A Little Sugar

Summer reading, children’s book.

A story of broken lives and torn up home

and a shelter in downtown Chicago.

The story of a family tossed about,

and the individuals who worked hard to put it back together.

And in this story, my eyes flying over wide-spaced lines,

I read about a mother asking, pleading, for help, for a favor,

for an ear to hear and hands to hold,

and the woman beside her,

I read with the book nearly touching my nose,

the woman beside her hears her story,

sees her desires,

and advises her;

gives her these words:

Stay sweet-

a little sugar takes you further than gas.

And I underlined those words,

typed them, later, into my notes.

And moved on,

kept reading.

But those words, that wise advice, have stayed with me.

Asking for directions: Stay sweet.

Asking for a favor: A little sugar.

In a desperate rush to leave, car paperwork lost

in the office’s new school year shuffle:

A little sugar takes you further than gas.

And I take a breath.




Say please.

And sometimes things work,

and sometimes they don’t;

at least not as I expected they would.

But then I’m already smiling,

and I’m already cheery,

and the worry has yet to seep into my chest, sink into my stomach,

so I nod and thank,

agree and walk away,

and take a step, then another, then another yet again,

because life is a journey- a long one-

and I’ll get where I’ll go,

but in the meantime,

I tell myself:

Stay sweet,

a little sugar,

and there in the office,

on the train,

in the classroom,

with this attitude of kind, of gentle, of joy,

I feel blessed,

and I can bless,

and that by itself

is a very sweet thing.


{The book is Hold Fast by Blue Balliett.}


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