Monday, 6 December 2010

Buy One Get The Rest Free.

This snow is certainly bringing together a community in the street where I live. The ongoing battle to try and keep the hilly road to our homes open is binding us together. Small acts of kindness and a sense of one for all. A neighbour trying to go to the shop for vegetables to discover the shop had none, cheered by what I was able to give her from the produce of my plot. Yesterday I went to visit my old father in law taking with me what provisions we could get. While at the store I bought a haggis. As I left the store a representative of the company gave me a heated sample of the product and because I had purchased one gave me another free. My neighbour said it was delicious.

Today I awoke stiff and sore all over muscles aching. I opened the curtains to what? More snow covering the road and still falling fast. Seems we are not yet through this. My heart was heavy as I watched it fall.

It did though bring back to mind this story.

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they travelled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection. Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of their family estate. The widowed elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son's trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world. As winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and the young man left to serve his country.

After only a few short weeks, the elderly man received a telegram that his beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again. Within days his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season-a season that he and his son had so looked forward to in the past-would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man.

As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. He opened the door and was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.

The soldier introduced himself to the old man by saying, "I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you." As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man's son had told every one of his-and his father's-love of fine art work. "I'm also an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this." As the old man began to unwrap the package, paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man's son.

Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting featured the young man's face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the old man thanked the soldier, promising to

hang the portrait above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the

soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of paintings. And then the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given. During the days and weeks that followed, the man learned that his son

had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his

caring heart. As the stories of his son's gallantry continued to reach

him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief, as he

realized that, although his son was no longer with him, the boy's life

would live on because of those he had touched.

The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the priceless pieces for which museums around the world clamoured. He told his neighbours it was the greatest gift he had ever received. The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, since, with the old man's passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction. According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the way he had received his greatest gift.

The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world's most spectacular paintings.

Dreams could be fulfilled this day; greatness could be achieved as some could say," I have the greatest collection." The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum list... It was the painting of the old man's son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent.

"Who will open the bidding with £100?" he asked. Moments passed as no one spoke. From the back of the room came, "Who cares about that painting? It's just a picture of his son. Let's forget it and get on to the good ones." More voices echoed in agreement. "No, we have to sell this one-first," replied the auctioneer. "Now who will take the son?"

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. "Will you take £10 for the

painting? That's all I have. "Will anyone go higher?" called the


After more silence he said, "Going once, going twice...Gone!" The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone shouted; "Now we can get on with it and bid on these treasures!"

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over. Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and asked, "What do you mean it's over? We didn't come here for a portrait of some old man's son! What about all of the other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art work here.

We demand an explanation!"

The auctioneer replied, "It's very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son...gets it all."

Leaving my other blog for one more day. I Remember (No More)


  1. Ralph, I'm sorry to hear it keeps snowing there. Here the prediction is for snow and we continue to get nothing. The world's weather is gone a bit out of whack. Its good your sharing your food. You will be taken care of...

    Your story is touching. I'd heard it before, but forgotten.

  2. I am so sorry to hear that you are heavy of heart watching the snow out your window. Finally we have a few flakes in the air and I await with relish as much as the sky can release!
    Even though survival in the weather you face is tantamount .... take a moment to enjoy the wonder that is snow. Take a microscope or magnifying glass outside and survey the wondrous beauty of a magnified snowflake! Enjoy the colours. Enjoy the shadows.
    Take a few moments to enjoy not only the wonders of a snowy winter but the fellowship of your neighbours and the good feelings derived from 'helping each other'.

  3. Good Morning Ralph, Great story! Enjoy the retirement of the snow, Nothing you have to do because there is nothing you can do! Only once we had four feet of snow here! It stopped the whole city and it is one of my fondest memories!

  4. Ralph this just reminds me of why I live in Florida.! although even now temps are cold here and tonight we will have to cover the tropicals., but sure beats the alternative.. So ya'll come on down! The oranges are ready to be picked (December and June) the strawberries are almost ripe and the Hibiscus are still blooming.