The big brown truck pulled into our driveway as I was backing out. Our new little Bichon Frise puppy, Gracie, was sitting quietly in the carrier in the back of my car. We were on our way to her first appointment at Calhoun Pet Care. I pushed a favorite number on my cell phone.
“I think we have a delivery,” I said to my husband. “There’s a UPS truck sitting in front of our house.” I laughed.
“You don’t say,” was his unsurprised response.
“Yes. Will you bring it in the house? It might be my Chicken Soup books.” I was hopeful.
While I waited for Gracie to be examined, my phone dinged. It was a text message from my husband—a photo of a book. It was my Chicken Soup books! I laughed out loud. Now I had a stupid grin on my face. My phone rang.
“I cannot believe it,” I said. “ I have a story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book!”
“You sure do,” my husband said like he wasn’t surprised.
“I can’t wait to get back home to look at them. Don’t look at them before I get back,” I told him. He promised to wait.
As soon as Gracie ate, took her medicine and pooped off the pad, I grabbed one of the books. I fanned the pages and leaned in to see what a Chicken Soup book smells like. It smells good—like success.
Back to the front of the book, I began skimming the Table of Contents for my name. I was so excited, it took three skims to find it.
“They’ve got the stories in sections,” I announced. “My story is in the one called The Quiet Ones. How perfect is that!”
My husband was grinning while he busied around the kitchen preparing dinner. He was making my favorite dish, broccoli casserole, to go with grilled chicken and creamed corn. A few years back, he had pitched in to help me with Thanksgiving by making the broccoli casserole. He got so many compliments, that the dish belongs to him now.
I found my story on page 348—The Book Fair. It was really there along with my name at the end of the story.
“I bet you never thought you’d be married to a woman with a story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book,” I challenged my chef in training. I was bordering on bragging.
He looked up from the steaming stove and shot right back, “I bet you never thought you be married to a man that could cook a broccoli casserole.”
He had me.
It got me thinking about a lot of things I never dreamed would happen and how I had been blessed with an amazing life. I have three strong children living lives they have chosen to live, a beautiful grandson who is present in my heart every day, and my new little puppy. I have met so many remarkable people along the way. Some of those people have had a powerful impact on my life with just a few words.
Words are that important.
Whether written or spoken, they allow us to express how we feel about anything and everything, including those we love. Words help us tell our stories, and they help us to know what ingredients to use to make the perfect broccoli casserole.
If you want to read the words of my story in Chicken Soup for the Soup: Inspiration for Teachers, the books go on sale April 18 in bookstores everywhere and on Amazon.com. If you want to purchase a signed copy, just drop me a few words.