The house smelled absolutely amazing. An apple pie sat in the oven baking almost ready for devouring. As I walked in I could smell the spices and crust as it was almost ready. It was one of those moments that took you back to your childhood and yet I was a child. Everything was just aligned with the stars. The pie made everything good.
And then she said four words that sounded like a train wreck in a snow storm, “It’s not for you.” Much to my surprise, I immediately responded with, “why?”. The pie was strictly props and she knew exactly what she was doing. Later, I would be impressed but at the moment I wanted that pie.
I had little to no idea of what Grandma was doing to impress upon the family that would soon buy her house on Stricker. After drooling over the pie through that little window of the oven for a few minutes, she told me to follow her upstairs to show me what she had done. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, we entered the first of three bedrooms. I was overwhelmed by fresh linens on the bed, enough toys to make a small child happy for a long time and a little lamp glowing on the night stand.
I can recall asking Grandma why she had done all of this. She then said, “c’mon”. And we walked thru the next bedroom and found the same setup with fresh linens, slightly used yet shiny toys and the lamp. And the next bedroom had small dolls with their hair combed nice, fresh quilts and yet another lamp glowing on the night stand. And I said once again, “Who is this for?” She said it was for the family that was visiting that evening and soon after buy her house.
I asked her why she was so confident that they would buy her house that night. I remember her response like she said it yesterday. She said, “they would be silly not to.” She knew the family had loved the home so much [from their first visit] that she could convince them by making it feel like home. The apple pie was to speak welcome. The fresh linens and toys on the bed were to help bring comfort to the children which were two twin boys and a little girl.
Grandma used thirty year old linens, old toys an apple pie to sell her house that night. The pastor asked me during a meeting at the funeral home whether that family had bought the home that evening. I laughed and responded with the simple word, “absolutely”. She met the family where they were at and catered to their immediate needs. And that is what I love about Grandma. She met you where you were at with what she could give at that moment and did it with such grace.
Meeting people at their level is one of the most fun things I enjoy doing. It brings me a sense of unexplainable joy to be able to bless someone knowing it is going to hit their mark. While sitting with Grandma’s friend Mary the night following Grandma’s funeral service, she was struggling to fake the fact her dinner was anything close to good. She tried her best but ended saying she must have gotten the wrong end of the chicken. And that here chocolate cake was far from delicious as well.
So, I made a phone call after having thought about it for a few days. And it was done. I made arrangements for a special delivery on Christmas morning of a delicious chicken dinner and chocolate cupcakes for Ms. Mary. It was one of the most touching experiences I had orchestrated in some time. And Ms. Mary was so excited because I had remembered her crummy chicken dinner the week prior enough to have one sent a better rendition to her from the nearby grocery store. And it made an impact from what I heard.
Meeting people where they are at does not require a degree in rocket science. It simply requires you to listen to those around you and react to them in the simplest manner you know. A lot of my responses have not required any money or physical items. Just last month, I sporadically decided to gather every cart from my grocery store parking lot and had brought them to the front door on Thanksgiving Eve. It is simple, listen well and react confidently. It will go a long way.
And to not keep you on your seats, I never got any pie. Sad ending I know. I’m sorry.