Choices determine life’s path

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

I wrote about these two long-gone cousins about five years ago, but the time has come to tell their story again. This childhood story illustrates the point that the decisions and choices we make affect us.

These two grew up in northeastern Arkansas. In grade school they participated in a school club named the Busy Bee Club where they learned all kinds of homemaking skills such as sewing, cooking and gardening.

One year their club entered a competition for the rural schools, and the competition was going to be held at the school in Marked Tree, Ark. So the two traveled by wagon with the rest of the girls to Marked Tree for the competition.

On that day, their mother sent them off with clean, starched matching dresses. They carried a coin purse full of money they had saved from chores. Their earnings collectively amounted to 25 cents.

They arrived in Marked Tree by wagon. After the morning competition, the teacher took them to a drugstore for lunch. The main attraction was a 10-cent deal — a Coke and a hamburger.

The cousins pondered their order. Their mind was not on hamburgers but the big box of Dumbbell suckers that sat on the shelf. Dumbbell suckers looked just like dumbbells, with candy at both ends, and they came in the flavors of grape, cherry, strawberry and lemon.

The girls reasoned that since their mother was not there, the choice was theirs.

“We’ll take that box of Dumbbell suckers,” one sister told the woman behind the counter.

“The whole box?” the woman asked in surprise.

“The whole box,” said the cousin.

“That’s 25 cents,” the woman said.

The girls opened their coin purse and dumped 25 cents on the counter and walked out with a box of Dumbbell suckers.

During lunch the cousins licked their suckers, cracked the hard candy with their teeth and even gave a few away. They had to get rid of the evidence before they got home. After the two-hour hot wagon ride and all that sugar, the two knew they had made the wrong choice. They were so queasy that by the time they got home, they were really sick. Neither girl wanted to ever see another Dumbbell sucker.

Life is made up of good and bad choices. Some choices are not necessarily bad, as in the case of mother’s cousins, but some choices are not the best.

Then again some choices are bad. Lot made a choice and pitched his tent near Sodom, and it negatively changed his entire family. Jacob made a choice and deceived his own father. Jacob’s boys made choices and their lives were never the same from then on. Saul made a choice and he fell out of favor with God. David made a choice and ruined his marriage.

Then some choices are good. Joseph made a choice, turned away from Potiphar’s wife and God blessed him. Rahab made a choice and, even though a prostitute, sided with God, and she is listed in the lineage of Jesus. Hannah made a choice, fulfilled the vow she made to God and Samuel her son grew up to be the most influential, godly man in Israel. Job made a choice, praised God even in the midst of a terrible condition and he was rewarded.
Little choices everyday throughout our lives form who we become. Where are you headed today because of your choices?

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: