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After months of unemployment and a year-long search my husband, Loren, finally landed a job. Though we now had a steady income, playing catch-up on old bills left little for extras. And Christmas loomed weeks away.
While carols played on the radio and the aroma of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon enveloped the kitchen, one question clamored in our brains. How would we buy presents for our three children? ... Read more
Excited chatter filled the back seat as I parked in front of the store. A red neon sign blinked in the window that read-The Pet Stop.
Ben, my eleven-year-old son, threw open the car door. "Finally I get my kitten. Hurry up you guys," he said to his younger siblings, Joe and Bethany.
Inside the store, we watched several kittens romp and play in a large pen. Ben reached through the open cage door toward a gray fluff ball. "I want this one." The kitten scooted away from his hand and wedged itself into the back corner of the cage, inches from his fingertips. ... Read more
I sighed and put away the last of the dishes from our Thanksgiving dinner. The next morning marked the start of the holiday shopping season. My mind brewed with anxious thoughts. Why did life have to be so hard?
With our kids tucked in bed, I whispered to my husband, Loren, "What are we going to do? We don't have any money to buy presents this year." ... Read more
Mom donned her straw hat and retrieved the Revere Ware Dutch oven from the back of the kitchen cupboard. "Here." She handed me a small sauce pan. Blackberry season had arrived.
We strode down our long country drive under the August heat. My berry pan bumped against my leg while I skipped along, kicking rocks. Short of the main road, we left the driveway to wade through a knee-high grass field. ...Read more
"Hello," I said when Mr. Van Houten entered the small book and gift shop where I worked. Dressed in his usual navy peacoat, layered with cat hair, the eighty-year-old man ignored me. His rigid frame headed straight for the copy center which the store provided as a convenience to customers.
In all the years he'd come to the store, he'd displayed a gruff, harsh exterior that I didn't understand. His corrosive attitude always directed at the unfortunate person nearest his path. ...Read more
"I don't know, but I'll find out for you," I said to the women standing at the counter.
"Well, why don't you know?" She snapped in return. "After all, you are the one behind the counter."
Stunned, I didn't know how to respond, so I stood there, as she continued her attack. ...Read more