Sandpipers

By Ruth Peterson


Sunset on an Ozark Mountain Lake

Get out your Kleenex!

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me. She was building a sandcastle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
"Hello," she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
"I'm building," she said.
"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not caring.
"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
"That's a joy," the child said.
"It's a what?"
"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy." The bird went glissading down the beach.
"Good-bye joy," I muttered to myself, "hello pain," and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.
"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.
"Ruth," I answered. "I'm Ruth Peterson."
"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."
"Hi, Wendy."
She giggled. "You're funny," she said. In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on. Her musical giggle followed me. "Come again, Mrs. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."
The days and weeks that followed belong to others: a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, and ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. "I need a sandpiper," I said to myself, gathering up my coat. The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.
"Hello, Mrs. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"
"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
"I don't know, you say."
"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.
The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."
"Then let's just walk." Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face. "Where do you live?" I asked.
"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, thought, in winter.
"Where do you go to school?"
"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation." She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed. Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home. "Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd rather be alone today." She seems unusually pale and out of breath.
"Why?" she asked.
I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?
"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."
"Yes, and yesterday and the day before and-oh, go away!"
"Did it hurt?"
"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.
"When she died?"
"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off. A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door. "Hello," I said. "I'm Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was."
"Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in" "Wendy talked of you so much. I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please, accept my apologies."
"Not at all-she's a delightful child," I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it. "Where is she?"
"Wendy died last week, Mrs. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn't tell you.! Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught. "She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." her voice faltered. "She left something for you...if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?" I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman. She handed me a smeared envelope, with MRS.P printed in bold, childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues-a yellow beach, a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed: A SANDPIPER TO BRING YOU JOY Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," I muttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words-one for each year of her life- that speak to me of harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand--- who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: I hope you have a few Kleenex tissues in that box.

The above is a true story sent out by Ruth Peterson. It serves as a reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and each other. "The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less"

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A special thanks to "babysitter for submiting this to me. *hugs*
Thanks babysitter. *s*

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Speeding

Author Unknown

For those of us who happen to maybe have a "heavy" foot.

Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. The flashing red in his rearview mirror insisted he pull over quickly, but Jack let the car coast.
Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often?
When his car had slowed to 10 miles an hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. He slumped into his seat, the collar of his trench coat covering his ears. He tapped the steering wheel, doing his best to look bored, his eyes on the mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand.
Bob? Bob from church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A Christian cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.
Jack was tempted to leave the window shut long enough to gain the psychological edge but decided on a different tack. Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform. "Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."
"Hello, Jack." No smile.
"Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."
"Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.
"I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"
"I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct."
"Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics. "What'd you clock me at?"
"Seventy-one. Would you sit back in your car, please?"
"Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.
"Please, Jack, in the car."
Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dashboard. He was in no rush to open the window. The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.
A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand. Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just room for Bob to pass him the slip.
"Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice. Bob returned to his car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror, bottom teeth scratching his upper lip. When Bob vanished inside his car, jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost?
Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket.
Jack began to read:
Dear Jack,
Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car.
You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had, Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left, Bob.
Jack shifted uncomfortably in his trench coat. Then he twisted around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he, too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness, and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.
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A special thanks to Annie for submitting this story and the following item, to me.*hugs* Thanks Annie *s*


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What If God.............

by: Unknown

What if,
GOD couldn't take the time to bless us today because we couldn't take the time to thank Him yesterday?

What if,
GOD decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn't follow Him today?

What if,
we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when GOD sent the rain?

What if,
GOD didn't walk with us today because we failed to recognize it as His day?

What if,
GOD took away the Bible tomorrow because we would not read it today?

What if,
GOD took away His message because we failed to listen to the messenger?

What if,
GOD didn't send His only begotten Son because He wanted us to be prepared to pay the price for sin.

What if,
the door of the church was closed because we did not open the door of our heart?

What if,
GOD stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

What if,
GOD would not hear us today because we would not listen to Him yesterday?

What if,
GOD answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service?

What if,
GOD met our needs the way we give Him our lives???

What if,
We failed to send this message on???

This sure give us some food for thought.....

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Now playing "Elvis"

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