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Two Penny Candy

Let's give others grace and time.

There was a small family-owned grocery just up the hill from where we lived. Mom would send me up for a loaf of bread. It was a rite of passage--permission to ride my bike up out of her sight and to the little shop.

A loaf of bread was cheaper then. A dollar would buy it and still make change. Candies were also inexpensive. A dime for a candy bar. A penny or two for a jawbreaker.

I don't know what possessed me.

Maybe it was Mom's rule to bring back the change. Perhaps it was a moment of temporary insanity. Whatever, I did the inexcusable. When the store owner turned her back, I put a piece of candy in my pocket without paying for it.

She bagged the bread and handed me the change. I raced from the store.

That moment haunted me for 12 years. When I'd see the storeowner's son at school, I'd turn and walk the other way.

I never went back to the store.

I never ate the candy. It ate at me. Forever.

My family moved across town shortly after the event, but I went back to the little store before leaving for college. I saw the owner, Mrs. Winston.

Without a word, I handed her a $10 bill. But before I could start my apology, she rang up a $.02 sale.

She gave me $9.98 in change and said, "I knew you'd be back, Timmy."

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