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The Very Best Toy

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The very best toy I was ever given wasn't shiny, expensive, or even new... and I was almost fifty years old when I received it...

In the Spring of 2003 I was invited to spend a week at Red Cloud Indian School, staying in one of the guest rooms of their convent, attending classes with the children for an entire week, and getting to meet some of their parents and siblings.  I returned for another week-long visit the following Spring.  The times I spent in the company of these beautiful, amazing children remain among the happiest memories of my life.

One of the things that amazed me about these children was their desire to give gifts when they themselves had so very little.  They came bearing presents for me each time I visited.  Some children brought fancy beadwork and quillwork done by family members. One mother came with a beautiful star quilt she had made for me - a tradition Lakota gift of honoring.  The teachers and students worked together before my arrival to create a quilt formed of squares bearing the decorated handprints and names of each child.  It is amazing and crafted with so much love!  All these gifts, large and small, I treasured and I still have them. 

Without a doubt though, the most precious gift of all came in a jumble of wrapping paper and tape, obviously wrapped by the hands of the shy, beautiful little girl presenting it.  Carefully opening the crumpled bundle, I discovered a well-worn stuffed rabbit.  My heart nearly broke, realizing that she had brought me the best of what she had, a toy that she loved dearly. 

I carried that tattered bunny home, tied a bright satin ribbon around it's neck, and featured him as the main character in letters and photos I sent her from there on, much to her delight.  That precious bunny sat on the shelf next to my bed until it finally fell apart completely and was given an honorable burial. 

I strongly suspect that toy rabbit is going to be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge, good as new and looking for the now grown-up little girl who loved him so much that she gave him as a gift.

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I'm linking up with Brenda at BYG Adventures today, where the word we are Pondering this week is "toy"...  
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6 comments:

  1. So sweet!
    I would rather have a thoughtful gift any day over something that's just expensive. The thought taken to make or choose, and the love with which it is given are the most important.

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    1. You are absolutely right, Rory. I've been given some truly wonderful gifts over the many years of my life, but I doubt that any gift was chosen or given with more love than that bunny. Such a beautiful thing for a child to do!

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  2. The precious gift from the girl reflects her beautiful heart. The kindness of the giver remains forever, even though the gift itself may be lost.

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  3. What a lovely story. Thanks for sharing. I'm looking at what to give my daughter for a special celebration coming up, and am thinking that I might find something from my mother (her grandmother, obviously) that she would enjoy having. Might be better than some trinket from a store, right?

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  4. Oh Josie, this made me cry!
    How absolute that little girl was in sharing her most precious article with you.

    Thanks for pondering with me

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  5. A lovely tribute to that little girl and her love!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)