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Thank God for small favors

I love being a florist! However, in any business, there can be a “price to pay.” It's funny that I used the phrase, “price to pay.” Keep reading, and you will see the relevance of “price” in this story, which is most definitely not about me.
Author Felecia George Prince shares a story about how young Langston Johnson eased her burden on a long day and night of floral design. Credit: Johnson Family

I love being a florist! However, in any business, there can be a “price to pay.”  It's funny that I used the phrase, “price to pay.”  Keep reading, and you will see the relevance of “price” in this story, which is most definitely not about me. 

Even though I really love designing with flowers and things, there is one major thing I find unwelcoming! 

First, it’s not my clients, because my clients are wonderful! Without them, there would be no business. No, it’s not the work itself or shopping for flowers. I love this. Probably a little too much if you could see the enormous inventory and knew the money I have spent over a span of 25 years on supplies. Yes, days and nights may get long on this journey, and the physical and mental toll can be challenging at times -- but certainly not unwelcoming. When I am asked to create an arrangement for someone, it’s just refreshing to me! It’s a service I love providing to others.

So, what is the major unwelcoming part of my floral design business that I am referring to? Well, I am so glad you asked.  It’s the “Price!”  No, not the price of the materials or flowers; it's the process of removing price tags! It’s kind of a love-hate situation because it slows me down as I work. There are times when I would just love to pay someone to travel along with me on a decorating job, and the only job that person would do is remove the price tags from the flowers. What a blessing that would be.  

The author's floral work (Photo: Felecia Prince)

Sometimes a small job is so much bigger

As I partake in this journey to highlight and write about youth in our local community, I just had to write this article. It’s not an article or a story about a life-or-death experience where this kid saved a life; however, he did help save time for me. It isn’t about a young person that invented a great product or created his or her own business with his hands, but it is about a kid that used his hands to remove an adhesive application that would have, in other words, made a long day even longer.

Yes, it is about a true little superhero that came to my rescue. To some, the job may have seemed so small; but thank God for small favors.

This is a story about kindness, great work ethics, unselfishness, perseverance, and love. I believe these are wonderful character traits that should be instilled in all kids, and adults also. 

This little 7-year-old saw a need, never complained about doing the work, and made himself available at every call. I was ever so grateful for him. Sometimes, God shows up in situations that seem ever so small but are actually ever so LARGE. I thank God for “small favors.”

Little superhero Langston Johnson

Readers, I would like for you to meet Langston Johnson! He is my little superhero!  

About a year ago, I was asked by Langston’s daddy, Rev. Dr. Francys Johnson, to do some decorating jobs for the two churches where he pastored, Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Pembroke, Georgia, and Magnolia Missionary Baptist Church in Statesboro, Georgia. I was very appreciative that he asked me to decorate, and of course, I gladly accepted the job. 

That particular day started out early with other multiple jobs which pushed my start time to later in the evening for the churches. I set a plan to work in Pembroke first, because of the longer distance, and move my way back to Statesboro, where I would complete the job before heading home to Metter. 

Langston Johnson
Langston Johnson (Photo Courtesy of Johnson Family)

When I arrived in the evening to begin at Mt. Moriah in Pembroke, not only was Pastor Johnson there to meet me but so was his 7-year-old son, Langston. Langston seemed to be enjoying himself hanging out with his dad.  He was moving swiftly around the church at play as his dad was diligently at work within.  

A few months ago, I shared this story with his mother, Dr. Meca Williams-Johnson, and she told me that Langston loved hanging out with daddy because daddy would allow him some of those long hours. 

As I worked, Langston and I would engage in small talk about things like school, extra-curricular activities, and other things. This particular occasion was actually the first time I met Langston. Langston was very friendly and extremely intelligent, as he would expound on words that were several levels beyond an average 7-year-old. I was indeed impressed with this about him.

As I began to remove the flowers to decorate, I started to notice an unwelcoming sight: those price tags. I knew each one had to be removed from the flowers before I could design the arrangement. What an unwelcoming job for me. It was already after 6, and I knew this removal process would only slow me down. It was moving later in the evening, and I had another church to decorate in Statesboro. 

A little help goes a very long way

I don’t remember if Langston asked or if the moment just happened, but the opportunity was presented.  Langston gladly accepted the position as the “Price Tag Surgeon.” He didn’t waver, nor did he get weary in welldoing. He didn’t start a campaign of, “What are you going to pay me or what can I get?” He just volunteered to help remove all those price tags from flowers.

Some of the price tags were easily removed and some were a little more difficult, but Langston never complained. All I had to say was, “Langston, here’s another one.” “Guess what Langston?” He knew the assignment, and he made my job much smoother.

Finally, the job was completed in Pembroke, and I proceeded to pack my vehicle when I heard Langston let out this ultimate statement, “I am hungry! I am so hungry!”  I guess those “price tags” had worked up a hunger in Langston. So I started to think of what I had as food to offer Langston. During all those hours of work, he never talked about being hungry. He was just right by my side helping me to complete the job. 

Quickly, I thought, "I have some lollipops!" I told Langston that I only had candy, but he would have to ask his dad first. Langston continued to repeat, “I am so hungry.”  Langston went to find his dad. Quickly, when he returned, he told me that his daddy said yes. After working with those price tags and working up a hunger,  Langston seemed to be so grateful to receive the lollipops. It was a bittersweet meal for a little kid that had given so much. 

Powered by a lollipop, a Happy Meal, and a willing heart

The job in Pembroke was completed, and it was time to travel to Statesboro. On my way, I did stop at McDonald's to pick up a little food and drink for myself, then I journeyed on to Magnolia in Statesboro to complete the final decorating job for the evening. Pastor Johnson and Langston also left heading to Statesboro because I needed to get into the church. When I arrived, I noticed that Pastor Johnson and Langston had not arrived, but shortly afterward, I saw their truck approaching the church, which was also located in Bulloch County. 

Langston Johnson
Langston with his microscope (Photo Courtesy Johnson Family)

As I moved supplies from my vehicle to the inside of  the church, I heard this little sweet voice say, “I am eating!” It was great to see that Langston was eating, now more than a lollipop. I could recognize that his daddy had also stopped by McDonald's and got Langston some food. A few lollipops and a Happy Meal, Langston was ready to work again! 

By this point, Langston was very familiar with his job of removing the price tags from the flowers. There were so many tags. "One call, that’s all" Langston needed to get those tags off. We worked from the front door throughout the church. Langston hung in there with me even as the hour grew later and later. Sometimes I would find him resting on a pew, then he would be up again.  

“Whew, it’s really past my bedtime,” Langston would say as the night got longer. Still, if I needed him, he would never reject me. But, as the night continued to grow longer, I would hear those words again, just a little bit stronger, “It’s REALLY past my bedtime. It’s really, really past my bedtime!” Still, Langston powered through. Using the fuel of a lollipop and a Happy Meal, he worked tirelessly to remove every price tag with a willing heart. 

Well, this ends my story, but my heart will always be grateful for little 7-year-old Langston Johnson that I got to know so well on a long day and night. Because of his unselfishness, the works of  Langston Johnson will always remind me of these words: "Thank God for small favors."