Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.1
January 1977

Who Steals My Purse---

Robert F. Turner

I like to think that the person who stole a nandina bush from our lot was conscience stricken as he dug it up. He was a hard-working man, with a large family, and it took every cent he could earn to buy groceries. There was no money for Christmas gifts, so he swallowed his pride and got a few toys from Good Will for the children. But his wife was ill, and when he saw the colorful leaves on our nandina he remembered how she had longed for flowers she could not have. If only he could plant such a bush on the barren ground outside her window. We could take the loss very nicely under those circumstances, regretting only that he did not ask for the bush so there would be no theft, and we could help dig others to go with it.

But when we think the bush was taken by a shrub thief, who sold a truck-load of stolen bushes for a bottle of gin; or by a woman (they do it, you know) who just wanted shrubbery without paying for it; or by a drop-out cop-out kid, who dug it for kicks and then threw it away — well, that makes it a capital crime. Capital — not because the bush was of great value. (I thinned it out of our front yard, and threw it away —- then, retrieved it and stuck it out on the vacant lot just to see if it would grow.) But capital — because of what it says about great and growing segments of our society.

Integrity is not measured in dollars. Character is not dependent upon clothing or business position. It seems many have decided it is all right to steal a few dollars, or the company tools, or an employers time. And it is O.K. for big political figures, or VIPs of the white-collar world, to steal large sums — just so they dont get caught and embarrass their party or company. But in the process, people made in Gods image are selling out themselves.

The hand that tore a worthless bush from the ground, may have torn an immortal soul beyond repair.