This past weekend was really good for me. It gave me the time to rest my body and receive the needed rest and relaxation that we all have to have.
It gave me time to think, and my thoughts rushed back many years, as I tried to remember those people who made my life better by suggestions they gave me on how I could improve my future. Space will not allow me to name them all, but I would like to share my stories about just a few.
A chair-maker in Woodbury, Tenn., gave me good advice on selling his rockers and hand-made chairs. An appliance dealer from the Delta in Mississippi showed me how to sell in the flat-land of the Delta. He said, “Selling here in the Delta of Mississippi is different than any place on earth.” Then he backed his statement up with the words, “Listen to me boy, I been here a long time.” I remember these folks so well, and their advice was appreciated – and the advice they gave me worked.
The person who made one of the best impacts on my life was a furniture dealer from Sumiton. I marvel at the change that took place in his life, and I have thought about that change many, many times throughout the years.
My first visit to his business was not a pleasant one. He would find something wrong with everything I tried to sell. He had a foul mouth and a mean spirit, and he was a heavy drinker. I believe he looked for trouble.
People had tried to help me, but no one was successful. It was a hopeless cause, we thought!
It was a Wednesday morning, over 45 years ago, that I arrived at his store and saw a different person. Jimmy had very little to say – no cussing, no dirty jokes – and he was sober and calmer than I had ever seen him.
In a few minutes he opened up and begin to tell me that whole story. I saw a Jimmy that I had never seen in the years I had called on his business.
With tears in his eyes and chills bumps on his arms, he told me what had happened – how he almost was killed, but he felt the “Good Lord” had spared his life. He called it a “religious experience.” He was a different person, and in the many years that followed, he continued to be a different person.
His family was so proud of him, and his friends were happy. He worked hard in the church, did religious work in foreign lands, did everything possible to bring people to Christ. That has been more than 45 years ago, and he never forgot what the Lord had done for him.
After I opened Bolton Furniture, we lost close contact but would talk on occasions, and I would visit when I made a trip to Birmingham. He made a great impact on my life, and I will always be grateful.
I called Sunday to tell him how much I appreciated his great effort in serving the Lord, but I waited too long. Jimmy passed away a short time ago. Why did I wait so long?
Till next time,