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Christmas Collage
Report to Moderator Old 05-31-2002 09:37 PM
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By Kathryn Hern

It was the Christmas of 1985 when I learned how a gift from the heart could change someone's life. School had just let out for the holidays and I was hurrying home through the gleaming white streets of my small town, stopping only to make an occasional snow angel.

When I finally burst through the door, winded and rosy-cheeked, a cold blast of fear hit me straight in the stomach. My whole family, everyone except my mum and dad, were sitting in the living room wearing shocked, drawn faces. My Nan walked towards me and slid my coat from my stiff body. She hugged me tight and told me that my dad had been in a serious car accident and that my mum had gone to the hospital to be with him.

I sat down, bleary-eyed, and tried to make sense out of the fog of reassurances that were floating all around me. No one really seemed to know anything, and all I wanted to do was find my dad and hold his hand and know that he was okay.

When we arrived at the hospital I sat in a dim hallway with my mum for what felt like eternity. Finally my dad came out of surgery and we were allowed to go in just for a minute to give him a quick hug. I had been practicing for hours how I was going to walk in with a big smile on my face and not be sad at all, because I didn't want my dad to know how sick he was.

But I wasn't fooling him for a second.

As soon as I walked in and saw the long line of stitches running down his head, my eyes betrayed the smile on my face. My dad reached out to grab my hand and said "I'm okay beanpot," and I crumpled into a heap of tears. All I wanted to do was get him home, where all of our Christmas decorations would surely cheer him up.

Someone had called my best friend's mother to come and pick me up from the hospital. When we arrived back at her house, I told them how dreary the hospital room was and that there was no way my dad could feel better in a place like that.

Mrs. Meilleur slipped from the room and returned a few moments later with piles of colored paper, pictures and decorations spilling out from her arms. She had the brilliant idea of making my dad a Christmas Collage to brighten up that dull room.

My friend and I got to work immediately, and spent the rest of the night cutting and pasting anything we could find that would make my dad smile and remind him that it was still Christmas, the most joyous time of the year. When we finished we stood back and admired our magnificent creation it was an enormous, glittering patchwork filled with love.

The next day when I delivered the gift to the hospital, the look on my dad's face told me that it was the best present he had ever received. We hung it right beside his bed. Later that night the doctors came to tell us that, although my dad was going to have a tough recovery ahead of him, he was going to make it. Relief and joy flooded through us all, and somewhere deep inside I knew that my collage had created a little bit of Christmas magic for us all.
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