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  • Heather Burke-Cody

Something to Prove

Updated: Mar 1

He stepped in front of me in the deli line. She left her buggy feet away from the return cart sign. Another was rude to the bagger.


The local grocery store can be a reminder of hurried people. Frustrated, impatient people. But it can also be a reminder of the everyday good people.


And she’s one of the good ones.


We went through every single grade together—kindergarten through graduation. It’s the beauty of small-town living. She struggled just like the rest of us—born into a blue-collared, living-paycheck-to-paycheck family. Kids are easily labeled. But she wasn’t defined by free and reduced lunches or limiting situations.


We were sisters from a different mister–tomboys in spiderman shoes and never dresses. Captains picked us first in tag football and dodgeball played on a cement court. We could spit through our teeth and arm-wrestled boys at recess.


Her hair has always been short. Strawberry blond. And you’d have to look hard to see fair, pearl skin underneath all those freckles. She could run like the wind. Maybe even faster. Beating the boys and beating the odds. And she kicked a ball like she had something to prove.


Most people probably don’t know her whole story. How she’s made something of herself in ways beyond the worldly. Working. Serving. Helping. Sacrificing. Raising children who are not even her own.


I spot her behind the counter in the bakery today. Adorned in her hairnet and apron. I see her most every week, but she waves hard and smiles big like we haven’t seen each other in years. We speak and she makes time for me. She is, as she was way back then, innately Good.


Years have passed and her freckles have faded. But some people never change on the inside.


I offer to let someone in front of me in the long line. I return the cart to its rightful place. And tip the bagboy. I leave Ingles thinking of her. Remembering her kindness and how she could kick a ball.


Maybe she did have something to prove after all. Because she just proved to me that a little bit of Good can look a lot like the reflection of love for each other.


The everyday bad doesn’t stand a chance in the face of the everyday good.


Shout out to my good friend, Phyllis. Keep beating the odds and kicking the ball. Hope we’re always on the same team.




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