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What a great story ending!

In 1972, I emigrated to America from Italy with my two small children. I had no job and spoke no English. It wasn’t easy finding my way at first, but over the years, I created my own successful housekeeping service. Recently, I was at a new client’s home when the doorbell rang.

Continue reading What a great story ending!

St Luke’s wins Foodbank Certificate

St Luke’s has just received a certificate for collecting 207.8 kg of food for the Dundee Foodbank in 2014.

Due to the hard work of John Jarvis, our Foodbank Coordinator, and the generosity of all who come into St Luke’s, we have managed to help 26 individuals in severe need.

If you would like to help in this way, please bring tinned and dried goods to the Church and leave in the collecting basket in the Main Hall.

Once again, well done, all!

A bell brings a surprise

Pappy ran a little Novelty Shop. He didn’t make much money, but he enjoyed the company. His wife was dead and his daughter had moved away many years ago. He was so lonely.

At first, he did not see her. Her shiny, soft curls barely topped the counter. “And how can I help you, little lady?” Pappy’s voice was jovial. “Hello, sir.” The little girl spoke almost in a whisper. She was dainty.Bashful.Innocent. She looked at Pappy with her big brown eyes, then slowly scanned the room in search of something special.

Shyly she told him, “I’d like to buy a present, sir.” “Well, let’s see” Pappy said, “Who is this present for?” “My grandpa, It’s for my grandpa. But I don’t know what to get.” Pappy began to make suggestions. “How about a pocket watch? It’s in good condition. I fixed it myself,” he said proudly.

The little girl didn’t answer. She had walked to the doorway and put her small hand on the door. She wiggled the door gently to ring the bell. Pappy’s face seemed to glow as he saw her smiling with excitement. “This is just right,”” the little girl bubbled. “Momma says grandpa loves music.”

Just then, Pappy’s expression changed. Fearful of breaking the little girl’s heart, he told her, “I’m sorry, missy. That’s not for sale. Maybe your grandpa would like this little radio.” The little girl looked at the radio, lowered her head and sadly sighed, “No, I don’t think so.”

In an effort to help her understand, Pappy told her the story of how the bell had been in his family for so many years and that was why he didn’t want to sell it. The little girl looked up at him, and with a giant tear in her eye, sweetly said, “I guess I understand. Thank you, anyway.”

Suddenly, Pappy thought of how the rest of the family was all gone now, except for his estranged daughter whom he had not seen in nearly a decade. Why not, he thought. Why not pass it on to someone who will share it with a loved one? God only knows where it will end up anyway.

“Wait…little lady.” Pappy spoke just as the little girl was going out the door and as he was hearing his bell ring for the last time. “I’ve decided to sell the bell. Here’s a hanky. Blow your nose.”

The little girl began to clap her hands. “Oh, thank you, sir. Grandpa will be so happy.” “Okay, little lady. Okay.” Pappy felt good about helping the child; he knew, however, he would miss the bell. “You must promise to take good care of the bell for your grandpa..and for me, too, okay?” He carefully placed the bell in a brown paper bag.

“Oh, I promise,” said the little girl. Then, she suddenly became very still and quiet.There was something she had forgotten to ask. She looked up at Pappy with great concern and again almost in a whisper, asked, “How much will it cost?” Well,let’s see. How much have you got to spend?” Pappy asked with a grin.

The child pulled a small coin purse from her pocket then reached up and emptied two dollars and forty-seven cents onto the counter. After briefly questioning his own sanity, Pappy said, “Little lady, this is your lucky day. That bell costs exactly two dollars and forty-seven cents.”

Later that evening as Pappy prepared to close up shop, he found himself thinking about his bell. Already he had decided not to put up another one. He thought about the child and wondered if her grandpa liked his gift. Surely, he would cherish anything from such a precious grandchild.

At that moment, just as he was going to turn off the light in memory hall, Pappy thought he heard his bell. Again, he questioned his sanity; he turned toward the door and there stood the little girl. She was ringing the bell and smiling sweetly.

Pappy was puzzled as he strolled toward the small child. “What’s this, little lady? Have you changed your mind?”

“No,” she grinned, “Momma says it’s for you.” Before Pappy had time to say another word, the child’s mother stepped into the doorway and choking back a tear, she gently said, “Hello, Dad.”

As tears flowed down Pappy’s face, the little girl tugged on his shirttail. “Here, Grandpa. Here’s a hanky. Blow your nose.

By Phyllis Caldwell

An Oscar winning performance!

Oscar was named after the Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can because that is where we first became acquainted.  I was working at a pizza-delivery chain and had been assigned garbage duty.  While tossing bags into a dumpster, I heard a faint meow.  I began digging through the trash, and several layers down I found a cat – bruised and thin.  I wasn’t sure if the cat had crawled into the Dumpster to scavenge for food or if he had been put there purposely.  Our establishment sat directly behind an apartment complex, and unsupervised and abandoned pets were common.

Back on solid ground, it became evident that the cat had an injured leg.  He couldn’t put any weight on his right hindquarters.  The situation created a dilemma for me.  Finances were tight, and I was moving back home to my parents’ house – with two cats already in tow.  Dad barely tolerated the two established felines.  His reaction to another injured stray was sure to be less than receptive.

I took the stray to the vet, hoping to patch him up.  After shots and X-rays, the vet discovered the cat had a cracked pelvis.  I posted notices, hoping someone would claim the cat or adopt him.

Meanwhile, the response at home was swift and firm: No more cats!  Dad insisted I take the cat to the Humane Society immediately.  I protested that the cat would be put to sleep.  Luckily, my mother intervened.  She agreed the injury would make the cat unadoptable, so we would keep him long enough for his hip to heal.  Then he would have to go – no arguments.

Oscar must have somehow understood his situation.  He seemed to study the other two cats and their interactions with my father.  We suspect he bribed Tanner, our golden retriever, with table scraps in exchange for etiquette lessons.  When the other cats were aloof, Oscar was attentive.  He came when his name was called, and he would roll over on his back to have his belly scratched.  As his injury began to heal, he would jump on the ottoman by my father’s favorite chair, and, eventually, into his lap.  Initially, Dad pushed Oscar away, but persistence paid off.  Soon, Oscar and a muttering Dad shared the chair.

At mealtimes, Oscar would come to sit with us.  Positioned on the floor by my father’s chair, every so often Oscar would reach up with one paw and tap Dad on the knee.  At first, this provoked great irritation and colorful expletives expressed in harsh tones.  Oscar, however, refused to be put off.  Repetitive knee-taps soon led to semi-covert handouts of choice morsels.

Oscar greeted my father at the top of the stairs every morning and waited for him at the door every evening.  My father sometimes ignored Oscar, and, at other times, stepped over him, complaining the whole time.  Oscar mastered opening doors by sticking his paw underneath the door and rocking it back and forth until it opened.  Soon, he was sleeping in the master bedroom at the foot of the bed.  My father was completely disgusted, but couldn’t stop the cat from sneaking onto the bed while they were sleeping.  Eventually, Dad gave up.

Before long, Oscar, aspiring to his own place at the table during meals, began jumping up into my lap.  He was allowed to stay as long as his head remained below table level.  Of course, an occasional paw would appear as a reminder of his presence.

Three months passed, and the vet pronounced Oscar healthy and healed.  I was heartbroken.  How could I take this loving soul away from what had become his home, from the people he trusted?  Sick at heart, I brought Oscar home and told my parents what should have been good news: Oscar was a healthy cat with a healed hip.  “I’ll take him to the Humane Society like I promised,” I said dully.

As I turned to put Oscar in the carrier for the trip, my father spoke, uttering three magic words: “Not my cat!”

Oscar is home to stay.  He now has his own chair at the table and sleeps – where else? – in the master bedroom between my mother and father.  He is their official “grand-kitten” and living proof that deep within the most unlikely heart, there is a cat lover in all of us.

By Kathleen Kennedy

Faithful Old Friend

She was just an old golden retriever.  Her name was Brandy, and for eleven years she was the sole companion of an elderly woman who lived in a bungalow colony in the country.  Neighbors often saw the two of them together in the garden.  The woman would be hunched over picking flowers and there was that old dog, close at her heels or lying in the middle of the grass watching her pull weeds.  When the woman died, some relatives came and collected anything they thought was valuable and put a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn.  Then they locked the dog out and drove away.

Some of the neighbors left food out for Brandy, but mostly the dog stayed near the house that she knew and waited for her owner to come back.  A young mother who lived next door noticed the old retriever, but she had never been around animals before and while she thought the dog was friendly enough, she didn’t feel it was any of her concern.

However, when the dog wandered into her yard and began playing with eighteen-month-old Adam, she wanted to shoo the dirty thing away.  Adam was her only child and the light of her life.  But he was having so much fun feeding Brandy cookies she decided to let her stay.  After that, whenever Adam had cookies Brandy came by to visit.

One afternoon, the boy’s mother left Adam in the soft grassy yard to play while she answered the phone.  When she returned he was gone.  Just gone.  The mother was frantic. Neighbors came over to help in the search.  Police arrived and looked for three hours before calling in the state police and helicopters to do an extensive aerial search.  But no one could find the child, and as the sun set over the horizon, whispers of abduction, injury or even death crept into conversations.

The search had been going on for six hours when a neighbor, who’d just returned home, wondered where Brandy was.  Adam’s mother, hysterical with worry, didn’t understand why anyone was asking about the old dog at a time like this.

When someone suggested she might be with Adam, a trooper recalled hearing a dog barking deep in the woods when they were doing a foot search.  Suddenly, everybody started calling for Brandy.

They heard faint barking and followed the sound until they found the toddler, standing up fast asleep, pressed against the trunk of a tree.  That old dog was holding him there with one shoulder as one of her own legs dangled over a thirty-five-foot drop to a stream below.

Brandy had followed Adam when he wandered off.  When she saw danger, she’d pushed him out of harm’s way and held him safe for all those hours, even as the child struggled to get free.

As soon as the rescue team picked up Adam, the old dog collapsed.  A trooper carried Adam back home, while his mother, sobbing with relief, carried Brandy.  She was so grateful to the old golden retriever that Brandy spent the rest of her days with them.  Brandy lived to the ripe old age of seventeen.

But this story doesn’t end with just one life saved.  In Brandy’s honor, Adam’s mother, Sara Whalen, founded Pets Alive, a rescue sanctuary in New York that takes in unwanted animals, including those designated to be euthanized because they are old, blind, incontinent or perhaps not cute enough to be adopted.  While she can’t save them all, Sara feels comforted that she can help at least some of them.  She knows that if someone had put that old retriever to sleep, she could have easily lost the light of her life: her son.

Today, thirty years later, there are more than three hundred animals in her care, including birds, potbellied pigs, old horses retired from the carriage business and unadoptable pets from rescue groups across the country.  The woman who used to think an old, abandoned dog wasn’t any of her concern found that every life has value and has become a beacon for thousands of animals in need.

By Audrey Thomasson

From: Morning with Dilbert Blog