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Bianchi -- I'm a saver and not a collector

I'm a saver and not a collector.

And there is a difference. If you collect, you go looking and shopping for items to be added to your collection. But if you save, you're a keeper of whatever happens to come your way.

At least that's the way I see it! I think saving was inherited by me from my mother. She loved to save articles, funny cartoons, little readings -- items of interest that usually had a funny twist.

They might come in handy to read at a family reunion or a bridal shower. You remember, in those days showers were something ladies looked forward to. A place to not only take a gift to, but also be entertained. A place to sit and relax and socialize. Something you had time for.

Today I browsed through my folders and envelopes of clippings and articles. Some ever so old, including a few yellowed and tattered pieces that were mom's treasures; and then those more recently sent to me by Internet fans. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but did find the following story, so fitting for this holiday season. A favorite of mine, I do hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

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The Gold Slipper

It was only four days before Christmas, yet the spirit of the season hadn't caught up with me. The stores were filled with last-minute shoppers, jamming aisles with their shopping carts. Why did I come, I wondered. Buying for someone who had everything; and I, deploring the high costs of items, made me consider gift-buying anything but fun.

Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last-minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. In front of me were two small, children -- a boy of about 5 and a younger girl.. The boy wore a ragged coat and tattered tennis shoes that jutted far out in front of his too-short jeans.

He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hand. The girl's clothing resembled her brother's. Her head was a matted mess of curly hair. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold slippers. When they finally approached the check-out register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter, treating them as though they were a treasure.

The clerk rang up the bill.

"That will be $6.09," she said. The boy laid his crumpled dollars down and continued searching his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. "I guess we will have to put them back," he bravely said. "We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow."

With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. "But, Jesus would have loved these shoes," she cried. "Well, we'll go home and work some more. Don't cry. We'll come back," he said.

Quickly, I handed $3 to the cashier. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, "Thank you, lady."

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"What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?" I asked. The boy answered, "Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus." The girl spoke, "My Sunday school teacher said streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won't mommy be beautiful walking on those streets with these matching shoes?" My eyes flooded while I looked into her tear-streaked face. "Yes," I answered, "I am sure she will."

Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.

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