Monday, February 23, 2015

Not Buying a Couch in a Snowstorm and the Arm Wrestling Old Man at Chick-fil-A

Last Saturday, we decided to go start looking for a new couch to go into our new family room. We brought the girls with us since the painters mentioned swinging by and painting all the trim around our new doors (that have been hung with knobs attached, thank you very much).

We love having doors again!

It was very cold and windy and snowing lightly when we left our house.

We had no idea how bad the weather was supposed to get. 
[Cue dramatic music]

In the short walk from our car to the furniture store, we were covered with snow and our hair was practically blown right off our heads.

But let’s back it up just a bit…

On the car ride to the furniture store, we told the girls that based on the dimensions of the new family room, we would not be looking at sectionals.

Probably a couch and a love seat or a couch and two chairs.

Of course, they wanted a sectional.

We let them know that we wanted pet friendly leather, not fabric, so we’d not have to fuss over stains.

Within seconds of walking into the furniture store, 
the girls found a sectional to lay on.

While I talked with a salesperson and shared our interests, Monte checked out the price of the sectional that the girls claimed as their own.

It was a good price.
Like, crazy good.

But it was a sectional and covered in fabric.

The salesperson shared that there was a tiny cut in the fabric so this huge, custom-ordered, down-filled sectional was returned.

I think it can be fixed.

It looked way too big for our space.

You can’t even see the slash in the fabric from here.


So as Monte and the salesperson measured and measured again,

I found the girls in the recliners with remotes that helped them right into a standing position. 

They were amazed.

McDaniel found one that didn’t even have a remote but with the slightest bit of a lean, anticipated her needs and changed positions.


Monte decided the sectional would indeed fit but made a contingency plan with the salesperson in case it didn’t.

So just like that, our no-sectional, no-fabric plans evaporated.

We were buying the fabric sectional 
before I had unbuttoned my coat.

Which is a bit different than the 

The weather had taken a HUGE turn for the worse in the 8 minutes it took us to buy a couch.

It was snowing hard and sideways and the wind was creating white out conditions.

Sitting at the traffic light, we could not see the turning lane that we intended to turn into.

After a few seconds on the road, we decided to pull off and find a place to wait out the storm.

We couldn’t see any of the buildings just off the street!

Monte pulled off anyway and turned into the first parking lot which we guessed from memory of the area to be a Red Lobster and a Chick-fil-A.

We ran into Chick-fil-A.

As we stomped all the snow off our boots and brushed the snow out of our hair,

we noticed how loud the music was.

In the corner was a woman with a microphone and a guitar and a man on a keyboard singing love songs for Valentine’s Day.

The woman had a beautiful voice and sang everything from James Taylor to "The Old Rugged Cross".

We ordered our food and Monte received a personalized Valentine’s Day card with a gift card for breakfast chicken biscuits.

Nice touch!

Then we realized coffee was free the month of February.

With the music and food and FREE being Monte’s love language,

we knew we were going to be just fine
waiting out the storm at Chick-fil-A.

As we were taking off our coats at our table, an old man sitting alone right behind us asked us if it was snowing.

He had a twinkle in his eye to let us know he was joking and not having a “moment” that would make us call 9-1-1.

He also said that his car used to be red and pointed to the parking lot where all the cars were sporting snowy white exteriors.

As the gentleman was getting ready to leave, he came over to our table and asked the girls if they’d clean off his car.

He was joking.

Because it still looked like this:

He told us he was going to Naples, Florida on Monday and asked how many pairs of shorts he should bring.

He was looking to buy a place.

He used to live there, he explained, for 8 years until his wife got sick and they moved back to Ohio.

He told us, with great pain in his eyes,

 and his wife’s wedding band on a chain around his neck,

that he watched her die in August.

He struggled to remember the word of what she died of

but we all knew it was cancer

and there was no reason to remind him.

They were married 66 years and had known each other since elementary school.

He talked about his athletic son who played varsity tennis and baseball but could never roller-skate or “lay my arm down” as the man put it.

Arm wrestling.

He told us that word got around with his son’s friends and people he worked out with at the gym that no one could “put his father’s arm down”.

So one by one they gave it a shot.

And one by one they were all beaten.

There was one guy, a college baseball teammate of his son’s,

who had 25 inch arms.

Think about that for a second.

25 inch arms!

That’s the size of some women’s waist.

He told us he never lies because he never wants to ever have to think about what he said.

So this large-armed guy decided to challenge our elderly friend in arm wrestling one day.

It ended in a draw. 

Their strength was so equally matched 
that one couldn’t budge the other.

It was later found out that the young guy was on steroids 
and he was kicked off the baseball team.

The old man taught Monte the proper way to shake a man’s hand to show them you could mean business if you had to.

Monte’s face got red and he told us later that his grip was so tight that it HURT.

He also shared how relieved he was that he wasn’t asked 
to see if he could put the old man’s “arm down”.


We all sat at the edge of our seats listening to this man tell story after story.

After he left we realized we’d never asked his name.


worried to death he’d fall or get blown over in the snowy conditions, 

watched him like a hawk as he walked to his car, 
brushed off the snow and drove away.

We all missed him after he left.

This sweet, lonely, dear man, who was missing his wife on Valentine’s Day. 

Who gave us a wonderful glimpse at not only what enduring love looks like,
but an adventurous spirit.

What Joy Is Mine


  1. Seriously, write a book! I love McDaniel's sweet heart.

    1. Karmen,

      Would love to but fear it would be 4,000 pages long! :)

  2. Haha. That is why there are sequels. You can do it by category: family, Faith, random things.

  3. Anonymous6:04 AM

    Loved the story! As far as your couch story, isn't true how things don't necessarily turn out how you think it should yet how it is supposed to. And the dear old man, wow! Everyone has a story and everyone is important. It's people like you who take the time to notice and engage! That's the best thing about life! I can tell it's never dull when you guys are around. Way to live in the moment and soak it all in, and share some time with a stranger who after some time with him, didn't seem like such a stranger after all. Tasha Intriere Susi xoxo

  4. You have a gift. This was an easy read. Thanks for linking up at Thursday Favorite Things. XO


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