Recently, The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and her spouse took a short vacation that was long overdue. Vacations are very hard to organize and schedule when you have a busy life. But, thanks to the ingenuity of my wife, we were able to plan out a vacation.
The motel we stay in is owned by our friends who give us a family/friend discount. Any discount, in my mind or pocketbook, is a great blessing. We love staying there and enjoy the surroundings.
As we were signing in, the motel lady said to my wife, “There are about ten new thrift stores in town. Would you like me to show you where they are?”
Both of them laughed, then my wife said, “No, because wherever they are, I will find them for sure.” The laughter continued.
The only one not laughing at this point was me because I knew the outcome of this sort of thing and it wasn’t one I was happy about.
My long history with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has brought me to the conclusion that thrift stores are in her blood. She can smell a thrift store 17 miles away. She knows about a thrift store about a year before it opens.
The strange thing is, all the thrift stores know her by name. As soon as she walked into a thrift store, they smile and greet her enthusiastically. They know that they have a “customer” on the premises.
Not only does she know where these thrift stores are, but she knows exactly what all of them are carrying.
Often when I need something for my office, I will mention it to her, and she will know exactly where to go and how much it will cost. Sometimes one of the thrift stores will have a higher cost on an item, but they can’t out bargain the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. She gets her price, and that’s final.
On occasion, she will take some items to a thrift store, and in her negotiations, she usually gets more than she paid for it. So how she does it, I never ask.
Looking back over our lives, I sometimes muse on what our lives would be like today if she opened up a thrift store many years ago. But, of course, I would have to have a strict watch over my library of about 8,000 books. If she found the buyer, those books would be gone.
Upon thought, it probably is a good thing she never went in that direction.
When our church had a building program, she could go to all the right thrift stores and get a great discount on things needed for the building. The church saved an awful lot of money because of that.
When we were adding on to our parsonage, she could get all kinds of things that we needed in the building process on discount. Again, we saved a lot of money on our remodeling.
As I was settling down in the motel room, my wife was out looking for these new thrift stores. Then, for the next several days, she spent her time looking for any new thrift store she could find.
It was a Friday afternoon when she came back to the motel room smiling and said to me, “Didn’t our friend say there were ten new thrift stores in the area? Well, I found 15.” And with that, she laughed most heartily.
I should’ve known it. If anybody can find a thrift store, it is her.
Now there are more thrift stores in the area that will need to be followed up every time we come here.
All I have to do is mention a specific thrift store, and she will begin telling me what’s in that thrift store and the things she already bought in that thrift store. So she’ll let me know all about it and the people who run it.
Sometimes I wish I had her instinctive gift in finding things. My gift is in losing things. I can lose things right in front of me and not find them for days on end. If I could find what I’m looking for as successful as my wife finds thrift stores, I’d be a happy old gentleman for sure.
She is great to have around. No matter what I lose, she can come up most of the time and find it for me. All I have to do is say, “I can’t find my red pen. Have you seen it?”
Before I can clear my throat, she finds it and brings it back to me. It seems that her fascination is with the word “lost,” and she could retrieve everything I lost.
I lost my mind once, which was the only thing she could never find. I don’t know what I will do if she ever does find my mind.
When I think of the word “find,” I think of a wonderful verse in the Bible. “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22).
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was the only thing I ever found that has made a big difference in my life. I wish I knew how I was able to find such a treasure. If I knew that, I probably would have a lot of things in my life that I don’t have now.
[Dr. James L. Snyder lives in Ocala, FL 34483 with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Website is www.jamessnyderministries.com.]