The Chips that Tell a Story

Dear Reader:

I have loved potato chips since I was a little girl and have never walked out on my love affair with them to date! Any one in our family… aunt, uncle, grandparent, cousin… whoever kept me (when I was little) knew very quickly not to ever give me a sandwich or burger without potato chips. If Becky was coming to spend the night a quick trip to the grocery was the first thing on the host or hostess’ grocery list. Lays Plain Potato Chips!

I have always been a Lays loyal fan…until recently. There is a BP station near my home that I use regularly to fill the car up with gas and pick up odds and ends I might have forgotten during my weekly grocery run.

One day I looked around for my Lays potato chips and there were none…no regular (plain) chips. In desperation I saw a bag of Uncle Ray’s chips and gave it a try. I love them…they are the lightest, saltiest chips around and since my daily oral chemo pills affect my sense of taste… deadening my taste buds somewhat…these chips have become my favorite.

And it is just not because of the chip itself, but because on every bag Uncle Ray tells a story and then lists the positive attributes needed from the story to be successful in any endeavor.

When I ‘googled’ the chips to find out about the homespun stories on the back…I was in for an even bigger story…one that almost took Ray Jenkins’ life.

Uncle Ray’s Divine Revelation

“He grew up poor in the projects of Detroit… dropping out of school after the 8th grade to take a job in an iron foundry. He joined the Navy where he was assigned as a cook on the USS Bristol. It was there that Ray learned skills to enter the food industry. When he returned home, Ray went into business for himself.”

A Young Ray Jenkins“We had $150, and we started with chip dip,” Ray recalls. “We had a local dairy make the chip dip, and I sold it to taverns, to bowling allies, to little stores, out of the back seat of my car.”

He met his wonderful wife Myrna on a city bus, and they married.

At the time, Ray didn’t think much about God. “I thought if I could see God, then I might believe in Him,” he says.

Ray bought an old potato chip factory but his business struggled. He could barely support his family, and the pressure was mounting.

“The banks had told us, ‘You’re bankrupt and don’t know it; sell your equipment and whatever you have because you have a negative net worth…you’re in a terrible situation” Ray says.

“My god was my business. That was a failure. I put all my heart,  my effort, energy, and everything else into providing a living and to make that business work…but the harder I worked, the worse it got.

“I started drinking. I stopped every night in the bar and drank. It was to relieve the pressure. I didn’t have the answer to make the business work. No matter what I did, it seemed to be wrong. So I stopped in the tavern and drank, drank, drank.”

He continued to drink until one night when he stumbled into the house. Ray started vomiting blood.

“Ray was bringing up blood out of every open orifice of his body,” his wife says.”

She was told he wasn’t going to make it. Later Ray said he felt his spirit leave his body and he was so ashamed. Yet still he felt this amazing love from God…one He didn’t deserve. He wanted another chance to earn that love and do a better job here on earth.

…Ray spent two weeks in the hospital and received several blood transfusions. “When I got out of the hospital, I told Myrna, ‘There is a God. I don’t know who He is, or where He is, but I’ve got to find Him. I can’t live any longer without God.’

“Later on I realized that I had lost enough blood that I should have been dead. I was dead. I left my body. There was no question in my mind. The Lord saved my life, so He could save my soul.

“I finally felt a peace that I’ve never experienced in my life, and I found for the first time what I was seeking in my life, in alcohol, and anything else the world can offer and that’s His peace.”

And with that peace, Ray says that God began to work in other areas of his life. “The Lord gave me ideas and plans,” he says. “It was like a master business person talking to me. In my mind and heart, I knew I had the right answers. I went forward, and that year we made $85,000 profit.”

Today, Ray and Myrna run a successful snack food company that sold 25 million bags of potato chips last year. On the back of each bag, Ray has printed stories of his life and Scriptures with the Gospel message.

He does this to honor the God who brought him hope in a hopeless situation. “With me, He should have run out of patience a long time ago, and although I was a sinner, He still loved me.”


So until tomorrow…the next time you go buy some chips look around and see if you spot a bag of Uncle Ray’s chips…(I bet you can’t eat just one)…Take your time and read one of his true homespun stories on the back (while munching away.) It is the perfect way to spend the day!

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Speaking of spending perfect days…Eloise and I had a “chuckling” good time yesterday….she thought everyone and everything was funny…me, Mollie, and especially Poogie the dog. She has got a great deep belly laugh now that makes everyone around her laugh harder. Here are some photos…sadly she is just starting to “teethe” so she looks for anything…baby stroller buckle straps… whatever she can find to chew on.

Eloise loves to sleep on top of my nice cushy stomach…for an hour plus nap…I love it too…hoping it will push it down…permanently! You noticed we were color coordinated yesterday…we have to plan ahead!


About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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7 Responses to The Chips that Tell a Story

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    Eloise is beautiful! Love you! Have a great day😘


  2. Wonderful post. Great story of redemption and restoral. Eloise is adorable. That was my mother’s name.


  3. bcparkison says:

    Cute,cute,cute …yes she is.
    Don’t think we havy the chips here but I will pay more attention in case we do.


  4. Jo Dufford says:

    Eloise is an adorable baby, and there is nothing better than the laugh of a child. Since, I too have been a Lays plain chip fan and you re saying that Uncle Rays might even be better, I will be purchasing a bag soon. Great post today.


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