Monday, 20 December 2010

The Love of a Giver.

My mother always used to tell me that it was not the getting of gifts that was important. What was important was to strive to make others happy in the gifts that you gave. Now I am sure that this is very true, nevertheless, I used to always think it would be nice, just once, to be the person who was getting the gift.

I came from an extremely poor family, and though my mother and father would do the very best they could, it never seemed to be the same as the other kids who lived in the same street. I almost wished I did not have a birthday. Then I would not have to tell people what I did not get. So, as Christmas draws near I found myself remembering those days. I also began to think of a story I used to tell to the children in my church, I hope I can remember it.

Bobby was getting cold sitting out in his back yard in the snow. Bobby didn't wear boots; he didn't like them and anyway he didn't own any. The thin shoes he wore had a few holes in them and they did a poor job of keeping out the cold.

He had been sitting thinking, 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. Bobby had two older and one younger sister, who 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, Bobby 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.

Bobby 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 Bobby 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 pound coin.

Never before has anyone felt so wealthy as Bobby 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 pound.

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

As Bobby 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 Bobby back to reality. All alone in the shop, Bobby began to feel alone and afraid.

Suddenly the shop owner came out and moved to the counter. There, before Bobby's eyes, lay twelve long stem, red roses, with leaves of green and tiny white flowers all tied together with a big silver bow. Bobby's heart sank as the owner picked them up and placed them gently into a long white box.

"That will be one pound young man," the shop owner said reaching out his hand for the coin. Slowly, Bobby moved his hand to give the man his pound. Could this be true? No one else would give him a thing for his pound! Sensing the boy's reluctance, the shop owner added, "I just happened to have some roses on sale for a pound for a dozen. Would you like them?"

This time Bobby 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 Bobby, he heard the shop keeper say, "Merry Christmas, son."

As he returned inside, the shop keeper’s 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 too 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 Iput 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.

I am going to make every effort to visit some blogs if I do not manage due to circumstances please accept my apology and do have a great Christmas.


  1. That's a beautiful story! I'm so glad you posted it this morning. I was just sitting here thinking maybe I should give Ralph a shout, and see what he's up to... You must have read my mind.
    Happy Holidays to you! Your snow photo is so beautiful! I'd love to see that as a painting!

  2. What a Lovely Heart felt Christmas Story - Thank You Ralph - Have a Great Christmas too.

  3. It will be a great day today, Ralph, cold or not, rich or poor.

  4. just catching up with your posts again!
    thank you for your words about my words...

    For Ralph:

    to express in words
    what can't be heard
    the silence
    between the beats of heart
    and the music
    of a hopeful soul

    that is you
    that is what you do

  5. A beautiful story, Ralph. Thanks for sharing it and reminding us of the true spirit of Christmas.

  6. Wouldnt it be nice if were this way all year round.. Your story is very touching. And makes us all think of the wonderful feeling of giving.

  7. Wonderful story Ralph.... somehow I think we are losing the spirit of 'giving' so easily found in simpler times.

  8. I love the focal depth of the photo.

    And thank you for the story.

    I needed that little 'heart fix'. Last night on the way to the theater I handed a panhandler five dollars. He may have spent it on drugs. He may have used it for coffee and a sandwich. He may have passed it on to a friend. I like to think that for a moment he felt a sense of relief.

    I'm Kim Rempel's dad and she introduced me to your blog a year or so ago. I always enjoy coming back to it.

  9. Thank you Ralph, have a wonderful Christmas

  10. Thanks for this lovely story Ralph, wish you a happy Christmas!

  11. thanks for the touching story, Ralph... I love your shopkeeper in the story...he knows how to give....and so do you.

  12. Your story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you Ralph for your many posts full of wonderful stories and beautiful art. Happy New Year! Susan

  13. Well Ralph I think we are starting to worry about you! It is now 2011 and it will be a great year, I know it will. It will be even better with you in it. Doesn't all have to be blogs of wisdom and happy success. We like your village and your garden allotment and the people you meet. Hope you are alive and healthy.

  14. happy new year
    more smiles than tears
    more peace than strife
    and joyful life

    may hope abound
    and love surround
    may life be sweet
    and happiness complete

  15. Happy New Year to you Ralph...thanks so much for all the ideas you shared during 2010--I hope 2011 finds you blogging...but only if it is not a burden to you...sometimes internet life gets in the way of "real life" but I have always considered you a real friend for sure. Happy New Year! Let's see some new paintings and ideas ---"whenever"! :)

  16. Dear Ralph, happy new year! I really took time off over the holidays and am just reading this now. Seriously, it made me teary! What a tender, beautiful story. Imagine if we all took extra time to be actively kind to others. It's my mission for 2011. Cheers!

  17. Happy New Year Ralph. I pray that your year is full of good health and happiness.