The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Dick Schuller
Homespun Yarns 

The Lord leaves a $20 tip for someone in dire need of food


It was a gray November day in Cleveland, Ohio. The year was 1937, in the dismal days of the national Depression. Stephen Eckhardt, a recent German immigrant, had just been laid off from his tool and die job at the local factory. He had applied at once for government work programs, but had been told there were no openings. In his broken English, he gathered his wife and three young children. “Come”, he urged, “Ve need to pray. Our food ist gone but God vill supply. I know he will.”

After a short prayer, the kids scattered to their schools in hardly adequate jackets. Johanna, the mother, scrounged through the cupboards for some semblance of food. She smiled at the remaining bag of bones in her ice box that her little girl had brought back from the butcher’s the week before. Johanna had told the slim 10-year-old, Dorothy in German, “Get weise garebenen bonen” (big white beans).

The little girl hadn’t been paying attention to the German-English translation in her mind. With 10 cents in her fist, she ran to the butcher’s and told him, “My mother wants a big bag of white bones.” Johanna was more than a little surprised when her daughter hauled into the kitchen a giant bag of animal bones. But now, the soup was nearly gone.

That afternoon after school, little Dorothy took a shortcut home behind a bar. She skipped along until her eyes riveted on some brown paper in the path. Unbelievingly, she stooped and picked it up. It was a bill of some kind. A dollar bill, perhaps? She had never seen a $20 bill, and now lay in her shaking hands. She looked around to see is anyone might be watching her. She crumpled the bill securely in her hand and dashed for home.

The mother and father’s eyes enlarged as the precious bill was given to them. Always proper, Johanna said, “Well, somehow we’ve got to find out who lost this money.”

Stephen sputtered, “Are you crazy, woman? Ve prayed for food and the good Lord has provided. Come get your coat. Ve go shopping!”

That little ten-year-old Dorothy in time became my wife—Dottie Schuller.


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