Thursday, December 13, 2007

Andy was getting cold sitting out
in his back yard in the snow. Andy
didn't wear boots; he didn't like
them and anyway he didn't own
any. The thin sneakers he wore had
a few holes in them and they did a
poor job of keeping out the cold.
Andy had been in his backyard for
about an hour already. And, try as
he might, he could not come up with
an idea for his mother's Christmas
gift. He shook his head as he
thought, "This is useless, even if
I do come up with an idea, I don't
have any money to spend."

Ever since his father had passed away
three years ago, the family of
five had struggled. It wasn't because
his mother didn't care, or try, there
just never seemed to be enough. She
worked nights at the hospital, but the
small wage that she was earning could
only be stretched so far. What the
family lacked in money and material
things, they more than made up for in
love and family unity. Andy, the only
boy in the family, had three sisters,
two older and one younger. His older
sisters ran the household in their
mother's absence. All three of his
sisters had already made beautiful
gifts for their mother.

Somehow it just wasn't fair. Here
it was Christmas Eve already, and he
had nothing. Wiping a tear from his
eye, Andy kicked the snow and started
to walk down to the street where the
shops and stores were. It wasn't easy
being six without a father, especially
when he needed a man to talk to. Andy
walked from shop to shop, looking into
each decorated window. Everything
seemed so beautiful and so out of
reach. It was starting to get dark and
Andy reluctantly turned to walk home
when suddenly his eyes caught the
glimmer of the setting sun's rays
reflecting off of something along
the curb He reached down and
discovered a shiny dime.
Never before has anyone felt so
wealthy as Andy felt at
that moment.
As he held his new found treasure, a
warmth spread throughout his entire
body and he walked into the first store
he saw. His excitement quickly turned
cold when salesperson after
salesperson told him that he could
not buy anything with only a dime.

He saw a flower shop and went inside
to wait in line. When the shop
owner asked if he could help him, Andy
presented the dime and asked if he
could buy one flower for his mother's
Christmas gift The shop owner looked
at Andy and his ten cent offering. Then
he put his hand on Andy's shoulder
and said to him, "You just wait here
and I'll see what I can do for you."

As Andy waited, he looked at the
beautiful flowers and even though he
was a boy, he could see why mothers
and girls liked flowers. The sound of
the door closing as the last customer
left, jolted Andy back to reality. All
alone in the shop, Andy began to feel
alone and afraid. Suddenly the shop
owner came out and moved to the counter.

There, before Andy's eyes, lay twelve
long stem, red roses, with leaves
of green and tiny white flowers all
tied together with a big silver bow.
Andy's heart sank as the owner picked
them up and placed them gently into a
long white box. "That will be ten cents
young man." The shop owner said reaching
out his hand for the dime. Slowly, Andy
moved his hand to give the man
his dime.

Could this be true? No one else
would give him a thing for his dime!
Sensing the boy's reluctance,
the shop owner added, "I just happened
to have some roses on sale for ten
cents a dozen. Would you like them?" This
time Andy did not hesitate, and when
the man placed the long box into his
hands, he knew it was true. Walking
out the door that the owner was holding
for Andy, he heard the shop keeper
say, "Merry Christmas, son."

As he returned inside, the shop keepers
wife walked out. "Who were you
talking to back there and where are
the roses you were fixing?" Staring
out the window, and blinking the tears
from his own eyes, he replied, "A strange
thing happened to me this morning. While
I was setting up things to open the
shop, I thought I heard a voice telling
me to set aside a dozen of my best
roses for a special gift. I wasn't
sure at the time whether I had lost my
mind or what, but I set them aside
anyway. Then just a few minutes ago, a
little boy came into the shop and
wanted to buy a flower for his mother
with one small dime. When I looked at
him, I saw myself, many years ago.
I was a poor boy with nothing to buy
my mother a Christmas gift. A bearded
man whom I never knew, stopped me on the
street and told me that he wanted to
give me ten dollars. When I saw that
little boy tonight, I knew who that
voice was, and I put together a dozen
of my very best roses."

The shop owner and his wife hugged
each other tightly, and as they
stepped out into the bitter cold
air, they somehow didn't feel
cold at all.

e Author Unknown e

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