By any standard of measurement, David was a powerful
man. Tall, handsome and dignified, he cut an imposing
figure, even in his declining years. He was widely known
and greatly respected by his peers and others in the
community. As the head of a large organization, he
was surrounded by people who were prepared to respond
to his every whim. Because of the prominence of his position
and the value of his time, he didn't have to do anything that
he didn't want to do, or that wasn't a high priority to him.
Which is why it seemed a little unusual to those who
worked in the small downtown market to see this great man,
slowed and bent by the years, shuffling in to shop.
"Doesn't he have people to do this sort of thing for him?"
a clerk asked the store manager.
"Of course he does," the manager whispered. "He has
people who have people who have people to do this sort
of thing for him. They watched as David moved slowly,
deliberately, toward the produce section.
"Then what's he doing here?" the clerk asked.
"I don't know," the manager said, a little nervously. "But
whatever it is, it must be VERY important."
David paused at the produce section, looking at the surprisingly
expansive display of fresh fruits and vegetables. At last his eyes
settled on a big bin of large, shiny red apples. He picked up the
apples one by one, examining each closely, twisting and turning
it in the sunlight to expose any defect or flaw. Over the course
of several minutes he must have inspected two dozen apples
or so until at last he settle on one that looked absolutely
perfect -- perfectly sized, perfectly shaped, perfectly colored,
"Perfect!" he said to himself, smiling broadly.
He tucked the apple securely in his hand and made his way
back up the aisle to the cash register, where the manager
stepped in front of the clerk.
"There will be no charge for that, sir," the manager said
when David presented the apple for purchase. "You may
have it, with our compliments."
David shook his head.
"Thank you, sir," he said kindly. "But I insist. Please allow
me to pay for this beautiful apple."
Hesitantly, the manager rang up the charge for the apple,
and placed it carefully in a brown paper bag. He took David's
money, and handed the bag to him.
"Thank you," David said, holding the bag as one might hold
a package of diamonds. "Emma will love this!"
Of course -- Emma. The love of David's life. His sweetheart
of more than 50 years. It was said that in all their time
together, they had never once had an argument. And now,
a clerk and a manager at a small downtown market
understood why. It was a matter of priority. It was a
matter of sensitivity. It was a matter of purpose. And
clearly, it was a matter of power.
The power of love.