Photo by Matias North on Unsplash


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“The school Donna works for is having a garage sale,” said my daughter-in-law. “I paid for a table, to sell my crafts, do you want to sell your book?”

I hesitated. Donna worked for a Catholic school. My book is Protestant. Would they be offended? I’ve asked Catholic’s to tell me their story. Most declined. Three agreed. One changed her mind. The others did not give me enough information to write a decent story. I decided to believe the best. I am not offended by Catholics, so why believe Catholics would be offended by me.

“Yes,” I replied and jotted down the time and address.

Saturday morning, I loaded my books into my waterproof crate on wheels and strapped an old DVD/VHS player on top thinking the player would be the only thing I sold. The complex of church and school buildings took up several blocks. When I spotted my sons truck, I knew I was in the right place and parked. Low humidity with an expected high of 75 degrees made the weather gorgeous. We were on a covered walkway, so no worries about rain or too much sun. A perfect day and place to sell books.

Donna had worked for the school for two decades and knew everyone. A man clad in black dress pants and light jacket stopped to chat with her. He spotted my book.

“This is great.” he said. “Are you the author?”

“Yes, I am.”

“I’ll be back in a minute. I want to buy this book.”

Donna approached me. “That’s the pastor of the church.”

“A priest is going to buy my book!” Tina, you have got to take a picture.

The priest returned and pulled a twenty from his wallet. Tina raised her phone. “Can we take a picture?”

“Yes, but no Facebook, please.” He put the twenty back in his wallet and put the wallet back in his pocket, so he could pose trusting we would honor his request. I so wanted to put that on Facebook.

“I want you to sign the book,” he said. “I really like reading true stories.”

“I write the Faith blog for, would you allow me to write your story?”

“No, no media. I try to stay out of the media.”

I handed the priest his signed copy. Five minutes later, it occurred to me that he did not pay for the book. “Tina, the priest took off without paying for my book.” The irony made us giggle. Donna joined us to see what was so funny. “Donna, your pastor just stole my book.” She started laughing.

I debated running after him to get my $15 but did not want to risk embarrassing him in front of his parishioners. I knew that he did not do it intentionally. He had the money in hand until I asked for a picture.

The DVD/VHS player sold next, and then the priest returned holding some beautiful bookends. “I just bought these bookends and realized I did not pay you for my book.” He handed me fifteen one-dollar bills and explained, “I wanted to be sure you had enough change for your next sale.”

I didn’t have any more sales that day, but that is OK. I understand that my genre of writing does not appeal to everyone. If one book sells and that person is blessed, I count it a successful day.


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