I took my son to a craft show at a local high school today.
It’s been such a dreary day and while I was tempted to crawl under my blanket and stay there, I know it’ll only make things worse, so I thought a holiday craft show would liven things up a little.
We got there and really did enjoy it. There were about 40 vendors and several things I haven’t seen before, including an adorable crocheted “Don’t Care Bear” (my personal favorite) with a wine glass on his belly.
One of the last booths we visited was a vendor called JJ’s Sweets. She had many tasty things to choose from, but when I saw the hard tack candy, my heart stopped for a moment, and I knew I had to get a bag.
I took my bag of cinnamon goodness to cash out, and I explained to the owner that my mom made hard tack every year for Christmas, but she had passed away in January, so this would have been my first Christmas without it and I was so happy to have this little piece of her. At this point I was already choking up, but when she told me she couldn’t accept credit cards I was devastated because I didn’t have any more cash. As I frantically dug through my change to try and come up with the five dollars, I broke down when I realized I only had about $3.50.
I looked up with tears in my eyes to see the owner coming around the table. “Put your change away,” she told me, and wrapped me in a hug.
“I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent,” she explained, “but I have lost two children.”
“I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine,” I told her. “As bad as this hurts, that’s the only thing that would be worse.”
“Yes,” she said, “but if I hadn’t had my parents, I don’t know how I would have made it through. So you take your bag of candy, and call me if you need more,” she told me, handing me a business card.
I hugged her again, tears streaming down my face, and thanked her for her generosity.
It’s the little things, people. Little acts of kindness. Something small, like a little bag of a special candy, can mean the absolute world for someone. I cried all the way to my car, clutching my hard tack to my chest like a lifeline. Because even though it’s just candy… it’s also so much more than that.
So thank you to that wonderful woman. Thank you for seeing my pain, and despite your own, doing a little something to make it just a tiny, tiny bit easier.