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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Purple (11/05/09)

TITLE: Ellie's Pennies
By Carole Robishaw


“Momma, I can’t wait till you see it. You are going to be so surprised.”

Ellie held out a small carefully wrapped, package, covered with several sheets of wrapping paper and enough tape to secure the Titanic, purple ribbons tied in lopsided bows, all held securely with several knots. Ellie bounced from one foot to the other with all the patience her five year old body could muster.

Gingerly reaching my hand out from under the blankets, I took the package, wondering if something was going to jump out at me when I got it open.

I barely had the strength to reach out. This had been my sixth chemo treatment, each one harder to take than the last. I had long since lost my hair, and I normally wore one of an assortment of caps to keep my head warm. But I had been so sick today that the cap hadn’t stayed on my head. Ellie was staring at my shiny dome.

“It’s okay honey, it’ll all grow back, I promise.” I think this was at least the hundredth time I’d had to reassure her. She was more terrified of my hairless head than seeing me hanging my head over the basin. I think I was trying to reassure her as much as I was myself.

“Sweetheart, I can’t seem to get this untied, can you help me?” I held out the package. She jumped at the chance to help, and began struggling with the knots she had tied.

“Mommy, I think I need some scissors. Maybe Daddy can help?” Ellie turned to her father, who wore a huge grin of expectation.

Uh oh, now I’m really concerned about this package.

I watched the two of them, carefully untying, and cutting where needed, to open the gift. I wondered again if I was going to be around to watch her grow up, saying what was an almost constant prayer: “Please God, I just want to see her grow up.”

Finally it was down to just the last layer of tissue paper, and they handed it back. It wasn’t moving, so I didn’t think it would jump or crawl. Besides, I don’t think Larry would allow that again, not after the damage the frog caused when I was startled and fell out of the bed.

I removed the tissue paper very carefully. Slowly exposing the ugliest purple teapot I have ever seen in my life.

“Oh, Ellie, where did you ever find this? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like it. Where did you get the money to buy this?’

“Pennies! I picked up all the pennies I found, on the sidewalks and in the parking lots. It took me a long time to get enough, then Aunt Susan took me to the Dollar Store, and I looked and looked and looked. I couldn’t find anything purple. It had to be purple, cuz I know that’s your favorite color and I wanted something that would be really especial, just for you. Then I saw it, and I knew it was just right. Because you drink lots of tea because your tummy is so unhappy and this was purple, an it was just purfect. A purple teapot. I didn’t have enough pennies, so Aunt Susan helped me out, but I’ll pay her back when I find some more.

I prayed to God, Mommy. I said I needed to find you something special, and I would need lots of pennies to pay for it, and Mommy, I found lots of them. Grown-ups don’t pick up pennies when they drop them, so I just had to keep my eyes on the sidewalks, and there they were. Everywhere! God helped me find them, Mommy. Just like He’s going to help you get better. So now you have an especial purple teapot so you can drink lots of tea and pretty soon you’re going to be all better.”

“Darling, this is the most beautiful purple teapot I have ever seen. I’m going to thank God for you and your pennies every time I drink a cup of tea from it. Starting right now. Larry, can you please make a pot of tea for Ellie and I to share?’

I laid back, feeling stronger than I had all day. What could be better than tea with my very beloved daughter, made in my very own purple teapot. The most beautify teapot in the world.

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This article has been read 571 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Graham Starling11/12/09
Very readable. Elie's voice was very convincing. One small thing - "I prayed to God, Mommy" should have started with open quotes.
Henry Clemmons11/16/09
Very sweet and touching. How God uses children to heal is amazing. The parts about the pennies were priceless. Very enjoyable and moving entry.
Loren T. Lowery11/16/09
In reading this, once could sense the child's innocence and eagerness. Also, the love of the mom and her heart's desire to see her precious child grow.
Barbara Lynn Culler11/16/09
I am wondering about the interchanging of the word Special and Especial. Was that meant to be? Great story!
Kate Oliver Webb 11/16/09
This is such a special story. The voices are pure, and the imagery and atmosphere are very real. I love this!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/18/09
Beautifully written. I could so feel the mother's hope to raise her child and the precious spirit of the child.
Edy T Johnson 11/20/09
This is my kind of story, Carole. Real life, you are there, not just in the story but in the hearts of the characters. It is so beautifully tender, you moved me to tears.
Carol Penhorwood 11/20/09
What a tender, love story! For that is what it truly is! Thank you for sharing this with us! Great job!