’s rich with courage, faith and heartache – here’s one such scene.

Eusie was a man who had obvious Jewish features, according to ten Boom. So, for him, finding a hiding place wasn’t all that easy. The razzia (German police) would easily identify and arrest him if they saw him. Nobody wanted to take a chance with him in their home. But the ten Boom’s took him into their Holland home, the Beje. And when it came time to find a hiding place for another hard to place person, Eusie was the first one to come to her defense.

Mary Itallie, a 76-year-old woman with a severe case of asthma, showed up at the Beje one day. She couldn’t find a place to hide because her wheezing would give her away if the razzia showed up. That meant trouble for everyone in the house. The nine people who were already staying in the Beje gathered to consider taking Mary in.

Here’s what happened next:
“There is no sense in pretending,” [Corrie] began. “Mary has a difficulty – especially after climbing stairs – that could put you all in danger.”

In the silence that followed, Mary’s labored breathing seemed especially loud.

“Can I speak?” Eusie asked.

“Of course.”

“It seems to me that we’re all here in your house because of some difficulty or other. We’re the orphan children– the ones nobody else wanted. Any one of us is jeopardizing all the others. I vote that Mary stay.”
They put it to a secret ballot.

All nine people voted in favor of Mary staying.

Most of us will never have to endure the type of pressure these ten people (including Mary) were under. In a free and open society, we can choose to be a host family to orphan children without fear of repercussion. I don’t just mean in the literal sense, although adoption is a beautiful thing.

Instead I’m talking about a lifestyle – inviting the lonely to dinner, approaching the loner at church, putting a hand on an elderly man’s shoulder who may not remember the last time someone touched him, really listening to that eccentric aunt everyone else avoids during Christmas dinner.

All of us could be more intentional this way, couldn’t we?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#73 Writing for the Sake of It

Photo: H. Michael Karshis
Continuing with the 100 life-enriching little nuances series …

Personality blogs don’t make a lot of sense for professional writers. Exceptions do exist, but topical blogs are far more popular. A quick look at the Technorati Top 100 blogs list will confirm that. Only Dooce.com cracks that list on any given day. This is why I tell professional writers who are just jumping into the blogosphere to write a topical blog, or, if they insist writing a personality blog, then limit the topics to one theme.

Little Nuances is a personality blog. I didn’t know that when I started it in 2005, but that’s what it is. And I’m okay with that. This has become my place to write about things I care about for the mere sake of it. It allows me to scratch an itch I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach. And no matter how many books or articles I write, I’m always going to want the freedom to write about topics I cover here. I don’t know if this will always be the right medium, but it’s a good fit right now.

Ever since I was old enough to write, I have written for the sake of it. When I was young, I used my dad’s typewriter in his office to type newspaper columns and liner notes from albums. In my teen years I wrote poems and songs. In my twenties, I journaled. In my thirties, I began writing personal experience articles for publication. Now I have Little Nuances.

Little Nuances isn’t a consolation prize. It’s a labor of love. I’m always amazed and privileged when someone tells me they’ve read something here that means something to them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Random Acts of Culture

A friend told me to go to YouTube and type in, "Random Acts of Culture." Here's what I found:


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