I want to tell you a true story about the winter I spent in Fort Mohave, Arizona.
In November of 1997 my husband, Rick and I were living in Rogue River, Oregon. We lived on my father’s non-working farm with our three cats, eight chickens, and a dog. We were having some problems, I won’t go into. We decided we needed three months away from home to relieve some of the stress.
Rick’s father had passed away a short time before this. He and his older brother inherited their father’s acreage in Fort Mohave, Arizona. There was a three-bedroom mobile home with an attached two-car garage and a metal shed on the property. It was a short distance from the Colorado River (see the picture of the river).
We wanted to get the property ready to be put up for sale. Therefore, we decided this would be where we’d spend three months away from home.
We hired our Oregon neighbors to feed our chickens and cats while we were gone, but we took our dog with us. We drove our 1987 Jeep Wrangler and arrived two days later. We discovered that some teenagers had destroyed the mobile home (see the picture of me on the property). We were very upset.
We got the electricity turned on and decided to live in the garage. We bought a kerosene heater, a mattress from a thrift store, sheets, a twenty-dollar color TV, a camp stove, and a coffee maker. We cooked most of our food on a campfire. We were so happy to discover that the teens hadn’t destroyed the refrigerator.
There was a swing set on the property. It was in great shape, aside from a little bit of rust. Two weeks before Christmas, I decided we should give the swing set away. I tore a box apart and wrote ‘FREE’ on a section of it. We moved the swing set close to the road, yet still inside the fenced yard; and taped the sign on it.
Two days later, it was very cold and while we were cooking on our campfire, we saw a man driving by in an old pick-up truck. He parked next to the swing set. The young man and his two little girls got out and waived at us. The little girls were barefoot, their hair was unwashed, their dresses were wrinkled and dirty, and their adorable faces were filthy. They looked to be around three and four-years-old. The father asked if the swing set was still available. We told him it was.
He looked down at his little girls and asked, “So, what do ya think, girls? I could put it in the backyard and paint it for you. Then you’d have a Christmas gift.”
The little girls looked up at him, smiling; and shook their heads.
Rick helped the young father load the swing set into the back of the pick-up truck.
I had gone back to cooking and once they left, Rick told me that after the swing set was loaded, the girls looked up at him and said, “Merry Christmas, Mister.” This made me cry and still to this day, I can’t tell anybody this story without getting a lump in my throat.
Rebecca Scarberry is the author of Messages From Henry, and its sequel which is set in England, The Prince of Pigeons. She has also written Jumper, a children's picture book, and "Rag Doll", a short story.
Becky's Amazon Author Page
In : Guest Posts
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