When Relationships Collide, Session 5: Vinegar or Honey

By Wilma Moody

Mama always said you could catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

vinegarI knew what Mama meant, but it wasn’t easy to speak in honeyed tones to the rude clerk at the grocery store where I shopped.

The store had a new computer system, and sale items were often rung up at the regular price. It seemed every week I was at the service desk, asking for a refund from the surly lady.

It’s going to take a lot of honey to change that woman’s attitude, I thought. I decided to try the honey/vinegar test on her. But first, I needed to pray about the best way to approach the situation. After my prayer, an idea popped into my head. Everyone loves my crock pot candy. I would make some for the clerk.

I placed half a dozen pieces in a pretty box with a note that said, “Have a Sweet Day.” I told her to let me know if she wanted the recipe. While I was checking out, the clerk came hurrying over. She was smiling! “I definitely want the recipe,” she said. “The candy is delicious.” From then on, she always gave me a smile and encouraged me to come to her anytime I was overcharged.

Since that experiment worked so well, I wondered how I might brighten other people’s lives. Praying brought to mind several people who could use some cheering up.

A teenage girl in our church never smiled. She was smart, but she always hung her head. I baked a huge cookie for her and included a note that said, “You are a Smart Cookie.” From then on, she held her head a little higher.

An elderly lady at church often said she didn’t feel worth two cents. I gave her a gift box with a roll of mints and a note that said, “When you don’t feel worth two cents, just remember you are worth a mint.”

On a cold winter day, I splurged on strawberries in the store. I hurried home and made a pie. I was about to try it when the faces of two elderly couples flashed through my mind. Knowing they could not afford strawberries in the winter, I dished out four nice pieces of pie and took them to the couples. They were elated. One of the ladies hugged me and confessed that during her prayer time, she had voiced a wish for a nice dessert.

I am convinced that people are longing for a gesture of love. On the days when I earnestly pray to be a blessing, I nearly always think of someone who needs some TLC, including those who are hard to love. I don’t know if honey is better for catching flies, but it sure helps when working with people.

Wilma Moody, from Aurora, Mo., and her husband, Vic, have been married for over 60 years. Wilma has written for several publications and is currently writing a book. One of her top priorities is spending time with her 16 grandchildren.

maturelivingThis article first appeared in the November, 2011 issue of Mature Living. To subscribe, click here or on the magazine cover.



  1. Muriel Mason says:

    What a wonderful story about this great lady. I have know a few people that were put in my path and I have always remembered them.

  2. Susan L'Heureux says:

    I’m curious about those recipes!

  3. Joyce Henderson says:

    When you put part of a story in the lesson book, so many in my class do not have the internet and cannot finish reading the story. I try to find this story and print it for them. Some I have not yet found. Must you make this so difficult for the seniors who do not have a computer and could not use the net if they had access?
    Thanks for listening. Joyce

    • James Jackson says:

      Hello Joyce– thanks for the comment. We absolutely are not trying to make it difficult for anyone to finish reading the story. We apologize that you have had difficulty finding the stories on the site. You should be able simply to enter the title of the story in the search bar. If you put the title in quotes, that story should be the first, if not only, result that pops up when the search completes. Beginning with the Spring issue, we will also include the QR code in the senior adult material. Admittedly, this won’t make it any easier for those who don’t have a smart phone to begin with, but for those that do, snapping the QR code will take them directly to the article without their having to enter any web address or search terms.
      I know the easiest thing would be for us to reprint the entire article in the resource, but because of space limitations we simply are not able to do that. We will continue to look for ways to make the navigation of the blog site easier. Thank you again for your comments.


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