One of my favorite stories left behind by Mollie Moore Godbold concerns her brother-in-law, Jim Slack. Jim and Mollie’s sister, Clara, lived with the sisters’ mother, Sarah Moore, in a beautiful home that still stands right down the street from me here on Elm Street. Those of you who know me know that I am not big on government programs of any kind. What I am very big on, however, is people helping people…and that is why today’s story resonates with me.
It seems that the month was December, and the setting was Fort Worth, Texas. It was right in the midst of the Great Depression when Jim Slack left the Blackstone Hotel with no real destination in mind. Before he had taken many steps, a man asked him for enough money to buy a hot cup of coffee on that cold winter night.
Jim asked if the man wouldn’t like something to eat with the coffee as well, and when he was answered in the afirmative, he walked with the man to what was described as a small hole-in-the-wall cafe where the aroma of Irish Stew filled the air. Jim paid for the stew and coffee and left the man eating there.
It wasn’t long until another man asked if he could spare enough for a cup of coffee, and again Jim escorted the man to the cafe and paid for his meal. After Jim had fed a third man, he began to really think about just how many there might be on the cold streets that night…cold, out of work, hungry men.
Jim Slack walked into an area pool hall where he sought out the toughest looking man there, a man who also looked very hungry. He told the man that he would like to feed some hungry men that night if he would help him find them.
After feeding the tough first, Jim set out with his companion who quickly took charge, knowing just where to look for those men Jim sought to feed. Each man was asked if he were hungry and if he had any money. If he was, and if he didn’t, he was given money for stew and coffee and directed to the little cafe. They were also given an extra quarter, the price for renting a cot for the night.
After their work was done, the man that Jim believed had been a prize fighter escorted him back to the Blackstone where Jim gave him a dollar before they parted. According to Mollie Moore Godbold, she was one of the few people who ever knew this story….until now….
…And I hope this story makes all of us search ourselves to see just how often we give of ourselves when we see a need…