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Short Stories for Children of All Ages: Just One WishPedagogical Project “The Joy of Reading”

Just One Wish
The capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance.
Pablo Casals

Fox River gave life to the country town of Colby Point, for the road and the river ran alongside one another. Colby Point was really the name of a road that crept between the hills and valleys of McHenry, Illinois. Homes were scattered here and there—mostly summer homes and retirement homes. At the very end of the road three houses all faced one another. Three sisters—all single, all seniors—lived in one of the homes. Across the way their widowed first cousin lived in a yellow house. Next to her lived their brother, Bill, and his wife, Cleo.

Cleo had multiple sclerosis, so the pair had moved to Colby Point seeking a quiet, relaxed life. Little did they know when they relocated to this serene area that they would end up rearing their granddaughter, Margie. Before long, the once-quiet neighborhood became active with the sounds of a child.

Margie always looked forward to the arrival of Christmas, and this year was no different as winter began to settle like awarm blanket around Colby Point. Everyone was in a flurry, for at the church Margie and her family attended, the congregation was preparing to share their Christmas wishes with each other. Since Cleo couldn’t make it to church, and Bill didn’t like to leave her alone for too long, he was in the habit of dropping Margie off at church early on Sunday mornings; the aunts would bring her home.

As Margie sat in church that morning, she rehearsed in her mind over and over what she would say. She wasn’t afraid, for she knew what an important wish this was. The service seemed to drag on and on. Finally the pastor altered the words Margie had been anticipating all morning, “This is a special time of year when everyone around the world celebrates peace and goodwill toward our fellow man. This year, here at St. John’s, we want to hear your Christmas wishes. We cannot fill everyone’s wish, but we would like to try and fill a few. As I call your name, please come forward and tell us about your Christmas wish.”

One after another, the church members shared their wishes, large and small. Margie was the last and the youngest to speak. As she looked out at the congregation, she spoke confidently, “I would like for my grandma to have church. She cannot walk, and she and my grandpa have to stay at home. They miss coming so much. So that is what I wish for. And please don’t tell them, for it needs to be a surprise.”

Riding home with her aunts, Margie could tell they were speaking in low tones about her wish. She hoped that they would keep her secret. As the next Sunday came around, Margie was getting ready for church when Grandma asked, “Why are you so fidgety? You haven’t sat still all morning.”

“I just know that something wonderful is going to happen today!”
“Of course it will,” said her grandma with a chuckle. “It’s almost Christmas, you know.”

Grandpa was getting on his coat when he happened to look out the front window. He saw some cars coming down the dirt road one after another. Now at this time of year there wasn’t too much traffic, so this was really amazing. Margie pushed her grandma to the window so that she could see all the cars. Pretty soon the cars were parked all up and down the road as far as a person could see.

Grandpa looked at Grandma, and they both looked of Margie. Grandpa asked, “Just what did you wish for, Margie?”

“I wished that you and Grandma could have church. And I just knew that it would come true. Look! There’s the pastor, and everyone from church is coming up the walk.”

The congregation arrived with coffee and cookies and cups and gifts. They sang Christmas carols and listened to the pastor speak on giving to others the gifts that God gives. Later that night, Margie slipped out the back door and walked outside to look up at the stars. “Thank you,” she whispered, “thank you for giving me my wish.”

That was just one of the many wishes granted for Margie as she grew up. Her childhood overflowed with the love of her grandparents, four great aunts and many wise, caring neighbors. Margie was truly a blessed little girl.

I should know—I was that little girl.
Margaret E. Mack
Jack Canfield, Victor Hansen, et al.
Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul:  
Heartwarming Stories for People 60 and Over
Florida, Health Communications, Inc., 2000

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