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“An old man showed up at the back door of the house we were renting. Opening the door a few cautious inches, we saw his eyes were glassy and his furrowed face glistened with silver stubble. He clutched a wicker basket holding a few unappealing vegetables. He bid us good morning and offered his produce for sale. We were uneasy enough that we made a quick purchase to alleviate both our pity and our fear. To our chagrin, he returned the next week, introducing himself as Mr. Roth, the man who lived in the shack down the road. As our fears subsided, we got close enough to realize it wasn’t alcohol but cataracts that marbleized his eyes.


On subsequent visits, he would shuffle in, wearing two mismatched right shoes, and pull out a harmonica. With glazed eyes set on a future glory, he’d puff out old gospel tunes between conversations about vegetables and religion.


On one visit, he exclaimed, ‘The Lord is so good! I came out of my shack this morning and found a bag full of shoes and clothing on my porch.’ ‘It’s wonderful, Mr. Roth!’ we said. ‘We’re happy for you.’ ‘You know what’s even more wonderful?’ he asked. ‘Just yesterday I met some people that could use them.’”


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