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The man introduced himself as a min-
Double Gift
ister at a nearby church. We talked for
perhaps 10 minutes about Dad’s illness
and our hopes that he could get home to
his garden. The minister blessed Dad and
■ BY SANDY McPHERSON CARRUBBA thanked her grandfather. Then she put told us to have faith. We smiled and
the strap over her shoulder. thanked him for visiting with us. Giving
HILE MY 58-year-old Suddenly a tall, well-dressed man the impression that he came to the hospi-
father was dying of lung approached our group. As he came nearer, tal just to be with our family, he was
cancer, he was confined I apologized for the outburst and hoped unhurried and didn’t mention needing to
to a hospital in a danger- we hadn’t disrupted his conversation or see anyone else.
ous neighborhood. Throughout the time visit. I hadn’t noticed which group of peo- Then he reached into his pocket and
Dad occupied a bed in that facility, I ple he had emerged from, but I felt certain took out a quarter and handed it to
never felt frightened or threatened as I it was one not far from us. Joanne held up Joanne. “You must have some money in
came to visit or left afterward. Some her purse and said, “Look what my Bop that purse,” he said. “Here’s a start.”
friends feared visiting him there. gave me for my birthday.” We thanked him again as he turned
Our younger daughter, Joanne, turned The stranger bent toward her and told and walked away. I faced Joanne to be
3 the year Dad’s illness raged, so we took her what a lovely purse she had, then certain she put the coin in her purse so
our children to the lobby of the hospital asked if it had any money in it. Joanne she didn’t lose it. Then, I turned back to
for Joanne’s special day. My mother and I hadn’t yet looked. So she quickly thank the stranger once again, but there
went upstairs to get my father. unzipped it and peered inside. was no sign of him among the other
The children were excited to think “No, there isn’t anything in it,” she said. groups in the busy lobby. Although he
they would see their beloved “Bop,” I said, “Just wait until we get home. asked nothing of us, I felt as if I owed
whom they missed. For nearly two She’ll find things to put inside.” We all him another expression of thanks.
months his illness sapped his strength. As chuckled. None of us remembered either his
a nurse helped Dad into the wheelchair, name or that of his church. Dad said,
my mother hid a wrapped present under “I couldn’t hear him very well.” My
Dad’s lap blanket. She showed it to him mother said she was too busy watching
before she covered it as she wrapped the Joanne with her purse. My husband
blanket around his legs. apologized for not paying close
When we wheeled him off the eleva- enough attention. I had intended
tor and he greeted the children in the to write the minister and tell him
lobby, he said nothing about the gift how he had touched me with
to our little girl. We all sat close his kindness and attention. But
together as the children excited- I had to hope he realized it by
ly chatted. Suddenly, Dad our reactions.
rubbed his upper leg and dis- To this day when I think of
covered the small present sit- that birthday and how the kind
ting on his lap. and humble stranger strode
“What’s this?” he asked in toward us, I am convinced he
a surprised tone. When he meant to cheer us. And he did.
pulled it from under the blan- I am also certain he was an
ket, he looked confused. angel dressed in a well-cut suit
“It’s for me, Bop!” Joanne and carrying at least one quarter
shouted. “It’s for my birthday!” in his pocket.
We quieted her down, and Dad
handed her the package. She Sandy McPherson Carrubba
unwrapped a tiny, child-sized pur- treasures the memory of an
ple purse with red flowers affixed to unknown pastor who ministered to
the outside. Joanne looked excited. her family in a difficult time. She
“Wow! A real purse,” she said, and writes from Kenmore, New York.
26 EVANGEL • APR 2009
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