Letter to the Editor: A gift of perspective – Simple act speaks volumes about ‘getting it’

March 2016 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

A circumstance presented itself to me last week obliging me to do my best to express to the citizens of our Mayberry-like town, the benefits of doing business with local businesses.

This tale begins with the Willamette Valley Pie Company, 2994 82nd Ave. NE. Their phone number is 503-362-8857

That is an important address and phone number, and at the end of this letter, I hope you all purchase pies from them.

I was recently notified Ed Scheidler, a much revered member of the Mount Angel and Silverton community, was very ill.

He has been a resident of the Silverton and Mount Angel territory for decades.

Ed is from that generation of men who have allowed us to live in relative comfort since their return from their World War II theaters of deployment.

I felt compelled to offer this couple my respect and appreciation for them being such great people in our universe; however, I was faced with that awkward trepidation of trying to understand the difference between my wants and their needs.

I wanted to visit this man before he was unable to receive visitors, but I was not a family member, and he was declining rapidly.

Knowing their extended family would soon be gathering, I thought that I would bring his wife, Regina, a dessert that she could offer to her guests.

Light bulb moment… A pie!

I had often heard of the wonderful pies made at the Willamette Valley Pie Company, but I had never been there before.

When I arrived at the Willamette Valley Pie Company, I was greeted by a member of a generation that would likely be the great-grandchildren of our WWII veterans.

She was a very pleasant young woman who walked me through my options. They had a freezer full of frozen pies, and a plethora of varieties.

As it was late in the day, they had only a few fresh baked pies, but as luck would have it, Marionberry was still available.

What happened next is what prompted me to write this letter.

I do not exactly recall what I said, but it was something similar to the following.  “This pie is for a very ill man, so I would prefer that the family did not have to bake anything.”

That was it…nothing more…no story ….no tears…

When I went to pay the bill, the young women explained that there would be no charge.

Choke, swallow, tears are welling: “Why?” I asked.

“Because I think you could just use a break,” she said.

I couldn’t speak.

Do you ever get that feeling of a golf ball in your throat when you are struggling to keep your emotions from becoming a physical advertisement for the world to witness… Well, I had one.

This young woman, from a generation often accused of not “getting it,” truly does “get it.”

She does not know me. She did not ask probing questions about Ed’s condition or even ask who the sick man was.

She simply sensed that offering that pie at no cost was something that she could do, so she did it.

I said my thanks, tried to swallow that golf ball-sized lump in my throat, and bid my goodbye.

When I delivered the pie, I was tempted to leave it on their porch and not bother the couple.

After determining that I could not leave it for the lunch of a wandering cat, I rang the door bell.

Regina answered the door, and being the person that she is, she pulled me in.

I was introduced to their eldest son who was visiting from Bend, and I was escorted to their living room where Ed was reclined in his chair.

I felt privileged to be able to shake his hand. I felt privileged to be able to speak to a man who exemplifies the standards onto which all men should strive to hold.  A veteran who served his country in time of war, a farmer in our valley, a husband of 67 years, a father of eight children, a grandfather of many, a dedicated member of his church community, and just an all around good guy who, “Gets it!”

Ed passed away the other night. I was told by a close family member that when they were expressing how quickly he turned “for the worst,” they were amazed that just the night prior he was sitting in his chair eating some ice cream and pie.

So, to the young woman working behind the counter at the Willamette Valley Pie Company, I have to, again, say thank you for noticing an opportunity to pass along a random act of kindness, and thanks for “getting it.”

Your gift was well received.

Eric Anderson

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