The mother sat on the simulated-leather chair in the doctor's office, picking
nervously at her fingernails. Wrinkles of worry lined her forehead as she
watched 5-year-old Kenny sitting on the rug before her. He is small for his
age and a little too thin, she thought. His fine blond hair hung down smooth
and straight to the top of his ears. But while gauze bandages encircled his
head, covering his eyes and pinning his ears back. In his lap he bounced a
beaten-up teddy bear. It was the pride of his life, yet one arm was gone and
one eye was missing. Twice his mother had tried to throw the bear away, to
replace it with a new one, but he had fussed so much she had relented. She
tipped her head slightly to the side and smiled at him. It's really about all
he has, she sighed to herself.
A nurse appeared in the doorway. "Kenny
Ellis," she announced, and the young mother scooped up the boy and followed
the nurse toward the examination room. The hallway smelled of rubbing
alcohol and bandages. Children's crayon drawing lined the walls. "The doctor
will be with you in a moment," the nurse said with an efficient smile.
"Please be seated." The mother placed Kenny on the examination table. "Be
careful, Honey, not to fall off." "Am I up very high, Mother?" "No dear, but
be careful." Kenny hugged his teddy bear tighter. "Then I don't want Grr-face
to fall either." The mother smiled. The smile twisted at the corner into
a frown of concern. She brushed the hair out of the boys face and caressed
his cheek, soft as thistledown, with the back of her hand.
As the office
music drifted into the haunting version of "Silent Night," she remembered the
accident for the thousandth time. The Wincing Memory! She had been cooking
things on the back burners for years. But there it was, sitting right out in
front, the water almost boiling for oatmeal. The phone rang in the living
room. It was another one of those "phone offers." At the
very moment she returned the phone to the table, Kenny screamed in the
kitchen, the galvanizing cry of pain that frosts a mother's veins. She winced
again at the memory of it and brushed aside a warm tear slipping down her
cheek. Six weeks they had waited for this day to come. "We'll be able to take
the bandages off the week before Christmas, the doctor had said.
The door to
the examination room swept open, and Dr. Harris came in. "Good morning, Mrs.
Ellis," he said brightly. "How are you today?" "Fine, thank you," she said.
But she was too apprehensive for small talk. Dr. Harris bent over the sink
and washed his hands carefully. He was cautious with his patients but
careless about himself. He could seldom find time to get a haircut, and his
straight black hair hung a little long over his collar. His loosened tie
allowed his collar to be open at the throat. "Now then," he said, sitting
down on a stool, "let's have a look." Gently he snipped at the bandage with
scissors and unwound it form Kenny's head. The bandage fell away, leaving
two flat squares of gauze taped directly over Kenny's eyes. Dr. Harris
lifted the edges of the tape slowly, trying not to hurt the boy's tender
skin. Kenny slowly opened his eyes, blinked several times as if the sudden
light hurt. Then he looked at his mother and grinned. "Hi, Mom," he said.
Choking and speechless, the mother threw her arms around Kenny. For
several minutes she could say nothing as she hugged the boy and wept in
thankfulness. Finally, she looked at Dr. Harris with tear-filled eyes. "I
don't know how we'll ever be able to pay you," she said. "We've been over all
that before," the doctor interrupted with a wave of his hand. "I know how
things are for you and Kenny. I'm glad I could help. The mother dabbed at
her eyes with a well-used handkerchief, stood up, and took Kenny's hand. But
just as she turned toward the door, Kenny pulled away and stood for a long
moment looking uncertainly at the doctor. Then he held his teddy bear up by
its one arm to the doctor. "Here," he said, "take my Grr-face. He ought to
be worth a lot of money." Dr. Harris quietly took the broken bear in his two
hands. "Thank you, Kenny. This will more than pay for my services."
Christmas visitors the last few days before Christmas were especially good
for Kenny and his mother. They sat together during the long evening, watching
the Christmas tree lights twinkle on and off. Bandages had covered Kenny's
eyes for six weeks, so he seemed reluctant to close them in sleep. The fire
dancing in the fireplace, the snowflakes sticking to his bedroom windows, the
two small packages under the tree -- all the lights and colors of the holiday
And then, on Christmas Eve, Kenny's mother answered the
doorbell. No one was there, but a large box was on the porch, wrapped in
shiny gold paper with a broad red ribbon and bow. A tag attached to the bow
identified the box as intended for Kenny Ellis. With a grin, Kenny tore the
ribbon off the box, lifted the lid, and pulled out a teddy bear -- his
beloved Grr-face. Only now it had a new arm of brown corduroy and two new
eyes that glittered in the soft Christmas light. Kenny didn't seem to mind
that the new arm did not match the other one. He just hugged his teddy bear
Among the tissues in the box, the mother found a card. "Dear
Kenny," it read. "I can sometimes help put boys and girls back together, but
Mrs. Harris had to help me repair Grr-face. She's a better bear doctor than
I am. Merry Christmas! Dr. Harris." "Look, Mother," Kenny smiled, pointing to
the button eyes. "Grr-face can see again -- just like me!"
Addendum -- This reportedly is a true story, and really touched my heart.
It just makes one
realize how we take things for granted, like our eye sight. Live each day as
if it were your last... lay up your riches in Heaven. 'Cause we are not guaranteed a
tomorrow... And no amount of earthly money can buy our way to Heaven....
[ By: Gary Swanson -- from Jo -- Ed: anonymous. ]
All Rights Reserved.