Friday, February 5, 2010

Jake's Gift

I have been meaning to type up this story to share with you for a couple of weeks. Things have been a little crazy round here with trying to get through the school days and coping with my on going sinus headaches and a little boy who simply has not been his best for weeks now. Poor Z is at the end of a 10 day antibiotic course and I cant say he is better. Still coughing, bunged up and having headaches. It is not easy to cope with school when one feels so awful.

Anyway, I have digressed. The story I want to share has touched us in an unbelievable way. K is reading a book called "Stories for the Extreme Teens Heart". It is a book that I think each and every teen ( and adult) should read. Here goes!

Jake's Gift

Author Unknown

Bill was a big, awkward, homely guy. He dressed oddly with ill fitting clothes.
There were several fellows who thought it smart to make fun of him. One day, one fellow noticed a small tear in his shirt and gave it a small rip. Another worker in the factory added his bit, and before long there was quite a ribbon dangling.
Bill went about his work, and as he passed too near a moving belt the shirt strip was sucked into the machinery.In a split second, the sleeve and Bill were in trouble.
Alarms were sounded , switches pulled ,and trouble was avoided. The foreman, however, aware of what had happened, summoned the men and related this story:

In my younger days I worked in a small factory. That's when I first met Mike. He was big and witty, was always making jokes and playing little pranks. Mike was a leader. Then there was Pete who was a follower. He always went along with Mike. And then there was a man named Jake.
He was a little older than the rest of us -quiet, harmless, apart. He always ate his lunch by himself. He wore the same patched trousers for three years straight. He never entered into the games we played at noon, wrestling, horseshoes and such. He appeared to be indifferent, always sitting quietly alone under a tree instead. Jake was a natural target for practical jokes. He might find a live frog in his dinner pail or a dead rodent in his hat.
But he always took it in good humour.Then one fall, when things were slack, Mike took off a few days to go hunting. Pete went along, of course. And they promised all of us that if they got anything they'd bring us each a piece.
So we were all quite excited when we heard that they'd returned and that Mike had gotten a really big buck. We heard more than that. Pete could never keep anything to himself, and it leaked out that they had a real real whopper to play on Jake. Mike had cut up the critter and had made a nice package for each of us, and for the laugh, for the joke of it, he had saved the ears, the tail, the hoofs. It would be so funny when Jake unwrapped them. Mike distributed the packages during the noon hour. The biggest package of all he saved until last. It was for Jake.
Pete was all but bursting, and Mike looked very smug.
Like always, Jake sat by himself; he was on the far side of the big table.
Mike pushed the package over to where he could reach it, and we all sat and waited. Jake was never one to say much. You might never know that he was around for all the talking he did. In three years he'd never said a hundred words. So we were all quite astounded at what happened next.
He took took the package firmly in his grip and rose slowly to his feet. He smiled broadly at Mike- and it was then we noticed that his eyes were glistening. His Adam's apple bobbed up and down for a moment , and then he got control of himself.
" I knew you wouldn't forget me," he said gratefully. "I knew you'd come through! You re big and you're playful, but I knew all along that you had a good heart." He swallowed again and then took in the rest of us. "I know I haven't seemed to chummy with you men, but I never meant to be rude. You see, Ive got nine kids at home - and a wife that's been an invalid - bed fast for four years now. She ain't going to get any better. And sometimes when shes real bad off, I have to sit up all night to take care of her. And most of my wages have had to go for doctors and medicine.The kids do all they can to help out, but at times its been hard to keep food in their mouths. Maybe you think its funny that I go off by myself to eat dinner. Well, I guess Ive been a little ashamed, because I don't always have anything between my sandwich. Or like today - maybe there's only a raw turnip in y pail. But I want you to know that this meat really means a lot to me. Maybe more than to anybody here because tonight my kids...." he wiped the tears from his eyes with the back of his hand, " tonight my kids will have a really...."
He tugged at the string. We'd been watching Jake so intently we hadn't paid much notice to Mike and Pete. But we all noticed them now, because they both dove at once to grab the package. But they were too late. Jake had broken the wrapper and was already surveying his present. He examined each hoof, each ear, and then he held up the tail. It wiggled limply. It should ave been so funny but nobody laughed - nobody at all. But the hardest part was when Jake got up and said, "Thank you," while trying to smile.
Silently each man moved forward carrying his package and quietly placed it in front of Jake for they had suddenly realised how little their own gift had really meant to them.....until now.
This was where the foreman left the story and the men.
He didn't need to say anymore; but it was gratifying to notice that as each man ate his lunch that day, they shared part with Bill and one fellow even took off his shirt and gave it to him.

All of you should be of one mind , full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. 1 Peter 3:8

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