It was quite a few years ago, when we lived in Dallas, Pennsylvania. Those were the days when you didn’t have to lock your doors at all, and the kids could run from house to house with no problem. As a matter of fact, the backyards of most of the neighbors connected, so the kids made paths to each other's homes that way.
A few weeks before Christmas, my oldest daughter Marcie, who was only 5 and had just started kindergarten the previous September, began to make more of a point of visiting her very good friend Jeffrey. They were classmates and got along very well together. She would always come home from school promptly, have lunch, and then play for awhile with her younger brothers and sister. During this particular week she was very anxious to get out of the house as soon as she’d finished her lunch. It was a little odd, but I was okay with it, because it was the neighbor and I knew them because of the “kid” connection.
The children were all excited about Christmas, the decorations, and everything else to do with the holiday, but Marcie just wanted to go visit Jeff. I was pretty mystified by her unusual behavior. I asked about it, but only received monosyllable responses. We got closer and closer to the “big day.”
One afternoon she bolted out of the house more quickly than usual, but was back within minutes. Standing in front of me was my little girl, an enormous grin on her face, and in her hands a festively wrapped foil gift — complete with a big red bow.Marcie handed it to me, she was just glowing with pride. Attached to the package was a note.
It read something like this: Dear Mary Kay, I found Marcie and Jeff trying to make you a pine cone wreath, but they were having a lot of trouble. I told Marcie that if she would collect the pine cones, I would make the wreath for her. Every day from then on she brought me two or three pine cones and on days when we weren’t there I found them on my doorstep.What a wonderful gift that wreath was, but it was twofold: a gift born of the love of a little girl for her mother and also from a lovely, kind woman who acknowledged the feelings of a little girl.
Although many years have passed, I still have that wreath and every time I look at it, I still get tears in my eyes. I don’t know if either my daughter or my friend Flo knows just how much that wreath means to me, but it never has lost its special place in my heart.