I left the stand smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forget 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, I learned that Brother Miller had died.
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They were having his viewing that evening and as 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. They looked very professional looking.
They approached Mrs. Miller who was smiling and standing 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 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. She took my hand with glistening eyes and led me to the casket.
"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" with them. Now, at last, when Jim could not
change his mind about the colour or size of the marbles, they
came to pay their debt.”
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With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny, red marbles.
By W. E. Petersen
The Marble Trader Part 1 | 2
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