Jelly Bean Hailstorms
by CHristie Perkins
The bag of jelly beans slumps haphazardly on the top shelf. I reach up on my tippy-top toes. It’s about to fall. A simple touch and it all comes cascading down in a rain of jelly beans. It tinkles and clanks all over the shelves and floor like a marble hailstorm on a tin roof.
I groan. Then, I smile a little. What a mess!
My little guy come running in. “What was that?” he asks before figuring it out on his own. He catches me doing the reverse butterfly stroke in the jelly bean puddle. His sense for candy is so fine-tuned it would have been a tragedy to miss the aftermath of the jelly bean hailstorm.
By now my other boys’ sensors have been activated and they are standing in the doorway begging me with tinsel eyes. I only have to give a nod and they dive in. It’s not the first time they’ve disregarded floor germs in the name of candy.
We are all smiles.
A simple touch creates this amazing, unexpected, result (and honestly a little complaining from the mess). But, it’s not the first time a jellybean hailstorm ends up in sunshine. A simple touch created a similar outcome for an incident that happened years and years ago.
Leaving an Impression is Simple
My mom and I sat down on a bench chatting when a middle-aged lady approached us. My mom recognized her and greeted her right away. Smiles radiated from this lady and I only joined the conversation with a simple smile and a “hello.”
She was excited and happy to see us. Even to see me.
Should I know her? My mind searched for profiles in my head. But nothing clicked, I was only pulling blank screens. So, I studied her face and faked it- prodding and nodding my head at appropriate times.
But her Doppler radar picked up on my clouded memory. The question mark stamped on my face was probably the dead giveaway. I should probably figure out how to fix that. “You don’t remember me? Do you?” she said.
Lets cut to the chase here.
“I’m sorry. Can you remind me of your name?” I crinkled my face with that characteristic eye thing that’s half pirate and half wink. It’s not pretty. You know the look, it’s coupled with a shrinking of the shoulders forward while you try and hide behind your collarbone.
She told me her name but it didn’t fit anywhere. It was like a puzzle piece that was shoved in the wrong box.
Blink, blink. Blank.
I shook my head, embarrassed of my brain lapse. “Oh, you probably wouldn’t remember. It was so long ago. You and your mom made such and impression on me. I’ll never forget you,” she said.
She started to tell the story and it all flooded back to me. You know, I never would have forecasted that something so small could leave such a permanent mark in someone’s life.
I was grateful for my moms example to look outside myself and see other people’s needs.
Small and Simple Things
Rewind 10-12 years. I had just graduated high school and was attending a Relief Society meeting with my mom. We sat near the back of the room. Nothing was out of the ordinary. It was just a nice, ordinary, average day. But as we began singing with the others in the room our barometer picked up a change. Short gasps of air erupted from behind us. These gasps, frequent like hiccups, were caught between wet sniffles.
But these weren’t hiccups at all. She had a little emotional frostbite, affecting the tip of her nose. Her face was also wet with tears. She was trying to muffle her cry but the emotion was strong. As I sung and listened to the melancholy song behind me, the two chords (ours and hers) were in disharmony.
Tears stung my eyes. Oh, no! What’s going on? I couldn’t stand it, it was breaking my heart. I groaned for her. It was time for a warm front to move in.
My mom and I got up from our warm, comfortable, chairs and joined her on the cold, clammy; lonesome row that was next to her. No wonder her nose was red. It wasn’t her that was cold at all, it was that empty row that was biting at her. And you know what? That cold chair wasn’t all that noticeable because there was an inner warmness that took the chill off.
Everything else just fell into place. I smiled a little and we introduced ourselves . Her face was drizzled in tears. She had just moved into the ward. It was her first week and she was missing her old ward and friends. New beginnings can be hard.
It was a simple touch and it had an amazing unexpected result. And it’s been tinkling and clanking around in her head for over ten years. What a blessing that seemingly unthinkable small thing was for her.
We just warmed up a cold chair. That was it. No big deal.
10 Little Things You Can Do to Impact Someone’s Life
Send a Jelly Bean Hailstorm with a Simple Touch
A jelly bean hailstorm is created by a simple gesture to let someone know that you care. My mom was a pro at this. Here are just a few things you can do. There are no surprises here. Don’t let it fool you that it’s too simple. From a girl who simply sat by someone… it does make a difference.
- Send a note to someone. Use good old snail mail for added shock factor.
- Text someone. It’s simple but can be very timely. As soon as you think of someone touch them with a simple “jelly bean hailstorm” text.
- Call someone.
- Smile at someone and think a positive thought about them at the same time. (It will be more genuine and they will feel it.)
- Drop off a jelly bean jar that says “I’ve ‘BEAN’ thinking about you”. (Technically any treat will do… just making it go with the theme here.)
- Use someone’s name when talking to them. Research shows that people like to hear their own name. If you don’t know their name, learn it.
- Show up on someone’s doorstep. Yep, get out of your house and wad up that to-do list.
- Doorbell ditch someone- but first leave something fun for them to find: a helium balloon tied to the door, a note (attach it with a rubber band stapled to the corner), a flower, a treat, a snowman (if you want to surprise them you will have to be very quiet while building it). You could leave a note saying “Snow Wonder I Like You” then list the ways you like them. Have fun, be creative.
- When you pull into your garage leave it open and walk across the street to visit with your neighbor.
- Hug someone.
Make an effort to do the little things. You never know what will be tinkling and clanking around in their head for years to come. To make a difference in someone’s life doesn’t require something big. Often it’s the little things. Add a little perk to someone else’s life today. Tell me, what are some simple things that have impacted your life. I want to hear about it.
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