(I wrote this in 2007 just as I remembered it.)
We had another huge snowstorm the past two days. All the interstate roads are closed and people have been urged to stay in and not to travel. I was thinking today about another Winter past when I was about eight years old. We lived in government housing in the old Army barracks south of the city after my father returned from active duty with the United States Coast Guard in WWII. It was cold and blustery weather with ice and snow. Mother tucked a $20 bill in my mitten. It was her grocery money for the week. She carefully folded the bill until it was about the size of a nickel and put it inside the mitten. She asked me to go to the little grocery store a couple of blocks from our apartment. I was to get milk and a can of tomato soup–go to the store and come right back! She dressed me in a warm winter jacket with snow pants, boots and tied a scarf around my face. She made sure I had on the warm mittens. I think they were red with white snowflakes on them.
I was about to embark on an adventure. The weather had been bone-chilling and Mama was sending me on an important errand for her. Some other children were out in the frigid weather and they were throwing snowballs at each other. The snow was wet and heavy, so of course, I gave in to the temptation and joined in the snowball fight. Then, I stopped to watch the kids build a snowman near the ice skating pond. I have always been fascinated by ice skating. I don’t know how long I stood watching the skaters, but I finally realized I needed to get to the store and back home. When I arrived at the px, I told the elderly man what I needed and he brought the items up front for me. I took off my mitten and the $20 was gone. I was sure it was in the mitten, but try as I might, I couldn’t find the money. I told the storekeeper I would be back–I needed to go look for the $20 Mama had given me. I retraced my steps on the route I had taken. I looked all over the place where we were throwing snowballs. I went past the skaters and the snowman and finally went home to tell Mom what had happened. The tears were coming down now as I tried to explain I didn’t know how I had lost the money. A twenty dollar bill was a great deal of money in those days.
Mama kept her composure. Money was not plentiful in those days, but if she was disappointed in me for losing it, she didn’t show it. She dried my tears and said it was okay, God would provide and for me not to worry. I felt really awful and irresponsible. Mama could always depend on me and I had let her down. She found something else in the kitchen to cook and never mentioned it again. I deserved to be reprimanded for playing instead of doing the job Mom had entrusted me with. The wind was blowing so hard that day, it would have been impossible to find the money. It was gone forever.
Perhaps the wonder of all the Winter snow had distracted me; all the other children were having fun throwing snowballs at each other. Maybe the delight I felt at seeing the ice skaters on the pond caused me to not pay attention. And, of course, the snowman was really great. But there was no milk and no tomato soup. Worse than that, all the money was never to be seen again. I didn’t realize the magnitude of this event until much later in life. . .but the thing I remember the most was my mother’s sweet countenance and not a trace of condemnation towards me for losing something very important. Thank You, God, for a Christian mother who covered my disobedience to her instructions without a word of condemnation, loving and forgiving me when I didn’t deserve it.