The Thanksgiving Coat

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Sid had big plans. The sun wasn’t even up yet as he dashed down the street. He hadn’t stopped for breakfast, not that there was much to eat in the little house anyway.

They were giving away coats at the church on the corner. Sid had heard about it at the mill, and he was going to be there—first in line when they opened the doors.

He looked back at the tiny house that they shared with another family of mill workers, and wondered if his sister was awake yet. She was more exhausted than usual these days.

He didn’t want the coat for himself. His old one would do for another winter, though the sleeves were short and it hardly buttoned any longer.  But it was Hope that really needed one. She was always sick, with a hacking cough, and her coat was nearly threadbare. Both of them worked long hours at the mill but with Papa sick, they couldn’t afford a new coat for Hope.

He hoped there would be one that was just right.

Please God, I don’t know You very well. I never cared too much about You. But Hope does. Please give her a coat for winter. 

He turned the corner and stopped short when he saw the line of people waiting for the church doors to open. They must have been here for hours, he thought.  The coats would be all picked over by the time he got in.

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Two hours later, he knew he would be late for work.  He shivered in the cold November air. But he was almost there.  He could see the tables piled high with used coats.  Where had they all come from?  Everyone he knew kept their coats until they were torn and ragged. But he knew one thing—he must find one for Hope.

“Your turn!”  A man at the door motioned to him and the next five people in line. The others rushed past him and started rummaging through the coats that were left. He joined them. But though he looked carefully, he couldn’t find a coat that would fit Hope.

A kindly lady behind one table said, “Can’t you find one? Let me help.”

“I’m looking for a coat for my sister,” he told her. “She really needs one.”

“Let’s look some more,” said the lady, sympathetically. “But I think all the children’s coats went right away.”

And though they searched and searched, they didn’t find anything suitable.

“Thank you, ma’am. “ He turned, shoulders drooping. “I have to get to work.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, genuinely sorrowful.

I guess You don’t care about us after all, God. Not even Hope. She never complains. I wish You would have given her a coat.

Just as he was heading out, the door opened. A fashionably dressed woman entered along with a young girl, who held a coat.

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“Victoria wants to give this to you,” the woman told the lady behind the table.  “I told her she didn’t have to. But she has two coats and she insists she only needs one. I think we can all use more than one coat but…” the woman shrugged as the girl handed over the coat.

The woman at the table was speechless. Sid wasn’t paying much attention for he needed to get to work. But the lady finally found her voice and cried out, “boy, boy! Wait. What about this one? Would it do or is it too small?”

Sid turned back. The girl held up the coat so he could see the size. Why it was perfect! It would just fit Hope—he knew it. He went back and took it from the girl. It was a warm wool coat, with big buttons and nice large pockets.

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“This is just right for my sister!” he told Victoria. “It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for—except I didn’t expect one so nice!”

She gave him a huge smile.

“Thank You!” He raced out the door toward the mill where he knew his sister was already hard at work.

Then he stopped and looked back at the little church on the corner, and down at the coat in his hands.

“Thank you, God. Thank you! I guess you do care, after all. I’ll never forget that you did this for me!”

 

The End

By Carol Bennett

From New Life For Hope

 

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