Sweet Connections

Have you ever been amazed by how our lives intertwine? This spring I took a creative writing class with my friend Janice taught by Millicent, a mutual friend of ours. Millicent and I have been acquaintances for 15 years but have recently become friends. The class was filled with older writers and writer wanna bees like me.

Two young sisters captured the hearts of the gray-haired students. They captivated us with their creative stories and poems. Because of the bond we developed, we exchanged phone numbers and have kept in touch.

Last week, the sisters and I got together for lunch. Janette said she was excited about her first teaching job in North Carolina. Katrina, the 17-year-old, told me she helps a church friend with her baking business on Thursdays. She mostly helps with packaging and enjoys the day with their friend Debbie. Debbie sells baked goods and jams and jellies and such every Saturday at the corner of Highways 41 & 53 in Calhoun, Georgia.

This past Saturday, my friend Janice and I were driving past the intersection of 41 and 53 on our way to our friend Vickie’s book signing. Janice introduced me to Vickie two years ago. I noticed Debbie sitting out by a trailer. I told Janice about Debbie and wondered if we should turn around right away or come back. We turned around because we didn’t know if Debbie would be there on our way back.

We stopped and introduced ourselves to Debbie. Debbie said she has been doing this for eleven years now. She explained the jams, jellies, dressings, and sauces were from friends in Ohio, but she made all the baked goods on Thursday. On Fridays she sets up shop at a tire store in nearby Nickelsville, and she sits on this corner every Saturday until 2:00. My watch said it was 2:30. Debbie hadn’t sold out, so she stayed longer. Some days she sells out faster than others. If she had sold out by 2:00, Janice and I would not have met her.

Debbie said in August 2012 she proclaimed she wanted to “make life sweet.” She wanted to reach everyone and spread cheer and love and hope. With a childhood filled with flea market and small store experiences, it made sense for her to follow God’s leading her into selling sweets. Debbie’s Country Pantry, which began with a van and a tent, has grown into a truck and a walk-in trailer from which Debbie can “put smiles on people’s faces.” Her business is not centered on making money. She views it as an opportunity to make relationships and touch lives with her sweetness. Who doesn’t love a pecan pie or a blueberry roll delight?

If you find yourself near Calhoun, Georgia, on a Saturday, please swing by Debbie’s Pantry and let her put a smile on your face. And whenever you see someone in a little shop or roadside stand selling the fruits of their labor, I hope you will stop and give them a little smile of support, for this is one attribute I love about our country.

If I hadn’t taken Millicent’s writing class, I would not have met Janette and Katrina, who introduced me to Debbie, who I am now introducing to you. And if Janice hadn’t introduced me to Vickie, we would not have been driving through Calhoun that Saturday. I marvel at the inner connections of our lives. Do you have an unusual story about how you met someone? Please comment below.