By Bob Cornner
I was eight years of age and my family had recently moved from Coffeyville, Kansas to Hermosa Beach, California. I found life along the beach to be fun and exciting. I even landed a job selling several daily news papers in downtown Hermosa Beach.
One Valentine's Day, I decided to buy my mother some chocolates in this rather large, bright red heart shaped box. I did not make much selling papers, so I knew it would be tough raising the funds I needed to buy that box of chocolates.
When I thought I had enough money I went to the drug store and asked the saleswoman if I had enough money to cover the cost of the candy. She looked at the pennies and nickels in my hand and told me I was going to need another $1.00 to buy the candy.
I left the store feeling pretty dejected. I really wanted to surprise my Mom and give her gift I thought would tell her how much I loved her. I traveled up and down the streets of Hermosa trying to sell my papers so I could earn the money I needed.
The sun finally dropped into the ocean and the wind chilled the air and I returned to the drug store with a few more coins. The saleswoman looked at the coins in my hand and said with a smile: "Well, it looks like you finally have enough money to buy your Mom that big box of candy." I gave her all my money and ran home to present my gift to my Mom with great joy.
At the age of 28, I was sitting with my Mom on another Valentine's Day. She asked me if I remembered the big heart full of chocolates I had bought for her twenty years earlier. I smiled to think that she would remember. She then told me a wonderful story about an old man, the local alcoholic who dressed up in his tattered suit each day and walked around the city. I remember seeing this old man. He was kindly, but very much alone.
My Mom told me that when I went into the drug store to see about buying the heart, the old man was watching from the back of the store. When I left, he told the saleswoman that he would make up the difference for whatever I lacked when I came back later to buy the chocolates.
When my Mom finished telling her story, I felt an immediate sense of gratitude and I hoped that in this old manís giving to a small child, he found the love God had for him.
God's Peace Out of the Depths,
Christ Episcopal Church, Redondo Beach, California
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