Once upon a time Bitter Ness and Better Ment each bought some magnificent country property, a lifetime dream for each of them, from a traveling land salesman.  They sold most of their possessions, bought a bus ticket, and headed out to begin their new lives in the country. However, when they arrived, the property they purchased did not appear as magnificent as they expected.  Their ‘lifetime dream’ did not look anything like the pictures they had been shown – there were no trees, no gurgling brooks, and no rolling hills.  Each one had twenty-five acres of flat, dusty land, thirteen miles from Nowhere.

Before long, the people in Nowhere heard about Bitter Ness and Better Ment and their fateful plight.  But, instead of offering assistance, the people from Nowhere would drive thirteen miles out of their way on their journeys to Anywhere and back just to throw sticks and stones at Bitter and Better.  It became one of the town’s favorite pastimes – jeering and taunting Bitter and Better, and mocking their stupidity at buying land from a traveling land salesman.

This was too much for Bitter.  He left his stick and stone cluttered land and began to picket in the streets of Nowhere. Anger swelled inside of Bitter Ness like a rootbound plant in a clay pot. Over time, Bitter’s anger grew so much that it cracked his soul.  He spent the rest of his life picketing and complaining to Nobodians during the day, writing letters to Congressmen and Senators during the evenings, and sleeping on the streets at night, hoping that one day, someone would rally his cause and restore to him his stolen dream.

Back in the country, Better began to collect the sticks and stones that people threw at him. He organized and sorted them, and eventually built a fine stone house and surrounded his property with a nice stone fence.  He built a big stone fireplace and stored plenty of wood for heat and cooking.  He built an ingenious stone cistern to catch rainwater to use in the house and to irrigate his garden.

In fact, Better Ment made his renowned fortune by turning his many extra sticks and stones into houses and homes to help even those who threw them.

Eventually, as a most respected citizen, Better was elected to Congress and helped pass the “Truth in Advertising Act” which, in turn, helped put a halt to unscrupulous land sales.

Published in Meat and Potatoes for the Soul, Copyright © 2013 by K. Lynn Lewis.