Gratitude for Marbles

Here is yet another wonderful story of gratitude that I found while reading through some materials. Unfortunately, I do not know who the author is. It certainly is a nice story! I hope you enjoy it!

One particular day Brother Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas. I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Brother Miller and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”

“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admiring them peas – sure look good.”

“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”

“Good. Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir. Jus’ admiring them peas.”

“Would you like to take some peas home?”

“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”

“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”

“All I got’s my prize aggie (marble) – best taw around here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.”

“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”

“I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”

“Not ‘zackley – but, almost.”

“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red taw.”

“Sure will! Thanks, Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said: “There are two other boys like him in our community — all three are in very poor circumstances.

Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their red marble, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he send them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps. They would all be grateful as they went back home to get the other marble.”

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot the story of this man and the boys – and their bartering for peas for their taw marbles.

Several years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was here learned that Brother Miller had died. They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them.

Upon our arrival at the mortuary we fell into the line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore short haircuts, dark suits and white shirts obviously potential or returned Mormon missionaries.

They approached Sister Miller, standing smiling and composed, by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as one by one each your man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping their eyes.

Our turn came to meet Sister Miller. I told her who I was and mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket.

“This is an amazing coincidence,” she said. “Those three young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size… they came to pay their debt.”

“We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she confided, “but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho. He would be filled with gratitude.”

With loving gentleness she lifted him lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles.

– Author Unknown.

The right thing to do is not always the easiest thing to do. There may be some struggles. There may be some difficulties. In the end, you will be happy that you did the right thing. If you are ever unsure of what to do, close your eyes, take a deep breath, be still for just a little while, and the answer will come to you. In the stillness, all answers appear.

We like to cloudy up the process by over thinking a situation. We tend to make things a bit harder on ourselves. I know I do! I am playing a constant game of chess – trying to think 5 moves ahead of myself. Instead, I need to ‘just be.’ I need to center myself. I need not tune out, but rather I need to tune in. I need to tune in to myself.

And when I express my gratitude and tune inwards, I will find the answers.

Be Well.
The Gratitude Guru


  1. Menka on October 14, 2010 at 7:09 am

    It is a wonderful, lovely story. Thanks.

  2. Ken Montville on October 15, 2010 at 9:32 am

    This was a very sweet story. The last couple of paragraphs (after the story’s end) were poignant, as well. I over think a lot of things myself and, what’s worse, is that I tend to visualize a negative outcome. Sometime I need to overcome.

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