Sometimes you have the opportunity to meet someone, and you just know that one day they may show up in a book. I met one of those special someones this weekend. Her name was Sally.

Our very dear friends treated my husband and me to a weekend away at a beautiful bed and breakfast. We are both turning 40 this year and this weekend was an opportunity to celebrate this rite of passage. Mike and I commented to the innkeeper that she had some neat antiques in her home and asked if they were family treasures. She got a funny look on her face and confessed that almost all of them had come from Sally’s.  After hearing more about Sally, Mike and I knew we had to pay her a visit the next day.

Sally doesn’t have an antique shop, she has a junk yard. A quarter mile north of this lovely community junk lines the county road on both sides for nearly 70 yards long and at least that many yards deep. (We can’t say for certain as it wasn’t safe to go back that far.)  We were told that if Sally’s green truck was parked in front, then she was open for business. We were also forewarned that she takes eccentric to a new level and can be a bit cantankerous. Okay, scratch “a bit” and insert “extremely.”

Mike and I pulled up to Sally’s treasure cove and crossed the road to peruse her collection on the far side of the road first. We no sooner started looking than Sally came hoofing it over to us. “What are you looking for?” she demanded. We greeted her and explained that we didn’t have anything particular in mind, but we were hoping to find unique things for plants or to place in our garden. Then Sally grumbled, “Most tourists look and don’t buy a thing. That’s why I came over here. Either buy something or leave now.”

Grace…Grace… that’s what I was thinking as she barked at us. Mike and I smiled and pointed out a couple of things we were considering. We then asked her questions that allowed her to demonstrate her knowledge of her wares. Bless her heart. There were very few pleasant words that escaped her lips, yet I wanted nothing more than to give her a hug. Of course, I knew better than to do that, as she most likely would have flattened me right there.

Sally has a story. I spent a good share of the rest of the day conjuring up what it might be. She is clearly a wounded spirit and it broke my heart.  I know Who could fill the cracks in her crusty demeanor. I know Who came to bind up the brokenhearted. While the Spirit didn’t lead us to share Jesus with Sally in words, we did share Him with her in our actions. Our innkeeper happened to stop at Sally’s while we were there and only lasted a few minutes before Sally sent her packing…without the item she had come to purchase. Sally refused to let her have it. The innkeeper shared with us later that this was one of the worst days she’d seen Sally have. However, Sally let us stay. She even let us buy a handful of treasures.

I wonder if she sensed the presence of the Prince of Peace in our smiles and encouraging words? I may never know. What I know for certain, though, is that “up North” there is a crotchety woman, surrounded by an unbelievable amount of junk, but God sees a gem…a treasure. God Bless Sally.