ValueSpeak
A Weekly Column
By Joseph Walker

THE POWER OF LOVE

By any standard of measurement, David was a powerful man.

Tall, handsome and dignified, he cut an imposing figure, even in his declining years. He was widely known and greatly respected by his peers and others in the community. As the head of a large organization, he was surrounded by people who were prepared to respond to his every whim.

Because of the prominence of his position and the value of his time, he didn't have to do anything that he didn't want to do, or that wasn't a high priority to him.

Which is why it seemed a little unusual to those who worked in the small downtown market to see this great man, slowed and bent by the years, shuffling in to shop.

"Doesn't he have people to do this sort of thing for him?" a clerk asked the store manager.

"Of course he does," the manager whispered. "He has people who have people who have people to do this sort of thing for him."

They watched as David moved slowly, deliberately, toward the produce section.

"Then what's he doing here?" the clerk asked.

"I don't know," the manager said, a little nervously. "But whatever it is, it must be VERY important."

David paused at the produce section, looking at the surprisingly expansive display of fresh fruits and vegetables. At last his eyes settled on a big bin of large, shiny red apples. He picked up the apples one by one, examining each closely, twisting and turning it in the sunlight to expose any defect or flaw. Over the course of several minutes he must have inspected two dozen apples or so until at last he settle on one that looked absolutely perfect - perfectly sized, perfectly shaped, perfectly colored, perfectly ripe.

"Perfect!" he said to himself, smiling broadly.

He tucked the apple securely in his hand and made his way back up the aisle to the cash register, where the manager stepped in front of the clerk.

"There will be no charge for that, sir," the manager said when David presented the apple for purchase. "You may have it, with our compliments."

David shook his head.

"Thank you, sir," he said kindly. "But I insist. Please allow me to pay for this beautiful apple."

Hesitantly, the manager rang up the charge for the apple, and placed it carefully in a brown paper bag. He took David's money, and handed the bag to him.

"Thank you," David said, holding the bag as one might hold a package of diamonds. "Emma will love this!"

Emma?

Of course - Emma. The love of David's life. His sweetheart of more than 50 years. It was said that in all their time together, they had never once had an argument. And now, a clerk and a manager at a small downtown market understood why. It was a matter of priority. It was a matter of sensitivity. It was a matter of purpose. And clearly, it was a matter of power.

The power of love.

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--- © Joseph Walker

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Look for Joe's book, "How Can You Mend a Broken Spleen? Home Remedies for an Ailing World." It is available on-line through www.Amazon.com.