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THE GREATEST OF GIFTS story

Story ID:1819
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Organization:Retired
Story type:In Memory
Location:Truro Nova Scotia Canada
Year:2007
Person:Richard L. Provencher
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Chris and Bradley were best friends. And it was this friendship that would cause problems, just a week before Christmas.

They enjoyed walking around in the evening, looking at decorations on the street. A mischievous thought crossed Bradley's mind. "What if we took a couple of light bulbs?Ē

The thought of stealing didnít even cross their minds. At this moment their Christian teachings were just a distant memory.

What were a few bulbs anyways? They began by smashing a few on the street. No one heard a thing. Then their idea of fun got out of hand as they kept going until every single bulb was used up.

When a light came on across the street they ran away like two thieves. After all, they did take something that belonged to someone else.

Bedtime that night was rough one for Chris. He never did anything like this before. He walked around his room, one large enough to satisfy any young person. He carefully looked at his pennants, MONTREAL CANADIENS and BUFFALO BILLS.

A picture of mom and dad on the dresser looked back in love. Chris wiped off the dust. "I wish dad was still alive right now. What would Mom say if she found out?"

On the other side of town another boy sat on his bed. He didn't feel well either. "How could we have done it?" But Bradley didn't have anyone to blame except himself. Having a mom and dad was supposed to be like having two good legs. Chris only had his mom at home.

Bradley knew this whole thing was his fault, since it was his idea.

The next day Bradley's parents read about light bulb vandalism in town. "It's a mean thing for anyone to do," his dad said.

Down the street the missing lights were finally noticed, the owners saddened to see their creative work ruined. They found out from a neighbor the names of both boys, seen running away.

Police were called, then parents. "Iím Sorry" began after the discovery of 105 bulbs destroyed. Chris and Bradley were indeed sad for what they had done.

Thankfully the owners of the missing bulbs told the Police they would not press charges. Phone calls took place, arrangements made and everyone was to meet the next day.

Sleep came late for the boys.

The next morning they brought newspaper savings and went shopping to buy replacement bulbs. Soon after, both cars pulled into the victimís driveway, where the nasty escapade began.

Both boys apologized to the owners for their actions. Then returned outside, carefully replacing all the missing bulbs, as five adults watched from the window. Chris and Bradley completed their task in falling snow.

Replacing the bulbs had put a hefty dent in their savings.

After completion the boys returned to the warm house, where everyone sat around in the living room. There was much talk among the adults about raising children, teaching responsibility and accepting it.

Both boys listened carefully noticing the people they had wronged didnít seem very upset. At first they couldnít understand why these strangers were not angry at all.

"We're impressed at how quickly you told the truth," the man said.

Then the boys had hot chocolate and the adults, coffee. Everyone shared some sweets. Soon it was time to leave.

The next day was Christmas.

That night Chris told his mom once again, "I let you down, mom. Dad would be disappointed if he were here." Her response was a neat hug. This was the first time in a long time he let mom do that.

Sleep was like a restful dream.

Bradley was also sorry for what he had done.

"We still love you," his parents said.

Chris and Bradley jumped out of bed at about the same time even thought they lived blocks apart. Each rushed downstairs into their living rooms, followed by mom and a set of parents.

They looked at all the decorated boxes, eager to pick out their presents.

Then, something special took place in both Chris and Bradley's home. At precisely the same time, decorative angels atop each tree toppled over.

They tumbled downward from limb to limb. As each branch was touched, slivers of light danced about, then gathered together until a golden outline stood out on both trees.

Each home saw the creation of two golden plaques that glowed among the presents. In each living room, everyone stared as a tiny scroll shone brightly with a brief message.

Chris and mom, Bradley and his parents leaned forward and read:
"The greatest of gifts is...Forgiveness."

* * *

(c) Richard L. Provencher 2003


Co-authors Richard and Esther Provencher invite you to view their newest novel SOMEONEíS SON written during Richardís recovery from a stroke, which gob-smacked him in 1999. It is a Young Adult novel dealing with a family crisis. http://www.synergebooks.com/ebook_someonesson.html