The gas station clerk laughed a little as he rang up my purchases. “Needing some sugar?”
Looking at my Mountain Dew and bags of mini peanut butter cups and mini Kit Kat bars, I could see what he meant. What he didn’t know was this:
I needed the memory.
My Kevster was an absolute sucker for the upsell. I’d send him to Walgreens for my photo order and he’d come home with it…and two candy bars, because they were on sale by the register and the cashier suggested it. Do you want fries with that? I think we know the answer. Can I interest you in the one-year guarantee for that item? Yep. Wick trimmer with your new Yankee Candle? If you say so. How about a car wash with your fuel purchase? You bet. I finally had to say, “Kev, babe, I can’t possibly wash my car that often! Hold off on the car washes until we use these, please!”
He liked the bargain. He liked to feel like he was getting a good deal. He liked to provide those little extras because he liked to make me and the Bear happy. And after ten years with him, I knew to expect something extra when he came home from an errand. It was what he did, and I loved his quirky little habit. Especially because it was completely opposite of my inclination. I’m more of a “get only what you need and nothing else” kind of person.
Sometimes I imagine that he talks to me, that he’s with me during the day, guiding me as I stumble around this house, this life, without him. I imagine that my master of the upsell tells me this:
“Baby Doll, don’t just take a nap. Get some real sleep. Please?”
And, “Hey, I saw that smile. Now give me a good laugh. C’mon, you can do it!”
Or “That was some okay happy there, Baby Doll, but I know you can still feel joy. Real, delightful, wonderful joy. Why do you think God gave us Beary? And all His promises? It might be hard – I know it’s hard – but you have to try. For me.”
And then he reminds me of all God’s promises. Promises that aren’t just an upsell, but are truly valuable and necessary for me to know and have. Promises of joy and comfort and peace.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalms 30:5
I will turn their mourning into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13
I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
So when I walked up to the cash register with my soda, and I passed the candy-bar stand, strategically placed next to the counter with its neon cardboard signs shouting “2 for $3” (and in small print, “$1.69 for one”), a memory flashed by and I smiled. First inside, thinking that Kev would totally grab two bags of mini candy bars, because, yeah, it’s a great deal. Then on the outside, knowing that my husband’s quirkiness is so deeply engrained in my life now there is no way I can pass up that offer. Not the candy, and not the opportunity to feel a little glow of cheer inside, imagining his knowing grin as he watches me go for it.
Two for three dollars?
A burst of sparkling happy to nudge aside the crushing grief, if even for just a moment?