"I'm in need!"

When you're poor, it becomes an imperative to hide it. You'll do anything so that no one notices you are any different from anyone else, in any income level. We're all the same. We're all middle class. Nobody is different in any way. Nothing to see, here. Move along.

My grandma and grandpa struggled to raise six children, and years after the children were grown, Grandma was still in this state of mind where she didn't need any help, no thank you. She sent me $20 once, and I sent it back to her, saying I didn't need it, it was okay, and she got really mad at me! She wanted me to have that money. It was shameful to her, somehow, that I should send it back. I learned my lesson and alway kept her money, from then on.

Grandma is a Christian. She would like her children to go to church with her, but basically, none of the six kids turned out to be religious. Occasionally, one will go with her to church, but really just to make her happy. I suppose that it usually does make her happy when they go to church with her, except for this one time, years and years ago, when my Aunt Donna went to church with Grandma.

Aunt Donna has since passed on. One thing I remember about her was that she didn't worry about what anyone thought of her.

This church visit was before I was born. Donna was a young adult, in her twenties, and she went to church with Grandma one Sunday. They sat through the sermon, the psalms, the whatever they do in church, and the collection. At this church, the pastor was a little bit modern. When he got all of the collection together, he would hold up this tray of money, and say,

"If anyone here is in need, and needs this money more than this church, please come and take of this money, now."

Generally, everyone just sat there for a minute. Nothing happened. Then, they said a prayer.

That was how it worked. He just said that, but basically nobody took the money.

On this particular day, however, Aunt Donna was with Grandma. The pastor took the collection, held up the tray of cash, and said,

"If anyone here is in need, and needs this money more than this church, please come and take of this money, now."

And Aunt Donna stood up.

"What are you doing?" Grandma whispered, urgently. She knew, though. She knew exactly what Donna was doing.

"I'm in need," said Donna.

And she walked up to the pastor, and she took a handful of cash. She marched right back to her seat and stuck the money in her purse.

She was in need.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall, and see the look on Grandma's face when she did that!


  1. I never heard that story. Good one!

    I miss Donna. She was a wonderful person.