Going to bat for grandma
Chase Watts excitedly laid his money on the counter for the purchases he had just made at One More Time Thrift Store on Saturday afternoon. Among the 11-year-old's purchases was a lighthouse soap dispenser, a ceramic teapot with tea included, two candle holders and two brass turtle dove statues.
"They're for my grandma. It's her birthday today," he explained in an excited voice before handing volunteer worker Judy Traen money for his purchases. "I'm going to bring these presents home and then ride my bike over to another store to get some candles and decorations."
Traen carefully wrapped each gift in newspaper to prevent them from banging together and possibly breaking during Chase's bike ride. She also gave him a few complimentary gift bags. Before exiting the store, he flashed a wide smile and said "thank you so much" to Traen in a polite and sincere voice.
"It's so refreshing to see a little kid like that," said Traen.
"He is such a nice and polite boy. He even asked if he can volunteer to work here." Chase exited the store, hopped on his bike with his bag of gifts and pedaled the six blocks to his home on a blustery day that also featured a steady drizzle.
The minute he arrived at his house, Chase started to place the presents he bought in the gift bags for his grandmother, Brenda Rolfes, who turned 71 on May 18. His parents, Allen Watts and Lana Rolfes, moved from Marshall to Minneota on April 15 and live on the corner of Third and Monroe Streets.
They also have an older daughter, Jordan, 21; and a younger daughter, Aubrey, 7.
Allen works at ADM Corn Processing in Marshall, while Lana works for Schwan's in the Home Service Office in Marshall. "Chase loves that thrift store," said Lana. "He collects those decorative Avon cologne bottles and he's bought several of them in there."
Not long after he filled the gift bags, Chase was out the door. Once he arrived at Dollar General, his hair now wet from the precipitation, he hurried down an aisle to where party supplies were hanging on peg hooks. He snatched up some party candles and a few decorations and went to the checkout counter.
"That will be $4.72," the clerk said. Chase handed her a $5 bill, took the change from the clerk, and quickly exited the store. In a flash, he was down the street and heading home. Prior to Chase's outing, his twin brother Kallen was riding his bike to the store to buy his grandmother's favorite candy for the party.
"We offered to give them a ride, but the boys love to ride bike and do things themselves," said their mother.
Brenda and her husband, Mike, aka grandma and grandpa, came to Minneota to spend her birthday with family members. The boys, who are currently in fifth grade and finishing school in Marshall and will be attending school next year in Minneota, spend time with their grandparents at their home for a couple of weeks each summer.
"I love my grandma," Chase said. "I'd do anything for her." Kallen shook his head as if to echo his brother's sentiments.
The boys made their grandmother's special day even more special with their acts of kindness.
"She loved all the gifts they picked out for her," said Lana. "She collects lighthouses and the soap dispenser Chase picked out matched her bathroom décor. He must have seen that from when he stayed there."
A little later in the day, Chase returned to the thrift store to buy three more of the Avon bottles. Upon paying for them, he asked Traen if they had a baseball bat for sale.
Traen replied that there was indeed a baseball bat for sale in the store.
"I should buy that for my grandmother," Chase remarked. "She lives in kind of a bad neighborhood and she could probably use that." Even without a bat, he just hit a home run for his grandma.