Grape Soda or Orange Soda?
By Pam Kumpe –
At a special needs home in Arizona, a place for about a dozen adults, my dad worked as a cook. This was his second job, and yes, by trade he was a cook at his primary job too. I figure he was the best in Arizona, I’m sure of it.
I was in high school during his time there and one summer I worked with him. No, I didn’t return for another summer because the job required me to help in the kitchen, and you know how much I love to cook, let alone clean, dust, or do
One day my mom stopped by for a tour and she met the residents and learned that for every couple of roomies, they had a staff member who assisted them. The home had a recreation room with ping pong, pool table, exercise equipment, and a library where residents could read (some could read) or paint and color
Mom said the residents also enjoyed outings to the zoo and my father prepared their picnic lunches for them to eat at Papago Park. And they also went to the movies and other places.
While on tour, she witnessed two young women who were involved in a verbal disagreement. Since it was time for snacks, the ladies were arguing over who would get the grape soda. It was the last glass, although there was orange soda available.
The staff member told them, “Come with me, I need to address this.” She did her best to convince one of the ladies to take an orange soda, but they both said no.
This is when it got odd, strange or weird, I’d say. The staff member told them she’d have to get the judge to decide the outcome. Wow. A judge for this?
She walked to another room, returning with a bag (one similar to one that is passed around in church for the offering), and she told my mom that in the bag was a blank card and a card with a picture of a robed judge. Whoever drew the judge out of the bag would decide who got the grape soda.
Now this sounds like a great idea. Wouldn’t it be nice to use this when your kids argue? Or maybe if you argue with a spouse the judge in the bag could decide the outcome? It would be much cheaper than court costs.
Anyway, Loretta and Alma agreed to the process since this was the standard way small disagreements were decided, and the residents always were happy with the decisions from using this bag.
Each woman drew a card and Alma drew the judge card. Ms. Staff Member said, “Since you got the judge, it is your decision on who gets the grape soda.”
Alma stood, pondering her decision. She looked at the judge on the card. She glanced at the soda.
Now my mom thought it was a no-brainer, because Alma had the judge card—surely she would take the grape soda.
Finally, Ms Staff Member encouraged Alma to make a decision. “Alma, what is your decision? Who gets the grape soda?”
With a sly grin, Alma smiled and said, “Loretta gets the grape soda.”
The two ladies left the room arm in arm, smiling, Alma with the orange soda and Loretta with the grape.
Now we can learn something from Alma. She chose her friendship with Loretta over grape soda. Maybe we should elect to react like Alma by using our heart in making decisions.
If other words—when I take God’s Word to my heart—without using the face of a robed judge in a bag, when I remind myself that a friend will stick closer than a brother—there’s no need to worry about what’s for dinner, what’s in the picnic sack or what soda will I get today.
I simply want to have a heart like Alma’s, don’t you? Besides, I like orange soda much better than grape any ole day.