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During the waning years of the depression in a small southeastern Idaho community, 
I used to stop by Mr. Miller's roadside stand for farm-fresh produce as the season 
made it available. Food and money were still extremely scarce and bartering was used, 

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some early potatoes for me. I noticed a 
small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged  but clean, hungrily apprising 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 Mr. Miller and the ragged 
boy next to me.

"Hello Barry, how are you today?"

"H'lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank  ya. Jus' admirin' them peas ... sure look good."

"They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?"

"Fine. Gittin' stronger alla'  time."

"Good. Anything I can help  you with?"

"No, Sir. Jus'  admirin' them peas."

"Would you  like to take some 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  marble 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 marble."

"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 marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and 
he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, perhaps."
I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with this man.

A short time later I moved to Colorado but I never  forgot the story of this man, the boys and 
their bartering. 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 there learned 
that Mr. 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 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 nice haircuts, dark  suits and white shirts ... very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. 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 young man stopped
Briefly and placed his  own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the 
mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet  Mrs. 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. "Those  
three young men, who 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."
With loving gentleness she lifted the  lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting  
underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles.

Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured 
by the breaths we take, but by the  moments that take our breath.

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