Ralph was a quiet reflective man.
“Let’s take a walk,” Ralph said and pointed to a path that led through the high grass and into a woods. As they approached the path Ralph said, “Pick up a hand full of pebbles.”
Jack bent down and gathered a handful of pebbles. He looked at Ralph not knowing what to do with them.
“Put them in your pocket,” Ralph said.
Jack was confused, but he did what Ralph told him to do.
“We don’t take time for reflection,” Ralph said to Jack as they walked along the path.
“What do you mean?” Jack said.
“Our grandfather used to walk this same path nearly every day,” Ralph said. “It was sometime during the day; in the morning, afternoon, or after supper. There were days he missed, but not many.”
They walked until reaching a pond lined with maples.
“It’s a good pond,” Ralph said. “Not many people know it’s here. I always wondered what Grandpa did out here.”
They arrived at the water’s edge.
“Have a seat,” Ralph said pointing to a large rock. “Between grandpa and me you’d have figured by now we’d have worn this rock away.”
“What did Grandpa do here,” Jack said.
“He made decisions,” Ralph said.
They sat on the rock.
Ralph reached down and picked up a pebble. “This is a decision.” He held the pebble in his thumb and index finger. He rolled it between his fingers. He tossed it in the pond. “What do you see?”
“Ripples,” Jack said.
“Every decision has ripples,” Ralph said.
“What if you don’t make a decision?” Jack said.
Ralph stared over the pond as if Jack said nothing. Finally a fish splashed. “There’s your ripple. If you don’t make it somebody else will.”
“Stand up,” Ralph said.
Ralph smiled. “Now empty your pockets of those pebbles. Sometimes we have to empty ourselves of decisions and then pick them up one at a time.”
Jack nodded and smiled. “You and Grandpa are a lot alike.”
“Let’s go back to my place,” Ralph said.
“You go ahead,” Jack said. “I’ll be along in a while. I got a ripple to make.”