Keep the Change

I opened my Facebook page. One message. A pastor’s wife enjoyed having dinner with us and suggested we meet for dinner again. I quickly responded, “Yes.” I owed her husband a copy of Finding Faith in the City Care Forgot for contributing “It’s Not What You Can Do: George Zanca” to the book.  My husband’s rotating two weeks of day shift, two weeks of night shift work schedule made finding a time to meet for dinner a challenge. We offered to visit their church and go to lunch after the service.

Before we left for church that morning, I asked my husband to put a box of books in the trunk. I walked into the church with the complimentary copy for Pastor Zanca in hand. As soon as I stepped in the door, a woman who had read my first book and loved it wanted to purchase the book in my hand. I had more books in the car and service had not started yet, so I sold her the complimentary copy. While waiting for her to find her wallet, another woman asked to purchase the book. I waved to my husband. “Go to the car and get two books, please.”

Service had started by the time I sat in the front row seat reserved for me by a friend. During announcements, Pastor Zanca said, “A famous author is visiting the church today.” Embarrassed by his confidence in things not yet true, I elbowed my friend to stand and take a bow. She did. We laughed. Pastor Zanca invited me to the pulpit to say a few words about the book. I wasn’t prepared to speak. I returned to my seat, trying to recall what I had just babbled. Three people tapped me on the shoulder to purchase the book. During the five minutes of greeting one another that followed, I told Pastor Zanca I had more books in the car for interested purchasers. He relayed that information to his congregation.

At the end of the service, my husband brought the box of books to the back of the church. I had not planned to sell books and was not prepared with change. The first man handed me a $20. “I’m sorry. I don’t have change,” I said.

“Keep the change,” he responded. I was selling the book for $15. It retailed for $16.99. Why would anyone give me an extra $5 for a book swirled in my mind unable to take root and send a response to my mouth. The man tossed the $20 into the box of books, took the book out of my hand and left. That scenario happened four times, except for tossing the $20 in the box. By the third time it happened, I resigned myself to accepting the extra $5.

When the last person paid for her book, I paused to ponder why people gave me $5 above my asking price. Then I heard, “How much for the book?”

I looked up to see Sister Mac smiling at me. “Fifteen,” I responded. Her smiling face fell in disappointment. I’d met Sister Mac twenty years earlier. She was widowed and caring for her adult handicapped son. He had recently died, and she was living alone on half of her former income. That is when I knew why people were paying above my asking price. God had paid for Sister Mac’s book.

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of Southern Christian Writers, a freelance writer and author of three books.
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