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A Little Bit of Mush

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Peeking over the Corningware mixing bowl, my 5-year-old eyes watch as my 55-year-old grandmother allows two tiny drops of dark-colored vanilla extract to fall into the deep mixing bowl. 

“A little bit goes a long way, sweetie,” she says in her thick southern accent as she glances my way, “that’s all you need.”

Her hands had kneaded so much cookie dough and mushed together so many bowls of mouth-watering ingredients over the years, there was no doubt her touch added an indescribable flavor to anything she cooked or baked in her aroma-infused kitchen that always smelled like cinnamon and gingerbread at Christmas time.

Fast forward 30 years.

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After receiving an ungodly amount of rejection letters and responses, I sent a one-sentence email to a local newspaper. Nothing fancy. Just said I was a local writer and asked if they needed any help with stories. I didn’t include a resume. I didn’t say anything else. Just that little bit.

But that’s all it took. Two years later, I’m still writing for the same newspaper. The one you’re reading right now.

Guess my grandmother was right, a little bit does go a long way.

In my little journey as a newspaper writer, I’ve met and encountered some interesting people.

I knew someone once who had a complete stranger pay for his family’s meal at a restaurant.

I knew someone once who had a female probation officer tell her that God was going to use her in a big way.

I knew someone once who took in a homeless child that ended up becoming a successful sports player.

I knew someone once who listened to a distraught woman and helped her.

I knew someone once who bought diapers for a mother in need.

I knew someone once who listened to a teenage boy and took the time to figure out why he was having trouble in school.

I knew someone once who took in a lost cat to the shelter after picking it up off the side of the road.

I knew someone once who received a donation from a stranger after being found innocent of a crime he didn’t commit.

While we may not see it, what we do could have a much bigger impact on someone else. Certainly, our good intentions could be ignored. But all it takes is that one small moment that changes your life.

This is what inspired me to send a few dozen rescue-dog cards to complete strangers for Valentine’s Day. It may sound crazy, but maybe just… a little bit crazy.

I decided to send a little bit of love into the world to a local senior center since they are a group in need of some attention right now.

I don’t expect any response. But I do hope that even if just one card brings a smile to someone’s face that may be feeling lonely, then that’s all that matters.

“A little bit goes a long way” after all.

What if we all gave a little bit?

A little bit more listening?

A little bit more attention?

Or even a little bit more understanding?

A little more effort?

What if we dug our hands in the mush?

Could we in fact ….change the world?

Something tells me my grandmother wasn’t talking about cookie dough that day she squished her hands deep in that ole’ mixing bowl.

She didn’t mind getting her bare hands covered in mush. Why should we?


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