Archive for July, 2009

S&H Green Stamps and Glass Dishes

Friday, July 10th, 2009



Green Stamps and Glass Dishes


          They came from Arkansas to the Big City in a battered, rusty pick up truck.  Just looking at it parked out back of the apartment house in the shade of a cotton wood tree made you wonder how it made it all that way.  Mr. Ferguson was a quite man but a good ‘Monkey Wrench Mechanic.’  Mrs. Ferguson was the spark plug of the old couple.  Without a tooth to call her own she did all the talking for the both of them.  You couldn’t tell their age but their poverty showed through their merger dress.  Overalls for Mr. Ferguson, straight ankle length sack dresses for Mrs. Ferguson was their wardrobe.  A little shack out back of the apartment house, remodeled into a living space during the big war, was all they could afford to rent.   They seemed pleased with their place in life.


          Alice lived in one of the ‘Uptown’ cold-water, share a bath, apartments in the big house.  Mrs. Ferguson took an instant ‘Shine’ as she called it to ‘Mrs. Alice’.  “Mrs. Alice will you have coffee with me in the morning?” she asked.  Alice went.  Mrs. Ferguson had cleaned the place up and had two mugs, of different kinds and one without a handle, sitting on the table when Alice arrived.  “Now Mrs. Alice you sit where the good mug is and I will take the other one.”  Alice took inventory of the dishes on the wood shelves.  All were of different colors, shapes, and ages.  An idea hatched right then in Alice’s mind.

          After coffee Alice hurried home, got all of her S&H Green Stamp books and walked five blocks to the exchange store.  The only set of dishes she had enough ‘Green Stamps’ to trade for were kind of tawdry, yellowish, glass dishes.  But they were all the same pattern, shape, and color.

Alice presented the dishes to Mrs. Ferguson as an extra set she received as a wedding present.  “Besides, my husband doesn’t like them,” Alice said.  Mrs. Ferguson graciously, through tears, accepted them.

          Next week Alice again had coffee with Mrs. Ferguson.  She had proudly displayed the dishes on the shelves for all to see.  She served the morning coffee in the old mugs.  “We had our pastor out for coffee last week, and I showed him my new dishes,” Mrs. Ferguson said.  “But I didn’t let him use any of them.  We are saving them for company,” she said.