Sunday, April 18, 2010

Magical Moment 73, "Her Favorite Present"

A father and his curly haired, little girl stopped in the rain to fill the old truck with gas. He pulled into to the tiny station and fueled up while she waited in the passenger seat, fascinated with the tiny water droplets on the windshield. She made a game out of watching which drop would trickle to the bottom of the windshield without getting cut off by the wipers. Soon, the game had rules, each drop had a name and was on a team, and she was the announcer, just like on TV.

Her dad opened the driver’s door wide enough to poke his head in and say, “Wait here sweetie, I have to pay.” The little girl unfastened her seatbelt as she cried, “Daddy, I want to come too!” She was already halfway out the truck before her father had a chance to protest. He reluctantly shut his door, walked around to meet his daughter, and together they ran through the rain to the shelter of the station.

At the counter, he asked for a pack of cigarettes and hastily handed cash to the clerk. With several more errands to run, and even worse weather to beat within the next few hours, he had no time to waste. “Let’s go,” he said gruffly as he opened the swinging glass door. He turned to see his daughter was all the way at the back of the store. He called to her again, growing impatient and then walked back to where she was, prepared to scold.

He found her sitting on the hard, linoleum floor with a stuffed, yellow duck, walking it across the floor and making quack sounds. She looked up as he stood over her with his hands on his hips. “Look daddy. Look how cute he is.” He looked down at his daughter and into her hopeful eyes as she held up the toy with both hands for him to see. She didn’t seem to notice that her bare knees were against a cold, dirty floor. She didn’t seem to notice that he was in a hurry or concerned about money, the weather, or the list of chores that needed to be done.

Knowing that the last thing on earth his daughter needed was another stuffed toy and that the duck would probably be forgotten by tomorrow, he knelt down and said, “Sweetie, do you want me to buy you that duck?”
Her face lit up as she shrieked with glee and surprise, for she hadn’t even requested it, “Yes!”
“Okay,” he said. “Let’s go.”

Once again at the counter, he paid cash for the little toy and left the change in the pennies bowl next to the register. He half smiled in silence the whole way home as he watched his little girl cuddle the duck as if it were the best present she ever received in her whole life.