Some Real soppy Stuff!




Below are links to some real soppy stories and poems. Get out your hankerchief and have it ready. Remember a good cry is almost as good for you as a good laugh!

Just click on the list title to go to that item.



List of Soppy Stories!


Ok, the Soppy Stories start from here...


A Moment Of Joy.


Contributed By Eric Gathers, USA.


Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy's life, a life for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn't realize was that it was also a ministry.
Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, made me laugh and weep.
But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940's movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
"It's nothing," I told her. "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."
"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said.
When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said. "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."
I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left," she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing. As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. "How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.
"Nothing," I said.
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers," I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient at the end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life. We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware--beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, ...but they will always remember how you made them feel.
Take a moment to stop and appreciate the memories you have made, the memory making opportunities around you and make someone feel special today.

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An Old Woman's Poem.


When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the authoress of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet. Goes to show that we all leave "SOME footprints in time"...

An Old Lady's Poem
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice, "I do wish you'd try!"
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe...
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill...
Is that what you're thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse; you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of ten... with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters, who love one another.
A young girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride soon at twenty-my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.
At twenty-five now, I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.
A woman of thirty, my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play round my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is dead;
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I've known.
I'm now an old woman... and nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles, grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living life over again.
I think of the years... all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, nurses, open and see,
Not a crabby old woman; look closer... see ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet an old person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within...
We will one day be there, too!

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Daddy's Day.



Her hair up in a pony tail, her favorite dress tied with a bow,
Today was Daddy's Day at school, and she couldn't wait to go,
But her mommy tried to tell her, that she probably should stay home,
Why the kids might not understand, if she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid; she knew just what to say,
What to tell her classmates, on this Daddy's Day.
But still her mother worried, for her to face this day alone,
And that was why once again, she tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school,
eager to tell them all About a dad she never sees, a dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back, for everyone to meet,
Children squirming impatiently, anxious in their seats.
One by one the teacher called, a student from the class,
To introduce their daddy, as seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name, every child turned to stare,
Each of them were searching, for a man who wasn't there.
"Where's her daddy at?" she heard a boy call out,
"She probably doesn't have one," another student dared to shout,
And from somewhere near the back, she heard a daddy say,
"Looks like another deadbeat dad, too busy to waste his day."
The words did not offend her, as she smiled at her friends And looked back at her teacher, who told her to begin And with hands behind her back, slowly she began to speak And out from the mouth of a child, came words incredibly unique
"My Daddy couldn't be here, because he lives so far away,
But I know he wishes he could be with me on this day,
And though you cannot meet him, I wanted you to know,
All about my daddy, and how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories, he taught me to ride my bike,
He surprised me with pink roses, and taught me to fly a kite,
We used to share fudge sundaes, and ice cream in a cone,
And though you cannot see him, I'm not standing all alone.
'Cause my daddy's always with me, even though we are apart,
I know because he told me, he'll forever be here in my heart".
With that her little hand reached up, and lay across her chest,
Feeling her own heartbeat, beneath her favorite dress,
And from somewhere in the crowd of dads,
her mother stood in tears,
Proudly watching her daughter, who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love of a man not in her life,
Doing what was best for her, doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down, staring straight into the crowd,
She finished with a voice so soft, but its message clear and loud,
"I love my daddy very much, he's my shining star,
And if he could he'd be here, but heaven's just oo far,
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away."
And then she closed her eyes, and saw him there that day.
And to her mother's amazement, she witnessed with surprise,
A room full of daddies and children, all starting to close their eyes,
Who knows what they saw before them,
who knows what they felt inside,
Perhaps for merely a second, they saw him at her side.
"I know you're with me Daddy," to the silence she called out,
And what happened next made believers, of those once filled with doubt,
Not one in that room could explain it, for each of their eyes had been closed,
But there placed on her desktop, was a beautiful fragrant pink rose.
And a child was blessed, if only a moment,
by the love of her shining bright star,
And given the gift of believing,
that heaven is never too far.

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A Soldier's Rendezvous.


Six minutes to six, said the clock over the information booth in New York's Grand Central Station. The tall young Army officer lifted his sunburned face and narrowed his eyes to note the exact time. His heart was pounding with a beat that choked him. In six minutes he would see the woman who had filled such a special place in his life for the past 18 months, the woman he had never seen yet whose words had sustained him unfailingly.
Lt. Blandford remembered one day in particular, the worst of the fighting, when his plane had been caught in the midst of a pack of enemy planes. In one of those letters, he had confessed to her that often he felt fear, and only a few days before this battle, he had received her answer:"Of course you fear...all brave men do." Next time you doubt yourself, I want you to hear my voice reciting to you: 'Yea, though I walk through the valley of Death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me.'....He had remembered that and it renewed his strength.
He was going to hear her voice now. Four minutes to six. A girl passed closer to him, and Lt. Blandford started. she was wearing a flower, but it was not the little red rose they had agreed upon. Besides, this girl was only about eighteen, and Hollis Maynel had told him she was 30. "What of it?" he had answered, "I'm 32." He was 29. His mind went back to that book he had read in the training camp."Of Human Bondage" it was; and throughout the book were notes in a woman's handwriting. He had never believed that a woman could see into a man's heart so tenderly, so understandingly. Her name was on the bookplate: Hollis Maynell. He got a hold of a New York City telephone book and found her address. He had written, she had answered. Next day he had been shipped out, but they had gone on writing. For thirteen months she had faithfully replied. When his letters did not arrive, she wrote anyway, and now he believed he loved her, and she loved him. But she had refused all his pleas to send him her photograph. She had explained: "If your feeling for me had no reality, what I look like won't matter. Suppose I am beautiful. I'd always be haunted that you had been taking a chance on just that, and that kind of love would disgust me. Suppose that I'm plain, (and you must admit that this is more likely), then I'd always fear that you were only going on writing because you were lonely and had no one else. No, don't ask for my picture. When you come to New York, you shall see me and then you shall make your own decision."
One minute to six...he flipped the pages of the book he held. Then Lt. Blandford's heart lept. A young woman was coming toward him. Her figure was long and slim; her blond hair lay back in curls from delicate ears. Her eyes were blue as flowers, her lips and chin had a gentle firmness. In her pale-green suit, she was like springtime come alive. He started toward her, forgetting to notice that she was wearing no rose, and as he moved, a small, provocative smile curved her lips. "Going my way, soldier?" she murmured. He made one step closer to her. Then he saw Hollis Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl, a woman well past 40, her graying hair tucked under a worn hat. She was more than plump. Her thick-ankled feet were thrust into low-heeled shoes. But she wore a red rose on her rumpled coat. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. Blandford felt as though he were being split in two, so keen was his desire to follow the girl, yet so deep was his longing for the woman whose spirit had truly companioned and upheld his own, and there she stood. He could see her pale face was gentle and sensible; her gray eyes had a warm twinkle. Lt. Blandford did not hesitate. His fingers gripped the worn copy of "Of Human Bondage" which was to identify him to her. This would not be love, but it would be something special, a friendship for which he had been and must be ever grateful... He squared his shoulders, saluted, and held the book out toward the woman, although even while he spoke he felt the bitterness of his disappointment. "I'm Lt. Blandford, and you're Miss Maynell. I'm so glad you could meet me. May--may I take you to dinner?"
The woman's face broadened in a tolerant smile. "I don't know what this is all about, son," she answered. "That young lady in the green suit, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said that if you asked me to go out with you, I should tell you she's waiting for you in that restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test."
- Unknown

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How Rudolph Came To Be.


Hi all, I've never heard how this story got started until now. Thought it was interesting.

An inspiring story...
On a December night in Chicago several years ago, a little girl climbed onto her father's lap and asked a question. It was a simple question, asked in children's curiosity, yet it had a heart rending effect on Robert May.
"Daddy," four-year old Barbara asked, "Why isn't my Mommy just like everybody else's mommy?"
Bob May stole a glance across his shabby two room apartment. On a couch lay his young wife, Evelyn, racked with cancer. She had been bedridden; for two years, all Bob's income and smaller savings had gone to pay for treatments and medicines.
The terrible ordeal already had shattered two adult lives. Now Bob suddenly realized the happiness of his growing daughter was also in jeopardy. As he ran his fingers through Barbara's hair, he prayed for some satisfactory answer to her question.
Bob May knew only too well what it meant to be "different." As a child he had been weak and delicate. With the innocent cruelty of children, his playmates had continually goaded the stunted, skinny lad to tears. Later at Dartmouth, from which he was graduated in 1926, Bob May was so small that he was always being mistaken for someone's little brother.
Nor was his adult life much happier. Unlike many of his classmates who floated from college into plush jobs, Bob became a lowly copy writer for Montgomery Ward, the big Chicago mail order house. Now at 33 Bob was deep in debt, depressed and sad.
Although Bob did not know it at the time, the answer he gave the tousled haired child on his lap was to bring him to fame and fortune. It was also to bring joy to countless thousands of children like his own Barbara. On that December night in the shabby Chicago apartment, Bob cradled his little girl's head against his shoulder and began to tell a story...
"Once upon a time there was a reindeer named Rudolph, the only reindeer in the world that had a big red nose. Naturally people called him Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." As Bob went on to tell about Rudolph, he tried desperately to communicate to Barbara the knowledge that, even though some creatures of God are strange and different, they often enjoy the miraculous power to make others happy.
Rudolph, Bob explained, was terribly embarrassed by his unique nose. Other reindeer laughed at him; his mother and father and sister were mortified too. Even Rudolph wallowed in self pity. "Well," continued Bob, "one Christmas Eve, Santa Claus got his team of husky reindeer - Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen ready for their yearly trip around the world. The entire reindeer community assembled to cheer these great heroes on their way. But a terrible fog engulfed the earth that evening, and Santa knew that the mist was so thick he wouldn't be able to find any chimneys.
Suddenly Rudolph appeared, his red nose glowing brighter than ever. Santa sensed at once that here was the answer to his perplexing problem. He led Rudolph to the front of the sleigh, fastened the harness and climbed in. They were off! Rudolph guided Santa safely to every chimney that night. Rain and fog, snow and sleet; nothing bothered Rudolph, for his bright nose penetrated the mist like a beacon.
And so it was that Rudolph became the most famous and beloved of all the reindeer. The huge red nose he once hid in shame was now the envy of every buck and doe in the reindeer world. Santa Claus told everyone that Rudolph had saved the day and from that Christmas, Rudolph has been living serenely and happy."
Little Barbara laughed with glee when her father finished. Every night she begged him to repeat the tale until finally Bob could rattle it off in his sleep. Then, at Christmas time he decided to make the story into a poem like "The Night Before Christmas" and prepare it in bookish form illustrated with pictures, for Barbara's personal gift. Night after night, Bob worked on the verses after Barbara had gone to bed for he was determined his daughter should have a worthwhile gift, even though he could not afford to buy one...
Then as Bob was about to put the finishing touches on Rudolph, tragedy struck. Evelyn May died. Bob, his hopes crushed, turned to Barbara as chief comfort. Yet, despite his grief, he sat at his desk in the quiet, now lonely apartment, and worked on "Rudolph" with tears in his eyes.
Shortly after Barbara had cried with joy over his handmade gift on Christmas morning, Bob was asked to an employee's holiday party at Montgomery Wards. He didn't want to go, but his office associates insisted. When Bob finally agreed, he took with him the poem and read it to the crowd. First the noisy throng listened in laughter and gaiety. Then they became silent, and at the end, broke into spontaneous applause. That was in 1938.
By Christmas of 1947, some 6,000,000 copies of the booklet had been given away or sold, making Rudolph one of the most widely distributed books in the world. The demand for Rudolph sponsored products, increased so much in variety and number that educators and historians predicted Rudolph would come to occupy a permanent place in the Christmas legend.
Through the years of unhappiness, the tragedy of his wife's death and his ultimate success with Rudolph, Bob May has captured a sense of serenity. And as each Christmas rolls around he recalls with thankfulness the night when his daughter Barbara's questions, inspired him to write the story.

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Information Please!


Contributed by Lynn Williams, Georgia, U.S.A.

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was "Information, Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.
My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.
"Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.
A click of two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.
"Information."
"I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.
"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.
"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.
"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
"No," I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."
"Can you open the icebox?" she asked. I said I could. "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice.
After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk, which I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts. Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called "information please" and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was unconsoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"
She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Paul, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."
Somehow I felt better.
Another day I was on the telephone. "Information, please" "Information," said the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked. All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall.
As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said "Information please." Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. "Information." I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying, "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"
There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."
I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"
"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."
I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.
"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."
Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, "Information." I asked for Sally.
"Are you a friend?" she said.
"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.
"I'm sorry to have to tell you this," she said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."
Before I could hang up she said, "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Paul?"
"Yes."
"Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you."
The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."
I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
Never underestimate the impression you may make on others. Whose life have you touched today? Why not pass this on? I just did. Lifting you on eagle's wings. May you find the joy and peace you long for.
Life is a journey...NOT a guided tour

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Michael's Song.



Like any good mother, when Karen found out that another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her 3-year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling.
They find out that the new baby is going to be a girl, and day after day, night after night, Michael sings to his sister in Mommy's tummy. Then the labor pains come. Every five minutes ... every minute. But complications arise during delivery. Hours of labor. Would a C-section be required? Finally, Michael's little sister is born. But she is in serious condition. With siren howling in the night, the ambulance rushes the infant to the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary's Hospital, Knoxville, Tennessee.
The days inch by. The little girl gets worse. The pediatric specialist tells the parents, "There is very little hope. Be prepared for the worst.
"Karen and her husband contact a local cemetery about a burial plot. They have fixed up a special room in their home for the new baby - - now they plan a funeral.
Michael, keeps begging his parents to let him see his sister, "I want to sing to her," he says.

Week two in intensive care. It looks as if a funeral will come before the week is over. Michael keeps nagging about singing to his sister, but kids are never allowed in Intensive Care. But Karen makes up her mind. She will take Michael whether they like it or not. If he doesn't see his sister now, he may never see her alive.
She dresses him in an oversized scrub suit and marches him into ICU. He looks like a walking laundry basket, but the head nurse recognizes him as a child and bellows, "Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed!"
The mother rises up strong in Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glares steel-eyed into the head nurse's face, her lips a firm line. "He is not leaving until he sings to his sister!"
Karen tows Michael to his sister's bedside. He gazes at the tiny infant losing the battle to live. And he begins to sing. In the pure hearted voice of a 3-year-old, Michael sings: "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray." Instantly the baby girl responds. The pulse rate becomes calm and steady. And Michael keeps on singing. "You never know, dear, how much I love you, Please don't take my sunshine away---"
The ragged, strained breathing becomes as smooth as a kitten's purr. And Michael keeps on singing. "The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms..."
Michael's little sister relaxes in rest, healing rest. Tears conquer the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glows. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. Please don't, take my sunshine away."
Funeral plans are scrapped. The next, day-the very next day-the little girl is well enough to go home! Woman's Day magazine called it "the miracle of a brother's song." The medical staff just called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God's love!

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No Santa Claus?



I remember my first Christmas party with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing cross town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!"
My grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns.
Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me. "No Santa Claus!" she snorted. "Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let's go".
"Go? Go where, Grandma?" I asked. I hadn't even finished my second cinnamon bun.
"Where, " turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's.
I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping.
For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobbie Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class.
Bobbie Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out for recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobbie Decker didn't have a cough, and he didn't have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobbie Decker a coat. I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.
"Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down.
"Yes," I replied shyly. "It's ... for Bobbie."
The nice lady smiled at me. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat in Christmas paper and ribbons, and write, "To Bobbie, From Santa Claus" on it -- Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobbie Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobbie's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.
Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobbie. Forty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my grandma, in Bobbie Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were, ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.

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Stevie the Busboy.



For all of those wonderful people in our lives.
I try not to be biased, but I had my doubts about hiring Stevie. His placement counselor assured me that he would be a good, reliable busboy. But I had never had a mentally handicapped employee and wasn't sure I wanted one. I wasn't sure how my customers would react to Stevie. He was short, a little dumpy with the smooth facial features and thick - tongued speech of Down syndrome. I wasn't worried about most of my trucker customers because truckers don't generally care who buses tables as long as the meatloaf platter is good and the pies are homemade. The four-wheeler drivers were the ones who concerned me, the mouthy college kids traveling to school, the yuppie snobs who secretly polish their silverware with their napkins for fear of catching some dreaded truckstop germ. the pairs of white shirted business men on expense accounts who think every truckstop waitress wants to be flirted with. I knew those people would be uncomfortable around Stevie so I closely watched him for the first few weeks.
I shouldn't have worried. After the first week, Stevie had my staff wrapped around his stubby little finger, and within a month my truck regulars had adopted him as their official truckstop mascot. After that, I really didn't care what the rest of the customers thought of him. He was like a 21-year-old in blue jeans and Nikes, eager to laugh and eager to please, but fierce in his attention to his duties. Every salt and pepper shaker was exactly in its place, not a bread crumb or coffee spill was visible when Stevie got done with the table. Our only problem was persuading him to wait to clean a table until after the customers were finished. He would hover in the background, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, scanning the dining room until a table was empty. Then he would scurry to the empty table and carefully bus the dishes and glasses onto cart and meticulously wipe the table up with a practiced flourish of his rag. If he thought a customer was watching, his brow would pucker with added concentration. He took pride in doing his job exactly right, and you had to love how hard he tried to please each and every person he met.
Over time, we learned that he lived with his mother, a widow who was disabled after repeated surgeries for cancer. They lived on their Social Security benefits in public housing two miles from the truckstop. Their social worker, which stopped to check on him every so often, admitted they had fallen between the cracks. Money was tight, and what I paid him was probably the difference between them being able to live together and Stevie being sent to a group home.
That's why the restaurant was a gloomy place that morning last August, the first morning in three years that Stevie missed work. He was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester getting a new valve or something put in his heart. His social worker said that people with Down syndrome often had heart problems at an early age so this wasn't unexpected, and there was a good chance he would come through the surgery in good shape and be back at work in a few months.
A ripple of excitement ran through the staff later that morning when word came that he was out of surgery, in recovery and doing fine. Frannie, my head waitress, let out a war hoop and did a little dance in the aisle when she heard the good news. Belle Ringer, one of our regular trucker customers, stared at the sight of the 50-year-old grand- mother of four doing a victory shimmy beside his table. Frannie blushed, smoothed her apron and shot Belle Ringer a withering look.
He grinned. "OK, Frannie, what was that all about?" he asked.
"We just got word that Stevie is out of surgery and going to be okay."
"I was wondering where he was. I had a new joke to tell him. What was the surgery about?" he asked.
Frannie quickly told Belle Ringer and the other two drivers sitting at his booth about Stevie's surgery, then sighed.
"Yeah, I'm glad he is going to be OK," she said, "but I don't know how he and his Mom are going to handle all the bills. From what I hear, they're barely getting by as it is."
Belle Ringer nodded thoughtfully, and Frannie hurried off to wait on the rest of her tables.
Since I hadn't had time to round up a busboy to replace Stevie and really didn't want to replace him, the girls were busing their own tables that day until we decided what to do. After the morning rush, Frannie walked into my office. She had a couple of paper napkins in her hand a funny look on her face. "What's up?" I asked.
"I didn't get that table where Belle Ringer and his friends were sitting cleared off after they left, and Pony Pete and Tony Tipper were sitting there when I got back to clean it off," she said, "This was folded and tucked under a coffee cup."
She handed the napkin to me, and three $20 bills fell onto my desk when I opened it. On the outside, in big, bold letters, was printed Something For Stevie.
"Pony Pete asked me what that was all about," she said, "so I told him about Stevie and his Mom and everything, and Pete looked at Tony and Tony looked at Pete, and they ended up giving me this." She handed me another paper napkin that had Something For Stevie scrawled on its outside. Two $50 bills were tucked within its folds.
Frannie looked at me with wet, shiny eyes, shook her head and said simply "truckers".
That was three months ago. Today is Thanksgiving, the first day Stevie is supposed to be back to work. His placement worker said he's been counting the days until the doctor said he could work, and it didn't matter at all that it was a holiday. He called 10 times in the past week, making sure we knew he was coming, fearful that we had forgotten him or that his job was in jeopardy. I arranged to have his mother bring him to work, met them in the parking lot and invited them both to celebrate his day back.
Stevie was thinner and paler, but couldn't stop grinning as he pushed through the doors and headed for the back room where his apron and busing cart were waiting.
"Hold up there, Stevie, not so fast," I said. I took him and his mother by their arms. "Work can wait for a minute. To celebrate you coming back, breakfast for you and your mother is on me."
I led them toward a large corner booth at the rear of the room. I could feel and hear the rest of the staff following behind as we marched through the dining room. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw booth after booth of grinning truckers empty and join the procession. We stopped in front of the big table. Its surface was covered with coffee cups, saucers and dinner plates, all sitting slightly crooked on dozens of folded paper napkins.
"First thing you have to do, Stevie, is clean up this mess," I said. I tried to sound stern.
Stevie looked at me, and then at his mother, then pulled out one of the napkins. It had Something for Stevie printed on the outside. As he picked it up, two $10 bills fell onto the table. Stevie stared at the money, then at all the napkins peeking from beneath the tableware, each with his name printed or scrawled on it.
I turned to his mother. "There's more than $10,000 in cash and checks on that table, all from truckers and trucking companies that heard about your problems. Happy Thanksgiving."
Well, it got real noisy about that time, with everybody hollering and shouting, and there were a few tears, as well. But you know what's funny? While everybody else was busy shaking hands and hugging each other, Stevie, with a big, big smile on his face, was busy clearing all the cups and dishes from the table. Best worker I ever hired.

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THE HEART ISN'T BLIND.


This beautiful poem was written and contributed by Bruce Riddle, Texas, USA.
Thanks Bruce for sharing it with us.
The Heart Isn't Blind.

oh how i love my mother,
and how she loves me,
she has never given up the hope,
that someday i might see

the one thing i miss,
and i miss it so much,
is seeing her beautiful smile,
that comes with every loving touch

i can still vision all the,
beautiful things upon this earth
but the one thing i would like to see
is the lovely face i seen at birth

it wont happen now,
this it certainly seems
but i can still
see it every night in my dreams

although i can't see
i don't really mind
because my mom always told me
son the heart isn't blind

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The Passenger.


The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats, walked down the aisle and found the seat he'd told her was empty. Then she settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her leg.
It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a medical misdiagnosis, she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity. Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her. "How could this have happened to me?" she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth-her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan's once optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.
Mark was an Air Force officer, and he loved Susan with all of his heart. When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark's military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he knew this was the most difficult battle he would ever face.
Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city. At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect his sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task. Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn't working - it was hectic, and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react?
Just as Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. "I'm blind!" she responded bitterly. "How am I supposed to know where I'm going? I feel like you're abandoning me." Mark's heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it. And that is exactly what happened.
For two solid weeks, Mark, military uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat. He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase. Each morning, they made the journey together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office. Although this routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she'd lost her sight, who wasn't afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit. Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own.
Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself! On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, "Boy, I sure envy you." Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver, "Why do you say that you envy me?" The driver responded, "It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are." Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, "What do you mean?" The driver answered, "You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely, and he watches you until you enter your office building. then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady."
Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks. For although she couldn't physically see him, she had always felt Mark's presence. She was blessed, so blessed, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn't need to see to believe - the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.

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The Sandpiper.


She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
"I'm building," She said.
"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not caring.
"Oh, I don't know. I just like the feel of the sand."
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's what?"
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."
The bird went gliding down the beach. "Good-bye joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.
"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
"Ruth," I answered. "I'm Ruth Patterson."
"Mine's Windy." It sounded like Windy. "And I'm six."
"Hi, Windy."
She giggled. "You're funny," she said. In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on.
Her musical giggle followed me. "Come again, Mrs. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."
The days and weeks that followed belonged to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, an ailing mother.
The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwasher. "I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The never-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.
"Hello Mrs. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know. You say."
"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.
The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
""Where do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.
"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."
She chattered little-girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things.
When I left for home, Windy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.
Three weeks later, I rushed to the beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood even to greet Windy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.
"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Windy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.
"Why?" she asked.
I turned on her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" - and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?
"Did it hurt?"
"Did what hurt" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?"
"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself.
I strode off.
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn-looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door. "Hello," I said. "I'm Ruth Patterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."
"Oh yes, Mrs. Patterson, please come in." "Windy talked of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please accept my apologies."
"Not at all - she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it. "Where is she?"
"Windy died last week, Mrs. Patterson. She had leukemia.. Maybe she didn't tell you."
Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.
"She loved this beach; so she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks she declined rapidly" Her voice faltered. "She left something for you? if only I can find it. Could you, wait a moment while I find it?"
I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman.
She handed me a smeared envelope, with MRS. P printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues - a yellow beach, a blue sea, a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:
A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY
Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together.
The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words - one for each year of her life - that speak to me of inner harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand - who taught me the gift of love.

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An Angel walked the beat



A DRUNK MAN IN AN OLDSMOBILE,
THEY SAID HAD RUN THE LIGHT,
THAT CAUSED THE SIX-CAR PILE UP,
ON 109 THAT NIGHT.
WHEN BROKEN BODIES LAY ABOUT,
AND BLOOD WAS EVERYWHERE,
THE SIRENS SCREAMED OUT EULOGIES,
FOR DEATH WAS IN THE AIR.
A MOTHER, TRAPPED INSIDE HER CAR,
WAS HEARD ABOVE THE NOISE,
HER PLAINTIVE PLEA NEAR SPLIT THE AIR,
"OH, GOD, PLEASE SPARE MY BOYS!"
SHE FOUGHT TO LOOSEN HER PINIONED HANDS,
SHE STRUGGLED TO GET FREE,
BUT MANGLED METAL HELD HER FAST,
IN GRIM CAPTIVITY.
HER FRIGHTENED EYES THEN FOCUSED ON WHERE,
THE BACK SEAT ONCE HAD BEEN,
BUT ALL SHE SAW WAS BROKEN GLASS AND,
TWO CHILDREN'S SEATS CRUSHED IN.
HER TWINS WERE NOWHERE TO BE SEEN,
SHE DID NOT HEAR THEM CRY,
AND THEN SHE PRAYED THEY'D BEEN THROWN FREE,
"OH, GOD, DON'T LET THEM DIE!"
THEN FIREMEN CAME AND CUT HER LOOSE,
BUT WHEN THEY SEARCHED THE BACK,
THEY FOUND THEREIN NO LITTLE BOY'S,
BUT THE SEAT BELTS STILL INTACT.
THEY THOUGHT THE WOMAN HAD GONE MAD,
AND WAS TRAVELING ALONE,
BUT WHEN THEY TURNED TO QUESTION HER,
THEY DISCOVERED SHE WAS GONE.
POLICEMEN SAW HER RUNNING WILD,
AND SCREAMING ABOVE THE NOISE,
IN BESEECHING SUPPLICATION,
"PLEASE HELP ME FIND MY BOYS!
THEY'RE FOUR YEARS OLD AND WEAR BLUE SHIRTS,
THEIR JEANS ARE BLUE TO MATCH."
ONE COP SPOKE UP, "THEY'RE IN MY CAR,
AND THEY DON'T HAVE A SCRATCH."
THEY SAID THEIR DADDY PUT THEM THERE,
AND GAVE THEM EACH A CONE,
THEN TOLD THEM BOTH TO WAIT FOR MOM,
TO COME AND TAKE THEM HOME.
I'VE SEARCHED THE AREA HIGH AND LOW,
BUT I CAN'T FIND THEIR DAD.
"HE MUST HAVE FLED THE SCENE,
I GUESS, AND THAT IS VERY BAD."
THE MOTHER HUGGED THE TWINS AND SAID,
WHILE WIPING A TEAR,
"HE COULD NOT FLEE THE SCENE, YOU SEE,
FOR HE'S BEEN DEAD A YEAR."
THE COP JUST LOOKED CONFUSED AND ASKED,
"NOW, HOW CAN THAT BE TRUE?"
THE BOYS SAID, "MOMMY, DADDY CAME,
AND LEFT A KISS FOR YOU.
HE TOLD US NOT TO WORRY,
AND THAT YOU WOULD BE ALL RIGHT,
AND THEN HE PUT US IN THIS CAR,
WITH THE PRETTY, FLASHING LIGHT.
WE WANTED HIM TO STAY WITH US,
BECAUSE WE MISS HIM SO,
BUT MOMMY, HE JUST HUGGED US TIGHT,
AND SAID HE HAD TO GO.
HE SAID SOMEDAY WE'D UNDERSTAND,
AND TOLD US NOT TO FUSS,
AND HE SAID TO TELL YOU, MOMMY,
HE'S WATCHING OVER US."
THE MOTHER KNEW WITHOUT A DOUBT,
THAT WHAT THEY SPOKE WAS TRUE,
FOR SHE RECALLED THEIR DAD'S LAST WORDS,
"I WILL WATCH OVER YOU."
THE FIREMAN'S NOTES COULD NOT EXPLAIN,
THE TWISTED, MANGLED CAR,
AND HOW THE THREE OF THEM ESCAPED,
WITHOUT A SINGLE SCAR.
BUT ON THE COP'S REPORT WAS SCRIBED,
IN PRINT SO VERY FINE.......
"AN ANGEL WALKED THE BEAT TONIGHT,
ON HIGHWAY 109."

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