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THAT SANTA IS "ONE SMART FELLOW"



I never was one for putting money in that little red kettle at Christmas. There is always some stranger constantly ringing that never-ending bell by the department store entrance. I just have this thing about wanting all that I give freely to go to "the cause" a full 100 per cent, not be wasted or eaten up by administrative costs.

Every year, I pick a name or two off the Children's Christmas tree located inside the local mall. I try to buy something rather personal. Last season, I picked three names off the tree and purchased three pairs of shoes, and three watches. I generally do not spend much money on the shoes, maybe $15 a pair. However, the watches, now that is another story.

Several days ago, my wife and I went to the super market to buy groceries. Since I am on a low cholesterol diet, I did not want to fight with my wife over food items such a pizza and potato chips. Instead, I decided to go next door to the pharmacy and pick up my medicines for the month of March.

As I waited in line, there was a woman in front of me with three children ranging in ages from about 4 to 8 years old. She had four or five prescriptions, but did not have enough money to pay for the cough syrup; her Medicaid card evidentially did not cover it. The man behind her asked the pharmacist how much the medicine was and was told the cough syrup was $12.95. He told the pharmacist he would pay for the purchase on his account. The woman looked down at the floor, somewhat smiled and thanked the man for his kindness.

The little 8-year-old boy was sitting on the chair by his brother and sister, and they were both coughing badly. That little boy got up from his chair, unbuckled his watch from his arm and held it out to the man. I noticed that both the watch and shoes the young boy was wearing were exactly the same type I had purchased for the underprivileged children whose names had been hanging on the Christmas tree.

"That's a mighty fine watch," said the man as the young boy held it out to him.

"You can have it for the medicine," said the boy.

"I can't do that. That's a very expensive watch," said the man.

The young boy strapped the watch back on his arm with a big smile and sat back down in the chair.

"Santa gave me this here watch, 'cause I've been a good boy," said the youngster.

The man turned around and said, "That Santa is one smart fellow."

Full of pride, the youngster looked around at everyone waiting in line. I smiled at the boy and nodded my head as he looked toward me. I must say that I felt very proud at that moment. It is amazing to me how we can spend millions of dollars every year trying to make a difference for the little children of this country. Yet a $39 watch and a $15 dollar pair of shoes from Wal-Mart can change the perspective and direction of a child’s life forever.

There is definitely something wrong, somewhere, in the system.



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