We got a coupon via email for $5 off at St Vinnies (Saint Vincent de Paul). St Vincent offers online sales as well as very affordable items in there thrift center. We donate when we can and not as often as we should. Their prices for some treasures are outstanding and an additional five dollars off is a nice incentive for checking out their latest offerings.
While I checked out the electronics and hand tools, my wife looked over the books and art. I found an old camcorder that I can use to copy old tapes to a flash drive and a very affordable electric drill. My wife found a very nice watercolor, two books on drawing, and a blue hankerchief with violet flowers on it. As I shopped, I couldn’t help noticing a young girl clutching a teddy bear I had seen on the shelf in the toy section. It gave me a warm feeling of being young, loved, belonging, and dreaming of the future . . . many years ago. I remembered my own childhood and our own family . . . and smiled.
After about fifteen minutes, my wife and I had our own little treasures to pay for and take home. We were standing in line. The young family with the teddy bear girl was directly in front of us. Apparently, they couldn’t afford everything. They had kid’s clothes and bedding. When the purchases were rung up, all of their shoulders seemed to sag. The little girl tugged on her father’s coat and whispered in his ear. He looke up and told the clerk to take off the purchase of the teddy bear. Soon, they walked out to the parking lot. We didn’t want to embarrass them or anything, so when they were out the door, we asked the clerk to add the teddy bear to our purchase and then we had a special request. We wanted to take the teddy bear and run it out to the little girl. There was no problem. My wife was out the door like a shot with the cuddly “ursa minor.” I finished paying for our purchases and looked around a bit more as I waited for my wife. She didn’t return.
Finally, I took our two bags of goodies out to the car. My wife was just sitting in the car. I put our booty in the trunk and then opened the door and sat down. She was sitting in her seat with one of her prized handkerchiefs, she collects them, in her lap . . . and said nothing. I sensed that she had been crying.
Half-way home she spoke. “The teddy bear wasn’t for her . . . it was for her little brother . . . his birthday is tomorrow.” The father had at first refused to take the bear, one of those pride things and then looking at his daughter he accepted it. We were young and struggling once . . .
We’re certainly not rich, but we can afford the occasional teddy bear here and there . . . for the love of a little girl and her younger brother.
What a great day we had.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.