The Gift That Almost Wasn’t


Every time little Billy went to town with his  Mommy he stopped in front of the toy store and watched the little train going round and round on the track. A big black engine with plenty of shiny silver on it. Four cars followed it in colors of red, green, blue and gold.

Mommy always tugged at his arm to follow him but he fought it, wanting to stay one more minute to watch. He heard the familiar words of how she wished she could tell Santa to bring it to him on Christmas morning but Santa had too many other children to visit and she wasn’t sure he would be stopping at their house this year.

Mommy had lost Daddy. He had worked in the mines. One day there was a terrible accident and Mommy told Billy that God needed Daddy so he wouldn’t be coming back home.

Life had been different since Daddy was gone. The three of them used to hold hands and pray before they ate their meals but ever since the one chair sat empty, Billy ate in front of the television and Mommy stayed in her private room.

If Billy stopped chewing he could hear his Mommy crying. She sure must miss him. Mommy sometimes went to other ladies houses and came home all dirty and tired. She would walk in the door and barely smile at Billy before she went to her room.

Soon he would hear the tub filling up with water. Mommy would come out later and give him a hug and then go to the kitchen and find him something to eat for supper. They used to have grand meals.

Just sitting here thinking about it made his mouth water. Nice big pieces of meat with lots of fluffy white mashed potatoes. Now a lot of the times she brought him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When things were good he got milk to drink. Most of the time though it was water.

One time a knock came at the door. It was the neighbor. A kind looking lady who asked Mommy if she could take him to church with her this coming Sunday. Mommy said yes and from that day on Billy went to church.

Billy began to open up to his new Sunday family. He made new friends in his Sunday School class. The day before Christmas his Sunday School teacher gave him a white sack. When he opened it there was an orange and lots of chocolate pieces of candy.

That night as we was watching TV Mommy walked out and sat beside him on the couch. She put her arms around him and she started crying. He stopped eating and listened to her as she explained why she wished with all her heart that she could have gifts under the tree for him, but she just couldn’t do it.

He rubbed his Mommy’s hand and told her it was alright, that he didn’t mind. She stood up and went back to her room. He finished eating and watched TV until time to go to bed. After he went to bed she came out to the kitchen and made herself some coffee.

There was a knock at the door. When she opened it her neighbor and their friends from church were standing there with wrapped gifts. Mommy started to cry as she let them in and they quietly placed the gifts under the tree.

As the last person placed his gift Mommy went to him and gave him the biggest hug she could muster. They each hugged and said good-bye. Mommy got her coffee and went to bed smiling.

The next morning Billy got up and went out to the living room to turn the TV on. His eyes became big as saucers as he noticed the shiny packages under the tree. But the biggest surprise ever was the little train going round and round with the big black engine with the four cars following it.

train

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