Tara's Bag of Skittles
by Sharon Henderson
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Little fingers bounced along the clear lids of plastic containers filled with “special” treats: M&M’s, Skittles, chocolate chip cookies, Cheese Doodles, and more. Four-year-old Tara carefully looked in each one.
Which kind will they like the best?
“Tara! Hurry, let’s go!”
The Skittles would have to do.
“I’m coming, Dad.”
Spending the day with her Dad, Tara knew what she had to do.
First up was the thrift store. Tara jumped out of the Hummer, nearly toppling to the gravel as her foot brushed the running board. Undeterred, she rushed into the store, and headed for the used kitchen appliances.
“Daddy! Come here, quick!”
As she waited for Dad to catch up, she glanced from shelf to shelf, looking for the perfect place. She wondered what they would think. Would they be happy? Would they enjoy? HOW would they enjoy?
“Daddy, do you think this spot between this old pot and that yucky toaster would be a good place?”
“For the Skittles, Daddy! For the Skittles!”
“Now, why would you do that? Come on, let’s go. I’ve left the clothes you outgrew with the lady upfront. Some little girl just like you will sure look cute in them.”
Tara’s disappointed eyes followed the floor tiles all the way to the front door.
Why didn’t Daddy let me give them some Skittles? Hmmph!
“Is the salvage yard next, Daddy?”
“Sure is sweetie. Daddy won’t be long. It’s hot outside so you stay in the truck with the AC and listen to Disney Radio.”
No way! I’m getting out! I need to do this and do it right!
“I can get out if I really want to, right? Please?”
Satisfaction spread across the eyes that had been disappointed a few minutes ago. Wide-eyed wonder took over when she saw the stacks of old tires, mounds of hubcaps, and more crumpled cars than she could have imagined.
The hubcap pile! Perfect place.
As Dad chatted with the attendant, Tara dashed to the hubcaps. The one with the funny looking T smiling at her reminded her of the wheels on Mommy’s Camry.
“There you are! I’m ready to go. Get in the truck.”
“But, Daddy! I still need to know where to put the Skittles! Do you think right here by the smiling T on this one would be a good place?”
“Tara, I don’t know what you are up to but take your bag of Skittles and get back in the truck. Now!”
Her favorite Maroon 5 song was blaring on the radio, yet Tara couldn’t muster any enthusiasm to sing along. This day did not turn out as she planned.
I just wanted to do the right thing; to share. Teacher said in Sunday School that we have to feed those that don’t have food. I don’t know how it would have worked but I tried. Daddy was mean. Doesn’t he like them?
“Why the long face? And what are you doing with Skittles?” Her Mom surprised her when she opened the truck door. Tara didn’t realize they had made it home yet.
“Mommy, I’m sad. I tried to be good. I tried to do the right thing but Daddy didn’t let me.”
Her pout was so dramatic that Mom almost snickered at this overreaction to something obviously important to little Tara.
“What didn’t Daddy let you do?” She swept Tara out of the truck, swung her around to her hip, and looked her square in the eyes, searching for the cause of her daughter’s sadness.
“We went to the Thrift Store and I couldn’t give the toaster and pot my bag of Skittles. Then we sent to the old car place and I couldn’t give them to the hubcaps. Why not, Mommy? Why not?”
“Sweetie, the question is 'Why'?”
“Mommy, ‘cause my Sunday School teacher said to share with those that don’t have. And you said that all the Thrift Store and car place has is junk. And you don’t let me eat junk food so I simply wanted to give the junk some of its own food.”
Muffling a chuckle and hiding her own smile, Mom let Tara know what she did was kind. With Mom’s permission, Tara ate the bag of Skittles she tried so hard to give away.
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