Washington State, 1974, and I am getting a ride in the back of a pick-up truck with another hitch-hiker. The driver is going a couple hundred miles so there is plenty of time to enjoy the wind and the sun. But something is bothering me. Three one-dollar bills are all I have and I want three things. I haven’t eaten yet and it is early afternoon. I’m hungry. I could get lunch for around $3. However, I have been on the road for weeks and my clothing smells badly. I want nothing more than to have clean clothes to wear. I could get my laundry done for about $3. And, while I am a voracious reader, I had no reading material with me. I would love to buy Henry David Thoreau’s book On Walden Pond and Civil Disobedience. I might be able to find a used copy for $1 somewhere but then I probably wouldn’t have enough money to do laundry. Even if I could squeeze those two things out of $3, then I certainly wouldn’t have any money left over with which to buy food. It’s been a hard few days and the quandary is making me feel grumpy. After sitting with these thoughts for a while, it dawns on me that the $3 isn’t the problem. The problem is my stressing about it. So I asked the other hitch-hiker if he would like a dollar. He eagerly said “Yes!” So I gave him one. I held the other two bills up in the air and let them go. They flew from the back of the pick-up truck into the open roadway. “Whoa! Why didn’t you give those to ME?” asked the hitch-hiker. “I gave you one,” I said. “The other two are to help other hitch-hikers who might find them.” Relieved of my money, I felt relieved of my quandary. I relaxed and my appreciation for the day deepened. I was leaving myself in the hands of fate, alone. A while later, the driver pulled into a little strip-mall. He got out and told us “I’ve got to get my laundry done before I get to where I am going. I only have a small load. Do either of you have anything you want to add to the load?" I added my clothes and felt so grateful that I was getting my laundry done. After getting the clothes into the washer, the man said “I’m going to get some lunch while the clothes wash. Can I buy each of you some lunch?” We had a modest and pleasant meal. I felt so thankful. After lunch, the man switched our laundry to the dryer and said that he was going to go into the used book store and he’d be happy to buy us each a book! I found a copy of the exact Thoreau book I wanted. Prior to stopping at this strip mall, we had been in the back of the truck for the whole ride and I never communicated any of my wants to this man. The day had switched from one of desperation and grumpiness to one of amazement and thankfulness. Thank you, Mr. Man, whoever and wherever you are.

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