Friends, I  have work to do today.  Important work.  I have been asked by a dear friend who used to live in Dothan, former beauty queen, and all that, to come to a church in Birmingham where she is on staff and talk to about 150 ladies at a dinner in their church.  This takes place on Monday night and I had made plans to spend all day finishing up my talk….making notes….things like that.

Well, as I said, I intended to stay home all day.  Now when I do that, I do not have any intention for the world to be looking at me or the way I am dressed.  I get comfortable, ya know what I mean?  So I had gotten comfortable and sat down at the computer, and waited to print out some notes.  My printer just ‘PINGGED’ at me.  I tried again.  It PINGGED again.  So I went over to speak to it directly and impress upon it the important work it had to do today to get me ready to leave tomorrow.  We stood face to face, and then it handed me a note (on its screen)…**”You have no ink….none…not even a little bit.  No black, no pink, yellow or blue.  OUT OF INK!!!**

I knew the only thing to do is go and get some.  Don tells me to go to ‘Wal Mart to get it…cheaper he says and he would surely know bout that.  So, I put a little powder and lipstick on and run a brush through my hair and out the door I go.

I’ve found in the past few years that if I will just stop and make sure my brain is with me as I leave…along with my phone…I can avert some of my troubles.  During this thinking time, sure enough, I remembered that I had no idea under the blazing sun what kind of ink to get.  But I knew where to find out.

Now, I’m just not the best at keeping up with things…they tend to stray out of my eyesight and end up who knows where.  They find a comfortable place and there they lay until I go on a rip and a tear and try to find them.  Alex knows this.  So he instituted a system that would help me and him when he was involved in trying to teach or show me something.  He got one of those decorative boxes and told me it was sacred.  I was never to throw it away.  He said that I could not even move it.  He put it down and it has stayed right there.  All along he will put info in it, but I just leave it alone.  The other day, I had to get it out and while he did something to my computer.  I sorta flipped through it while he worked and noticed that the instruction manual to my printer was in there.  So during my waiting and thinking time, I remembered where it was.  I went back in the house and looked up the ink number and wrote it down.  OOOOH, I am sooooo good!


Went in….all the way to the ink…took out my instruction manual, doubled checked that I was getting what the book said.  And, went and paid 47. 98 for one box and 38.89 for the other.   Wow!  So happy, I drove home and called Alex to help me.  Oh, these looks familiar….I’ve seen them before.  We opened both big boxes…tore into those suckers, and then the 4 smaller pouches.  And, I waited for him to make it work.  He didn’t move.  He just stared.  He then said “I’m sorry, Mom.  But do you remember when you got a new printer a few months ago?  This is it.  But, the book that you looked at and the ink you bought was for your old printer.  The one you gave away.  My mouth dropped open as I looked at the nearly 100 dollars worth of useless ink.  And, the boxes torn to pieces….along with the manual.  No wonder it all looked so familiar.

Don was still here,  He heard.  “You gotta take it back and get your money back.”  I replied that they did not have to give me anything…it was all my fault.  But  I did still need my printer, so trip # 2 was on.  I got into the car, and remembered to stop and think.  I was going for ink.  Ink for what? My 4 month old new printer.  And, what kind is it?  Don’t know…better go and find out.   It is a HP Office jet 5470.  I wrote it down.  And drive back to Wal Mart.

I went to the returns and told the lady I bought the wrong ones and she gave me my money back,,,  “Thank you,Jesus”.  Then back to area with the ink.  This time I was going to have their competent staff give me a little assist.  One lady was busy, so she started calling, “Don!  Don!”  I was so hoping it wasn’t my Don….And it wasn’t.  This guy was about 60 with the loveliest salt and pepper ponytail halfway down his back!  “Don, I need some ink.  I wrote it down so you can see what I need.  He took the paper and went over to a huge flip chart that must contain every known printer and what ink they need.  He followed a line with his finger.  “This way”, he said.  And soon he handed me a box containing the black and the colors. ” Oh!  let me double check on that price…seems a little high.  Nope it’s right 95. oo! ”   I thank Don and head back out the door and soon drive up my driveway.


I took the ink to Alex…”Ah, he said…right brand!  YEA!  But, what are these numbers?  Hmmm…I’m not sure.  “Don’t worry”, I said “Don looked it up and he said this is just what I need.”  I opened the box and pull out the 2 cartridges…threw away the trash.  Took that big box and cut a big hole right in the middle of it at the place it said 96 and 97.  Now I can put this in my purse and won’t have to go through this mess again.  Alex stopped working.  He looked inside again and tried the cartridges, but the printer sent him a message, too.  **“Take these cartridges out of me…they are wrong.”**  And, I sat down and waited.  I knew there was news to tell.   “Mom,  you wrote on your paper an HP  OfficeJet printer  5470.   That is exactly right.  But the ink you bought was for a HP Desk Jet printer.  And it will not work.  I’m so sorry.  Mama, don’t cry.  Are you ok?  This is not your fault.

Well, I knew what was coming next.  I was going back to WalMart…and give them  this raggedy old box that I had destroyed with scissors.  I stuffed the cartridges back into their cellophane.  Taped the cardboard back into a semblance of a box.  Put it in a bag and left.  I did not stop and think.  I didn’t really think there was anymore that I needed to think about.  I had dragged all over my side of town looking like a ‘I don’t know what’ and I was bringing back ink for the third time!  “Dear Jesus,Please find me a place to park close up because I am running out of steam!”

I went in and put the plastic bag with the destroyed box down in my purse.  I just could not go stand in front of that lady in  Customer Service one more time.  So, I went straight back to the ink dept.  AGAIN.  And, I asked the dear Lord to please send me some grace and mercy and I needed it quick!  I spotted a man.  Behind a cash register.  He was in a tie and vest and look a little more professional than Don…even though Don was a nice guy.  And, he looked up at me.

“How are you today, Sir.”

Well, I’m tired.

 I won’t take up but just a minute of your time, but I’ve been to your lovely store already 3 times today trying to get ink for my printer.  Twice I have gone back to my home with the wrong ink.  Please fix this for me.

Do you have the box and the receipt?

Yes sir, right here.

You know you are supposed to take this up front, Ma’am.

I know, Henry (his tag said), but I’m tired, too.  In fact I’m about to blow a gasket if I can’t get the right ink.  And, you just look like a professional who would know how to find my ink!

Well, Ma’am, it looks as if someone cut a mighty hole in the middle of this box.

Yes, Henry, I did that.  See how those numbers are right together there…96 and 97.  I was cutting them out to put in my purse so I would never get the wrong ink again.

He kept turning the box over in his hands.  You cut it pretty good.

Thank you.  Oh and the cartridges inside are all opened too., I’m sorry to say.  But the gentleman that helped me before read my note and this is what he gave me.  I gave the note to him. He compared it to the box.

Well, this is not the same.

Well, that’s what I noticed when the cartridges would not fit….but I was quite excited for a minute there.

I can see.  Stay here. I did.

He came back with another box.  All the words matched the words on my note…and the number was 62.

Ma’am, this is the ink that matches what your note says….this (other box) is just garbage now.

Yessir…95 dollars worth of garbage.  I just think maybe Don misread it or something.

Let me ring this up for you Ma’am and give you your money back.

Oh, I get money back?

Yes, this ink is only 34. 95.

He was already punching buttons.

Does ink expire, Henry?

No Ma’am, I really don’t think it would.

Well, then I’d like two boxes please, so I don’t have to do this again for a while.

He looked at me over the top of his glasses.

If I go get another box, I’m gonna mess up all this I just done.

Well, please, don’t stop.  I can just get another box and pay up front as I leave.

He finished.

Mr. Henry, sir, I thank you for your patience .  You have been most kind.

Ma’am, Kindness works better when it’s both ways.

He smiled and I shook his hand.

Not to many people come in with a smile.  Most are so rushed and busy.  Most people who have been here already three times would not be kind to work with at all.

Well, I tell you, Henry, the more I thought about all this, the funnier it got.  God has a lesson in it for me somewhere, I’m sure.

Have a nice day, Ma’am.

Thank you sir.

I walked to my car, with my bag in my hand and  my hair looking for all the world like it was trying to boogie down to some good ole Prince music.

Alex put the ink in, it worked perfectly.  It even sent a little message saying the** ink transfer is completed successfully.**