A Happy Anniversary

A Happy Anniversary

In a small city lived a cobbler and his wife. He could be seen mending shoes day after day in a large window in a corner store. He was now an old man and had been in that shop since he was twenty years of age. Most of the business men in that small city could not remember the time that he was not in that window mending shoes. He knew most of the people and they all knew him. Now that he was very old, his work was much harder, but he rarely missed a day in his shop because of sickness. The people who knew him well called him grandpa and his wife they called grandma.

They had three children who were married and had families of their own. Floyd, the oldest son, was a successful business man in the same city. Their daughter Betty had married a farmer and lived in the other end of the state. Herman, the youngest of the three, was a minister and lived over a thousand miles away. Floyd who lived so near, came in several times a week to see his aged parents, and Betty managed to get home about twice a year.

But with Herman, the minister who lived so far away it was different. He seldom got home not only because it took so long, but mainly because he did not have enough money to travel. He was a poor minister in a small country church. His wages were small. However, in the last few years he did not even get all of them, for the farmers had very small crops. It had been very dry there so that the grain, fruit and vegetables did not grow well. So the farmers in that section were very poor, and therefore Herman was just as poor as they.

But a big day was not far away. The old father and mother were going to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary, which means that they had been married for fifty years. Even the morning of the anniversary the old cobbler was in his shop. "Good-morning, good-morning, grandpa," said a customer who brought in a pair of shoes to be mended, "what makes you so happy this morning, for you are singing so joyously?"

"Don't you hear me sing on other days?" asked the old cobbler.

"Yes, indeed," replied the customer, "but usually you do not sing quite so loudly."

"Well, there is a reason for that," answered the old man as he took the shoes. "Today is our golden wedding anniversary and my three children will be at home, even Herman from far away. Tell me, wouldn't you sing too?"

"I should say I would," replied the customer, "and let me have the privilege of congratulating you."

The afternoon and evening were given over to celebrating. Floyd left his place of business early to help his aged parents get the house in order for the big occasion. And what do you think Floyd brought as an anniversary gift to show his love? He brought one hundred dollars. Betty arrived in the early afternoon to help her mother with the big dinner to be served that evening. Betty had her car loaded with many things that she raised on her farm. Proudly she carried them into the house and placed them on the table for exhibition. There were many kinds of fruit and vegetables, fresh and canned. This was her gift to her parents.

Of course, the day would not be complete without Herman. They had not seen him for several years. He had a long way to come on the train. He arrived at about four o'clock. What a happy occasion that was when the family circle was complete with all three children home for the golden wedding anniversary. After the happy welcome and warm greetings, Herman noticed the table loaded with the many things which Betty had brought. "Well, Betty," he said, "there is enough here for an army. And what is this? One hundred dollars!"

"That is from Floyd," said the mother.

Then Herman clasping the hands of his aged parents and looking into their eyes said, "What can I give you on this happy day? I have no farm with fruit and vegetables; and I have only enough money for return train fare. In fact it took me a long time to save enough money to get here. So I can bring you only one gift."

"And what is that gift?" asked the father as his eyes became moist with tears.

"Believe me," said Herman, "it is a good gift, it is the best I have, it is the gift of myself. Here I am, I give myself to you. I am your son forever."

"That is a wonderful gift, Herman," whispered the mother as she dried her tears.

It was a great anniversary, one to be remembered as long as they lived.

As Floyd, Betty and Herman wanted to show their love to their parents by some gift, so we, too, ought to show our love for God with our gifts. When we give our money to the Church and to others who are in need, we are giving to God. When we help in the Church and do good deeds that too, is a gift to God. But the greatest gift we can bring to God is ourselves. Herman made his parents happy by giving himself. The greatest gift you can bring to God is yourself.

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