An encouraging lunch

All About Ben
by Ben Robinson

Monday was a long day.

I got up, did a few chores, washed some clothes, showered and got ready for my day.

I looked around the kitchen for something that was suitable for lunch.
I started to make myself some toast, unbuttered to fit the specifications of the “diet” I’m supposedly not on.

According to my reading material, “diet” is a dirty word with negative connotations, and should not be used. I’m just making “healthier choices.”
Calling unbuttered toast a choice makes people question my sanity, instead of my “healthy lifestyle.” No, I just couldn’t go for the unbuttered toast again this morning.

Instead, I got dressed, jumped in the car and headed to Easley, where I could make some more lifestyle choices.

I stopped at the convenience store, where I bought a 20-oz. Diet Pepsi, which is also a diet no-no, although the bottle proudly proclaims it has no calories. As it turns out, despite having no calories, it has qualities that make it somewhat more difficult for my body to work off than nuclear waste.

I also had some kind of rice-cake that should be in a section of the store marked “Stuff with no calories and no taste.” It fought off my hunger, at least until I got to Easley.

When I got to Easley, I decided only a hamburger from Joe’s, also known as The Easley Ice Cream Parlor, would settle my stomach well. I decided that I would stop in there, go in and be seated, and if they brought me a double-cheeseburger and fries, I certainly couldn’t be rude and refuse it.

Of course, for the past 20 years I had eaten there two to three times a week, and ordered the same thing every day. But who was I to fight against habit?
As I came in, Joe Lesley greeted me.

“Hello, Ben,” Joe said. “Glad to see you.”

Joe had found out that I had applied at a place in Easley. The boss of that place had lunch there earlier.

“I told him ‘You need to hire Ben. Ol’ Ben will do a good job for you,” Joe said.
That made me feel good, not because of Joe’s support, but because I knew Joe hadn’t lasted all these years in Easley by giving bad advice.

He must be pretty sure that I’m going to my best at whatever job I tackle next, and I appreciated his confidence.

I sat at my table, reading the newspaper I had bought and digesting what had just happened. Then Joe came over and said “Ben, I’ve got something I want to show you.”

He brought over a clipping from a newspaper that had an article I had written several years ago. In it I had mentioned seeing Joe at an American Legion baseball game, how encouraging he was to the players and to me, and all the things he does to support the community that supports him.

I have to admit, it was kind of well-written. But what made the story good was not the writer, but the subject. I realized that the reason I’ve been able to hang around for so long wasn’t because of my writing ability, but because of the quality of people God has chosen to place around me.

Just then, Joe’s daughter Julie Ellison came by to let me know she had already started my milkshake that I usually got “to go” when I visited Joe’s. I smiled and said “Thanks.” It’s OK as long as I make up the calories by exercising more. I just need to find time to fit a 26-mile run into my daily schedule.

I left Joe’s feeling much better about myself. God still wants me to write about people. I’ve just got to work a little harder at it.