Christmas Giving Returned in Full - A beautiful story about a child’s sacrifice and blessing.
Christmas Giving Returned in Full
-Glenna Cottom Sanderson-
Every year there comes back to me, from early days in Washington, D.C. this true story:
I can hear her now, the cleaning woman with her West Virginia hill country dialect, as she told it to us. Poor woman, she seemed born to hardship; she had raised her nine brothers and sisters from the time she was orphaned at twelve, and much of what she could earn disappeared into the bottomless pit of her husband’s alcoholism. She looked sixty; we were shocked to learn that she was thirty-four. But she had such jolly brown eyes and resilient disposition that she seemed one of the family after a few times working at our home on Saturdays.
Her daughter, Gertie, was seven years old by Christmas time when she was in the first grade. In the school hallway was a big box for Christmas donations of canned food or used toys. Gertie’s teacher made an eloquent plea in behalf of the poor children who had no toys at all. Gertie had one toy, her beloved doll, Mary. But she thought of the poor children who had none, and she knew what she must do. She brought doll Mary to school, choked back a tear as she stroked the faded print dress and said her good-bye, and placed her in the big box.
On Christmas Eve, the cleaning woman sat at the round oil cloth covered table in her bleak kitchen, her face in her hands. Gertie, with empty arms, was gazing out into the blackness, when the knock came. They hardly saw the two men who left so quickly after they sat down their burden and shouted “Merry Christmas!”
The woman and the little girl stared at the basket. It was heaped so high there must have been two bushels of food and Christmas goodies. And there, on the very top, in a wondrous new pink dress, sat- doll Mary.
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