Northwest Adventures | Published Restaurant Reviews in The Suburban Times
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Jessie, loved shopping at Walmart. He knew he could shop online and perhaps save a few dollars, but he liked being able to not only look, but touch and feel; to turn things over in his hands as well as his mind. He loved re-imaging products.
Jessie's habit of pretending sometimes produced interesting presents for his brothers and sisters. It also produced strange looks from time to time, but at least they remembered what he gave them. His favorite family gift was from Dollar Tree. He bought six flashlights and Velcro tape. He pasted down a strip just behind the headboard of each sibling's bed; he fixed a small Velcro strip to the flashlight and attached it out of sight there. He did the same for the other kids and his mom. For his dad he attached his flashlight behind the computer/modem/printer and hard drives. He had heard his father muttering that, even in bright daylight, he was unable to see the connectors in the semi darkness behind his desk. Christmas morning Jesse gave everyone their own map to follow to find their treasure. They all loved the adventure and the gift. Not a bad bunch of presents for a little over seven dollars. When they lost power in a January storm everyone was thrilled to have a light to read books by until the electricity was restored.
While riding his bike to Walmart he let his mind run wild; however, he kept reminding himself, "Keep things simple". He passed a man with a shopping cart and thought, "Homeless." As he locked his bike to the shopping cart return at the Walmart parking lot, his mind returned to the man with the shopping cart. He shrugged the image away and walked into Walmart. He was greeted and asked if he was looking for anything in particular. He just laughed, and said, "When I see it, I'll know it." He visited the toy section, the bike row, and household appliances. His mind wasn't re-imagining, it was still seeing the homeless man with his shopping cart. It wasn't even a Walmart shopping cart.
Present dreaming came to an abrupt halt a few minutes later when he stopped directly in front of a box of fleece blankets for $2.50 each. Jessie's homeless guy was dressed for cold weather, and he had two or three blankets in the shopping cart. Jessie closed his eyes and pictured the man. "He may be prepared for a cold night, but there are probably other people that would love to have a fleece blanket." Jessie bought four blankets with the money he had in his pocket. His mind raced as he pedaled his bike back home. He knew he had a good idea. "Now," he thought, "how can I buy more fleece blankets and make this bigger?"
Jessie talked with his sister and brothers as well as his parents. They checked with other organizations in the community to see what was being done for the winter holiday season. He found that other people were worried as he was. A friend remarked, "My neighbor keeps his thermostat well below sixty all the time because he can't afford to turn it up. I'd be embarrassed to ask, but I bet his family could use a warm blanket or two. I just know there must be others just like him and his family."
With his own family and the neighborhood buying into the project, Jessie forged ahead and included members of their church as well. They found a group that was working on the same problem. FreezingNights in Puyallup was happy to distribute all the blankets that could be donated. Freezing Nights is a Christian ministry that provides food and shelter to the homeless in the Puyallup area during the coldest winter months of the year.
Jessie and his family couldn't help everyone, but they felt happy knowing that they were able to collect and distribute 165 fleece blankets a week before Christmas. Jesse and his family and friends put their time, effort and money into helping those who needed it. It was a simple, easy, and inexpensive project that met a real need.
On Christmas, after all the gifts have been opened and shared, Jessie opened an envelope and inside was a $50 bill. He pulled it out and saw his mother smiling. She said, "I want you to visit Walmart again and just let your imagination run wild." Jessie nodded. In his mind he was already half-way there.
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Pacific Northwest Adventures and Vacations
If you come to Tacoma, you have to see: Chinese Reconciliation Park, Ruston Way, Point Defiance, TAM (Tacoma Art Museum), Tacoma Narrow's Bridge, America's Car Museum (LeMay Museum), and our Museum of Glass. If you come to Seattle, you have to see: Pike Place Market with the flying salmon, the Wing Luke Museum, Pioneer Square, the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and Volunteer Park. The list goes on and on . . . well, you get the idea . . . come to our Pacific Northwest for any number of reasons . . . come to visit or come to stay . . . you will be welcome.
Published Dining Adventures from The Suburban Times
Sharing the Warmth - A short story about homelessness.