The Little Town That Could

Maggie had been the eldest child of a family  of eleven. She had helped raise many of her siblings. She  could whip up a white  cake in less time of a blink of an eye.

At 10 years young, she was not only helping  mama, she was helping  papa clean the chicken  coop, gather eggs without  dropping  one.  She could use a pitch fork almost  as good  as papa.

At 14 year old, she learned the trade of cooking for several people  in the  only cafe  the small town  had. She learned how to rely on God when the stress became too much from every  table being full.

She met and married one of her customers  and gave up her job to raise a family .  The newlyweds  built a house  about a ten minute  walk from her parents.

They worked the land. They grew soy beans and corn. On Sundays they went to his parents  home for dinner. As each child arrived, Maggie used her experiences  from her childhood  to make new clothes . She used her imagination  to create new menus  for her ever growing  family.

They didn’t  have much, but they were blessed with love and food on the  table. Life was good. The kids were doing  good  in school .  They had good neighbors, and they belonged to a good church.

It was one Saturday  morning when shivers went down Maggie’s  spine. She heard the horrific  scream. She recognized  the voice of her husband, Mac.

She yelled at the oldest  child to tend to the younger ones as she tore off her apron and ran to the voice. Her mind was racing as she saw a bear tackling her man.

She screamed, “Hold on Mac, hold on. I’m  going  to fetch the gun.” She turned and ran faster than she ever had. She threw open the  door and grabbed the key. Unlocking  and grabbing the shotgun ,  she quickly  locked the cabinet and raced back to her husband .

The only thing she could  see was blood. Blood covered Mac. The bear had blood soaked teeth. Her husband  was trying to fight the bear off, but was becoming  too weak.

He went to the ground  with the bear hovering over him. Maggie aimed and fired .  The bear stood his ground. Maggie fired again, hitting the bear in the side. The bear let out a loud groan, but didn’t  go down without  his trophy.

Maggie had to tell the children  about the accident .  The parlor had to be notified. There was a line of people paying their respect  and food covered the table.

The winter was rough. Money was tight. Maggie couldn’t  seem to rouse  herself  to do more than care for the children. Visits from friends came and in time slowly faded. The holidays came and went.

The beautiful  Christmas  tree that usually  garnished  their living room was replaced by a small spruce one of the kids had cut down. Somehow  they made it through  the holidays  and soon it was Spring .

Along with new hope also brought  sickness to Maggie’s  worn down body. The older kids took over her chores. The eldest was hired in the same cafe her own mama had worked.

Month after month became the same more difficult .  Food was sparse in the pantry. Meals were made and eaten, but tummies were not full anymore.

By Fall, mama could barely  get out  of bed. The cafe owner was sending the extra food home after her employee got off work. The meat store sent a small bird to Maggie’s  home, which the children  did their best to fix a nice Thanksgiving  meal. Mama ate a few bites, but then went back to sleep.

Christmas  was coming but Mama was leaving. There was no tree this year, no strung popcorn, no joy. It was one week before  Christmas  when mama went to see Jesus.

Six children ,  two being old enough  to look after the others  but no one old enough  to keep  the house  and land going.  It was snowing outside. It was the only light coming  through the dark windows .  The children  were watching  the snow when they saw a person  walk up to  their door.

They opened the door, letting the minister in. He motioned to the others  outside, and one by one  each came  in with a gift. A decorated  tree, food, wrapped presents.

The children  smiled for the company  that had arrived. The visitors sat down with  the children  and holding  hands they prayed for the food and the kids.

After most of the food was eaten, a knock came at the door. The minister opened the door and let two of the town’s leaders come in. The two sat down at the table and without  hesitation  explained  why they were there.

“We came here today because we hope you  can help us. You see, money can’t  buy everything .  We have so much. We have money, a nice home, many wonderful  friends. The one thing we don’t  have is a family  of our own. We have all those extra  rooms, but they stand empty. We were wondering  if all you children  would give us the biggest  gift of all; would you come live with us and let us be a part of your  family . ”

One by one each visitor stood up and waited to see what the kids were going to do. The kids looked at each other, and they looked around their home. They loved their mama and papa, but they were  sad and lonely . Together they nodded and got up and gave their new parents  a big hug.


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