EDITOR'S NOTE -- Today we're turning this space over to Writer Ray of Palisade -- yes, that's his legal name -- with a touching reminder that there are needy among us and generosity can be found in the most unexpected places.
Short of Christmas by a day,
all the world was cold and grey.
In the city I was stuck
I had run plumb out of luck.
I was told that they were dishin'
food out down there at the mission.
I ate all of it I could
more than any one man should.
But I knew the night was cold
and bein' hungry sure gets old.
I was sleepin' in the park
on a bench there after dark.
It was near a walkway light
so it wasn't dark at night.
It was safer to sleep there.
I could sleep without a care.
As I lay there in the cold
a little girl rolled by so bold
She was using a wheel chair
just to get from here to there.
Such a pretty little girl
and she had a shining curl
tucked beneath her warming hood
which escaped each time it could.
She rolled right on up to me
So I thought that she might be
a girl who would be so unkind
and of hurting didn't mind.
So I quick made up my mind
in case she was the nasty kind
I would leap right up and growl,
wave my arms and give a howl.
But then I looked into her eyes
and what I saw was my surprise
My heart gave a sudden leap
when asked if this is where I sleep.
I told her yes, that I was poor
had to sleep right here outdoors
which might seem to be so funny
but I hadn't any money.
She pried my fingers from my palm
and in a manner sweet and calm,
laid all my emotions bare
when she placed a nickel there.
Of wistfulness there was a touch
when she said, "This isn't much
but I think we all should share
and I think we all should care."
Then she rolled on down the walk
as I sat too stunned to talk.
Her Mother said these words to me,
"I need to tell you so you see,
Please don't feel or think unkind.
Here is what is in her mind;
she just has three months to live.
The nickel's all she had to give."
I watched the girl in her wheelchair
and thought how life is so unfair.
I watched as long as I could see,
and thought she might an angel be.
This little girl, so young but kind
has stayed forever in my mind.
She gives me hope beyond despair,
that little girl in her wheelchair.
------ Writer Ray January 2008