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A little something to remember us by


Sunday afternoon, driving back to Alabama after attending a weekend wedding in Georgia, we stopped for lunch.

And what a meal! The little hometown restaurant in Roanoke, Al., had a Sunday buffet filled with good, old-fashioned Southern cooking from ham and fried chicken to mashed potatoes, greens, cornbread, and banana pudding, and more.

But the homestyle food wasn’t all we filled up on.

We got spiritual nourishment, too, from the unabashedly Christian ethos of the owners and restaurant staff. And a lesson in legacies.

As we ate, I noticed something odd. On the ceiling above our table was taped a $1 bill. Nearby were more rows of dollar bills, neatly taped to the ceiling. All across the restaurant, money hanging from the ceiling some signed, some not. How odd, I thought. I wonder why they’re there?

The owner stopped by our table to see how our meal was going, and I asked about the intriguing décor.

Several years ago, he said, an older couple in their nineties, he thought stopped in for a meal. As they prepared to leave, they asked a strange favor.

“Take this dollar bill and put it above this table where we ate,” they asked. “We don’t have much longer in this world, and would like to leave you something to remember us by.”

After they left, he did as they’d asked.

Other diners noticed the dollar bill, and added to the collection. Some signed and dated theirs, others not. Some gave $5, $10, or $20 bills. For the last several years, every member of the local high school graduating class has added a $1 bill. Hundreds of dollars adorn the restaurant.

“And when I’m ready to retire,” he said, “I’m going to take it all down, count it, and donate it to a church mission effort.”

That’s quite a legacy, started with a single $1 bill. The memory of one elderly couple has grown into something that will benefit others through spreading God’s word.

We all have the capacity to leave a legacy, and I’m not talking about the monetary kind.

What will ours be? Will we give of our lives, time and talents, skills, knowledge, physical efforts, or treasure to leave a lasting imprint the fingerprints of our Father for future generations?

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).

Odd, that we stopped in that little restaurant, of all places that day. And that we sat under the very table where one single dollar bill was hanging the dollar that started it all.

And yes, we added our own contribution to the collection, honoring our friends who began a legacy journey that weekend, uniting their hearts and lives in matrimony.

What will your legacy be?

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