Ma Bates’ robber learns lesson

Published 7:16 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Talk about choices we make! I had rather go bear hunting with a switch, or tug on Superman’s cape. I mean, rob Ma Bates?!

I always checked with Ma in the morning and in the evening, whether I was working or not. We exchanged “news.” You might say it was my headquarters.

This time, it was Ma in the news: “Honey, this poor child walked in, walked over to the cash register and showed me his little old pistol—said, ‘I want all your bills.’ I even tried to get him to take this old flour sack full of change, if he needed it!”

But Ma, weren’t you scared? “Nah, I knew it was gonna happen someday—I was prepared.” All she asked of the sheriff’s deputy was that, when they caught him, they bring him by and let her tell him something. We really didn’t know what to expect. Next day or two, they brought the young man in for Ma to identify.”First of all, honey child, don’t you know that I would have given you anything in this store—still will. Now, I want to show you something,” as she reached down, directly below the cash register and pulled out this revolver that looked like a .44 magnum, with a 12-inch barrel! I mean, like Clint Eastwood. It was beautiful, if you can call guns that. It was silver in color and shined like new money. Anyway, it was intimidating enough just having her wave that thing in the face of everybody standing around as she was recreating the incident, and as we all know, she stood about four and a half feet tall.

What she told that young man that day, he will never forget, I promise you! “Now, Sugar, do you see this?,” making sure that he got a good look. “I could have blown you in half as you were walking out that door—Don’t you know that son?” That young man was listening, believe me, as he looked into the tired eyes from behind that big gun. How could anyone rob one of the most generous people anyone knew.

I hugged her extra close that eve, as I was reminded that we wouldn’t always have Ma Bates with us. Miss you, honey.