Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Slushie from a Stranger

“Remember me?” he asked. The biker in yellow reflective jacket parked his bike at the end of the driveway, and started towards me. 

“Hi, I do.” I grinned amicably to the older gentleman behind me. I first met Carl the Can Man a few weeks ago—then too I was prying stubborn weeds from between my driveway’s stone pavers. That day, he had pointed to a can protruding from the recycling bin behind me. “Can I have that can?” he asked. 

“Sure,” I stammered, taken aback by a stranger marching up my walkway. 

Striding to me, he placed a business card in my hand. “Carl the Can Man,” it read with an address and phone number as well. 

“Nice business cards,” I told him, smiling. 

“My wife ordered these as a birthday present for me,” he replied. All business, he reached into my bin, retrieved the can, and headed back to the street. We spoke for a few more minutes while I introduced myself and asked him more about himself, and then he pedaled away, the yellow jacket bouncing sunshine as he disappeared down the road. 

Today, he stood at the foot of my driveway, asking if I remembered him. Yes, I did. Turning to look behind me, I scanned my recycle bin for any visible cans. 

“I don’t think I have any cans for you though today. Sorry.” I swiveled back to face him, expecting to see him. Instead he had walked up behind me already and was setting something down on the asphalt near me. A tall red gas station slushie stood beside my dusty metal trowel. 

“That’s for me?!” 

“Yep.” With no further explanation, he hopped on his bike, picked up his own gas station cardboard coffee, and steadied his bike.

“Wow, thank you. That's really sweet of you.” I picked up the plastic cup, felt the fresh chill of it hitting my fingers, and turned to look at him as he biked away. 

Food from a stranger. Childhood and parental warnings raced through my head, and yet I couldn’t discern any possible motive for danger. Three and a half hours of heavy weeding and landscaping had passed in a flash for me, while bikers and cars hummed forgotten behind me. Suddenly, it was 6:45 pm, a stranger had handed me a slushie and it was time for me to go inside and make a fast supper.

Grabbing the cherry slushie, I laughed, called Daniel in, and put the tools away, all while wondering, “Food from a stranger… to drink or not to drink…?”

What do you think I did? What would you have done?

Hi, friends. I enjoy sharing life with you, and always love hearing from you.  If you are reading this from an email and wish to join the conversation, click here.

How have you been enjoying your August weekend? 


Denise D. said...

That's cool!! You probably shared with your kids!! :) Been doing laundry all day here after our trip.

Mary Krueger said...

A few years ago (after a polite conversation in front of a Walmart) a man hand me a chocolate candy bar saying, "Here, chocolate for you!"

I smiled big, stared at my wrapped candy bar for about 1 minute and then prompty ate it...

LOLITA said...

He was so thoughtful and I think he likes to build friendship and welcomed you in the neighborhood.

Just like how you knocked before on different door bringing your cookies and introduced yourself around.

One think else, you now have a silent agreement to save your cans so that he can collect them for him.

Anyway, if it was me, I would be evaluating his character and will decide from it. And that was so cool-thirst-quenching to ignore.

Houseofmills said...

I was thinking the same thing as Lolita. The neighbors were probably thinking the same thing. Should I eat these cookies...hahahha
I think I would of taken a big drink and if still alive a half hour later finish it. hahahah

cabinart said...

What a sweet gesture from a thoughtful guy. I wouldn't have drunk it because I prefer to chew my calories. But, I might have had just a taste. . .

Unknown said...

I think I would have drank it and believed it was a little wink from God. After all, that's why we pray before we eat, right? To bless the food... :)

Pam said...

Wow... I don't know. I think I'd have to have seen him in person to make that call. Pray and ask wisdom... (pour a little on a plant and see what happened? :) Just being silly...) It just seems so sad that we have to wonder, doesn't it? But even as a kid, I remember my mom telling me not to eat from strangers too, and we had to throw away anything homemade at Halloween. BTW... what DID you do? :)

AmyAlves said...

What a spontaneous post I'm sure... unexpected! I wonder what God will do next sister? ;) ~ Blessings out, Amy

Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi Denise,

My laundry pile stacks high too. :)Thanks for joining in the discussion.


Jennifer Dougan said...


What great insight you had! I wouldn't have noticed a silent agreement to save cans. Hmmm....


Jennifer Dougan said...


Yes, (laughing) I'm sure my neighbors were having that very same discussion too.


Jennifer Dougan said...


"Chewing your calories" -- that's a unique way of putting it. Does chocolate fall into that category?

I found it to be sweet too.


Jennifer Dougan said...


I'll look at praying before food in a whole new way now. ;)


Jennifer Dougan said...


I understand that very same waffling and deliberating. I did that too. I laughed at your "pour a little on a plant" idea. That was cute. :)

Thanks for joining the discussion. Have a great week.


Jennifer Dougan said...

Hello Amy,

Thanks for chatting with me. We have been enjoying getting to know more of our neighbors and community too.

have a great week.