Yesterday I met a lovely lady named Madge. I was busily running errands, and made a stop at the local grocery store to pick up some groceries. I made my way out to the car, loaded my groceries, and returned my cart. After walking back from the cart return area, I noticed an elderly lady walking toward me with her grocery bag in one hand, and cane in the other. She had a very concerned, almost scared look on her face. She said hesitantly, “Excuse me, could you help me? I can’t seem to find my car and I’m getting quite tired and a little weak.” It was obvious that she had been walking in the parking lot for a while. She almost seemed scared. My initial thought was, ‘I need to get going. I have a million things to do.’ I looked at her and said, “Of course. I can definitely help you.” We began walking to the front of the store where there were benches in the shade. I told her that she could take a rest on the bench, and I would look for her car. She was immediately grateful. We got to the bench, and I enlisted a store employee to help me look for her car. After just a couple minutes I had found her white Honda Accord with Florida plates. It was quite a bit further back in the parking lot, and she thought she was much closer to the front of the store. I walked back up to the benches, where there was another store employee keeping her company. I told her that I had found her car, and that I would walk back with her. The store employees, who where also very appreciative, went back to work in the store.
As the elderly woman and I began to walk to her lost car, we began to talk. She told me that her name was Gladys because she was the “happiest baby in the hospital nursery.” Her middle name was Margaret after her mother, and her family called her Madge, as she said “Madge just stuck.” I told her my name was Erin, and she asked if I was Irish. I told her that I’m just about everything but Irish. We were now laughing and talking like old friends, which was a complete 180 from when she first asked me for help. As we got closer to her car, she then said to me, “Erin, you are my angel today. God led me to you because He knew you would help me. You took some time out of your day to help an old lady like me, and I will never forget it.” I got a little misty eyed. She then asked me if I had a family, and of course I said “Yes. I have a 5 year old boy, and a wonderful husband.” She asked me what their names were, and so I told her. By now we were at her car, and she then gave me a hug like you would get from your grandma that you hadn’t seen in a while. She then told me, “Erin, I’m so appreciative of you. I will pray for you, Harrison and Jason, and will pray that your family receives everything you need.” Just barely holding it together, I gave her one last hug as I helped her put her groceries in her car, and wished her a good day.
I turned around and walked back to my car which was just a few rows away. There were tears already rolling. By the time I got into my car I was uncontrollably weeping. Why was I reacting this way? All I did was help a lady find her car in a crowded parking lot. Was it because she said I was her angel? Was it because she said she would pray for me and my family? Maybe Madge was my angel yesterday.
The reason I write about this experience yesterday is because I want to ask you to consider something important. Lets stop glorifying “busy.” Lets look around, and be cognizant of our surroundings, and even more importantly, the people in it. Madge was probably a little scared to ask for help. She was afraid someone would say, ‘Sorry, I need to get going.’ Lets take care of one another – especially those most vulnerable; the elderly, the sick, maybe the parent that has a special needs child. Next time you see someone that could use some help or support, offer it. You might be the one who has come along at just the time they need it the most. And you never know – you just might find an angel.
Alright, alright…enough of the sappy stuff. Lets get get to the chocolate and caramel! :)
I actually made these bars after I had met Madge. Maybe I should call them Madge Bars!!
These are really easy to throw together and bake. Perfect for a yummy afternoon treat, or something special to wrap up and put in your kids lunch boxes. Take these to a pot luck, and people will be asking you for the recipe within minutes. Yes, they are that good!! The recipe is originally my moms – her Easy Bars. I adapted them by adding caramels, which I really love.
- Crust Mixture:
- 1½ c. Rolled Oats (quick or old fashioned oatmeal)
- 1½ c. Flour
- 1 c. brown sugar
- ¾ c. melted butter
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Fudge Filling:
- ⅓ c. butter
- 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 (14 oz.) can, sweetened condensed milk
- 1½ c. caramels, cut in half – about 25 caramels(Kraft or Brachs Caramels)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the oatmeal, flour, soda, salt and brown sugar. Melt the ¾ c. butter and mix into the oatmeal mixture. Stir together until crumbly. In a 9×13 pan press down ¾ of the oatmeal mixture for the bottom crust. Be sure to reserve ¼ of the oatmeal mixture for the topping.
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the ⅓ c. butter, chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds until all ingredients are completely melted together. Pour over the bottom crust. Disperse the caramel chunks evenly over the chocolate. Then sprinkle/crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes before cutting.
Maybe take a plate of these bars to an elderly neighbor, or to a new mom that has just had a baby. Not only will the treats be appreciated, but your presence and thoughtful conversation will be of even greater value.