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The devil inside my mailbox
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D. Barbara McWhite grew up in York County, S.C., and lives in Orange Park, Fla., with her husband and cat. Her column is published here each Tuesday. Opinions expressed are solely her own.

The devil paid me a visit the other day. I didn’t see a pitch-fork, and I didn’t notice if he wore red, but I know it was the devil because of what he said.

You see, it all began several months ago when my husband, Mike, and I were shopping an estate sale. There, among the old furniture and miss-matched china was a beautiful blue and cream colored wool rug.

We admired the rug’s beauty and quality but recognized that we had no use for it in our home. The asking price was $75, but we estimated it to be worth much more. Mike suggested that we buy the rug then consign it at a higher price to make a tidy profit.

So we bought the rug and consigned it with the agreement that we would receive half the selling price, and in mid-December we received a check for $150.

Now imagine my surprise when, this last week, I went to check my mail and discovered, from the consignment shop, another check for $150 – for the same rug!

That’s where the devil came in….

“Oh, my god,” the evil demon shrieked. “Another check! Another freakin’ cheeeeccckkkk!!”

“What is this?” I innocently wondered. “Didn’t I already get a check for that rug?”

“Maybe you didn’t,” the devil replied. “Maybe you didn’t get a check before. And what if you did? Look at it. LOOK AT IT!!! It has your name on it. It’s not like you would be stealing. She sent it to you. YOU… NEED… THIS… MONEY.”

“Nooooo,” I whimpered pitifully. “That consignment lady was so nice, and it would be wrong to keep this. I have to give it baaaack.”

“Girl, you better keep this money. Don’t forget you just paid $180 to the vet this week. This is a gift for you. You would be a fool to give it back,” the devil taunted.

I wish I could report that I heard the voice of God, but I can’t. What I heard was the voice of my dead mother, sternly saying: “If you don’t git-cho-self in that house and call that lady and give her back her money...I know I taught you better than that.”

“I know Mama, but I want this moneeeeyyyy.”

“God is watching you,” Mother said quietly. “Give that woman back to her money.”

So I did.

The proprietor was surprised at the error and thanked me for my honesty. And I… well…after I wiped the sweat from my brow, I knew I had done the right thing.

I once heard it said that, “Somehow our devils are never what we expect when we meet them face to face.” And for me that is true.

My devil wasn’t Morris Chestnut standing by my bedside in a thong. My devil wasn’t a large slice of hot apple pie with ice cream, chocolate syrup and nuts.

Temptation, for me, was a plain white envelope with an extra check inside. And all I can say is…

There had better be a God and a heaven somewhere.



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April 18, 2014
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