Our childhood should be a time of being carefree & full of fun. It should be one of dreams & make believe, of baby dolls & toy trucks. But, such was not the case for little Mary Brown. Mary was a pretty little girl with long flowing golden hair & baby blue eyes. But you see, there was no joy in her gaze. Nothing but an emptiness that literally shouted rejection & disappointment. There was none of the happiness that a child of ten should possess.
She would stand by her front gate as tears ran down her face & watch the other children as they laughed & shouted, playing skip rope or hop scotch, but no one invited her to play, for you see, Mary had a problem with learning which made it hard for her to understand certain things . Because of this, the other children would laugh at her & call her names. No one wanted to play with her. Mary felt like no one loved her or even cared and the loneliness hurt her deeply.
No matter what our problems may be in life, there is always something deep down inside us that we can do, maybe better than anyone else just waiting to come out. Such was the case with Mary, for you see, she had the ability to make things grow. Anything she touched seemed to turn into something beautiful. She grew things like flowers that had an array of colors such as red, yellow, pink & white. She had a special longing to share, but no one wanted to be her friend.
Mary had planted herself a small flower garden way in back of her yard where she could be alone with her beautiful creations. It was her place of solitude, her little haven of peace. It was her little world where she could be happy. She would sit there all alone on a small wooden bench that her father made for her amongst the beauty that surrounded her. She would sit hour after hour watching the birds as they fluttered from branch to branch high up in the old Maple tree that grew in the yard.
A caterpillar crawled ever so slowly across the back of the bench & Mary marvelled at how small & fuzzy it was. She reached out with her little finger & touched the back of it. In response to the touch, curling itself up into a little ball & lay there ever so still. Mary picked it up in her tiny hand & gently stroked it with love. The creature was so small & helpless. "It was like her," she thought to herself , "alone & without a friend to care." Little did Mary know that one day it would turn into a beautiful butterfly soaring ever so high above the ground. Maybe, she too would soar above the indifference that surrounded her. After a few minutes she carefully set it down on the ground so it could go on its way.
Time passed, & Mary's dad watched as his daughter continued to fill her garden with her colorful master pieces. you could walk through the yard & smell the sweet fragrance as it filled the air with the lingering perfume. It was a gentle reminder that there was still some sanity amongst all the trials of life. He knew she had a talent that even he envied. He stood in amazement, not because of her disability, but because of the beauty that she had created as if by magic. He had seen the hurt in her eyes & longed to do something for her.He knew that each year there was a flower judging contest held at the fair. That might be what was needed. If only Mary could get out & show off what she was able to do instead of people always focusing on what she couldn't do.
As he walked toward her garden, he could see the joy that shone from her & he realized that this was what truly made her happy. He talked with her for what seemed forever as they sat there enjoying the beauties of nature. A squirrel scurried across the yard as if in a frenzy to get to where it was going, causing them to laugh at its foolish antics. Mary's father cherished these times of being alone with his daughter and was in no hurry to leave her until her mom called that supper was ready. Together they walked toward the house hand in hand, not saying a word in case it might break the spell.
The morning for the fair finally arrived Mary found herself full of anticipation. When her father had first suggested the idea to her, she wasn't quite sure as to whether she liked the idea or not. After all, no one seemed to want to bother with her. The more she thought about it, the more she seemed to resign herself to the fact that maybe she had finally found a way to share with others what she loved more in life than anything else.
After a quick breakfast & clean up, Mary and her dad took a stroll out to her flower garden. There it stood before them, a myriad of wonderful colors and shapes. The sun was shining extremely bright this morning and her garden seemed to thrust out its beauty in all directions. Mary helped her dad as they choose the most beautiful of all the blossoms she had. They had become her prized possessions, and her face glowed with that special pride she had in her work, and rightly so, knowing she had brought this about by herself. There they stood, each with an armload of the choicest flowers you had ever seen. The soft peddles brushed against her chin as she walked toward the house causing her to giggle as they tickled her. It was a happy time for Mary as she carried her bundle ever so gently. Somehow, she knew within herself that it would be a good day. One that she would remember for the rest of her life.
As they neared the fairgrounds Mary could see the crowds of people milling around the different games. She saw the huge rides going round and round while the music blared trying to attract attention to themselves. As they approached the flower display, she could see row upon row of beautiful arrangements bursting with every color imaginable. The place was alive with beauty. Mary helped her parents as they arranged the flowers in the best possible positions.
When everything was finally set up, the judges slowly made their way down the long isles. As they came closer and closer to her table, Mary was wondering to herself, " Would her flowers be pretty enough to win?" She stood there, hoping against hope, that she would win the coveted first prize. After all, it was a great honor.
As they drew near her table, Mary held her breath, daring not to move as if by some jinx she might disrupt the judges from choosing her. After what seemed an eternity, the ribbons were being handed out. Mary waited. Her little feet planted firmly in place. One of the judges started toward her table with something in his hand. " Could it be?" she thought. From the palm of one of the judges hand appeared a beautiful blue ribbon which he proudly handed to her. The ribbon, plus his warm smile assured her that she had accomplished something great in life. There she stood, grinning from ear to ear. She found herself bursting with pride as her face shone with a special glow. She had given it everything she had and she had won. Mary found herself wrapped in her parents arms as they hugged and kissed her for her great achievement. It was a special landmark in her life and she had every right to be proud.
As Mary looked up from her ribbon, she noticed an elderly lady coming down the isle toward her in a wheelchair. The look on her face told a story of despair and hopelessness and Mary's heart went out to her, for she saw in this woman herself. Mary stepped out from behind her table still clutching her prized ribbon. As the lady drew near, she took a step toward her. She knew how the woman felt. Of the loneliness and hurt. As she glanced up to look into Mary's face, Mary reached over and picked one of the bouquet of flowers she had grown., and with a kindness that can only come from a child, she gently laid the flowers in the woman's lap. A smile appeared on her face and a tear trickled down her cheek. And with that came the knowledge that someone understood and really cared.
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