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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Aug 16, 2013

After enjoying ourselves at the Kossuth County Fair in Algona, my wife and I were leaving the fairgrounds, walking towards our car.

We walked past a man sitting at a card table with a white sheet of paper taped to it saying. “The Gideon Society.”

He was an elderly man dressed in a cap and bib overalls.

Our eyes met and we exchanged a greeting and I walked on.

I had not gone very far when I had to turn around and walk back to this man.

When I reached his table, I had my billfold out and handed him a twenty dollar bill.

“I want to contribute to the Gideons,” I said.

He was puzzled; surprised that someone was giving him something when it was his job to give away.

I told him, “I know you are here on your own time and I want to help.”

He was still trying to get used to the idea that he was getting, instead of giving, and offered me a Bible.

I have several Bibles at home and with the ease of the computer, most of my Bible reading is done online.

He took the $20 bill a little uncomfortably, but with a smile.

We wished each other a “God bless you” and I walked towards my wife who was wondering what I was doing.

It was also my turn to wonder why I turned around after passing the elderly man. I did not have to go back.

Certainly, the Gideons are a worthy cause and can use support in any form it arrives.

However, I am usually the guy who has his sales resistance up. Most of the time, I believe I am a tough nut to crack.

I can be generous when my children and grandchildren are involved.

But other times I walk on by, not even giving a glance or any sign of encouragement to whomever is attempting to make the slightest contact.

After a little more thought I decided it had to be the bib overalls that got to me.

My dad wore bib overalls all his life and this man’s stature was reminiscent of my dad. The cap helped as well.

If he had been dressed in anything else, it would not have been a problem. But I could not resist anyone resembling my dad.

Fortunately, he was with the Gideons and not selling condominiums, hot tubs, or cookware.

Mike Rowe of television fame has made a career wearing a beat up baseball cap to sell blue jeans, paper towels and Ford products. He comes across as a basic everyday kind of guy and that is his appeal.

Without his cap, we would not recognize him.

I will have to remember my Achilles’ heel of bib overalls in the future.

That, and do not put Mike Rowe with his beat up cap in a pair of bib overalls, especially sitting at a card table at the Kossuth County Fair.

Then I will have to count on my wife’s sales resistance.

Now, she is tough.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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