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The Gift of Ice Cream
It probably wasn't about the ice cream.
For eleven years and from her third floor apartment, Mrs. Hill had been watching the next door neighbor boy, Donny, play in the courtyard with friends and often by himself. Occasionally, he’d look up and wave at her. She’d smile and wave back. Alone, he could entertain himself for hours with a football, ball and glove, or just a long stick.
After he graduated and went off to the Service, Mrs. Hill didn’t know what would become of Donny except through occasional chats with Gloria, Donny’s mom. Mrs. Hill did write once or twice, but her arthritis prevented her from writing more, and besides, he moved around quite a bit and it was hard to keep track.
“When you talk to Donny, let him know I’m praying for him,” she’d always say at the end of her conversation with Gloria.
Six years passed, and Donny finally made it home with his bride. After visiting with friends and relatives, he knocked on Mrs. Hill’s door. She gushed with pride as she invited the couple in. She wanted to hear all about his bride and where they were living and what they were doing with their lives and how they met. Mrs. Hill busied herself in the kitchen fixing coffee and treats and kept prying answers out of the newlyweds.
Donny and his wife visited for more than an hour, but they had another appointment – another relative to visit.
“Before you two kids go, I just wanted to know that I’ve been praying for you. Donny, ever since you were down in the courtyard with your friends, I’ve been praying. Oh, I haven’t been as faithful as I should, but I’ve tried.”
“I know, Mrs. Hill. I know you have. I’ve felt them. We’ve felt those prayers. Thank you.”
“Oh, forgot,” said Mrs. Hill. She took Donny’s hand and slipped him a roll of bill and hugged him. She then hugged his wife. “Go get your wife some ice cream. It’s on me.”
“I don’t suppose I can refuse this, can I?”
Mrs. Hill shook her head and said, “No, you can’t, and please don’t try.”
“Didn’t think so. You’re a great woman, Mrs. Hill. We think the world of you. Stay out of trouble, okay?”
“Oh, okay. If you insist,” the 85-year-old said with a wink.
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