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The Perfume

Mrs. Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkept and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant.

It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all. Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s records and put Teddy’s off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh.” “He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around.”

His second-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy continues to work hard but his mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”
Teddy’s fourth-grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem.”

By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem, but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.

Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy’s, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents.
Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to.”

After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called “Teddy.”
As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days where there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and…well, he had also become the “pet” of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.

A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he’d had in elementary school, she was his favorite. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.

He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher, but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs.Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made  sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.

They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you Mrs.Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference.  I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(author unknown)

It’s Just a Dog

From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog,”
or “that’s a lot of money for just a dog.”

They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent,
or the costs involved for “just a dog.”

Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.”

Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,”
but I did not once feel slighted.

Some of my saddest moments have been brought aobut by
“just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch
of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.

If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you probably understand
phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”

“Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship,
trust, and pure unbridled joy.
“Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience
that make me a better person.
Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look
longingly to the future.

So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog”
but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.

“Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts
away from myself and the worries of the day.

I hope that someday they can understand that its’ not “just a dog”
but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being
“just a man” or “just a woman.”

So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog,”
just smile,
because they “just don’t understand.”

~Unknown Author~

 

Christian the Lion

This is a true story (from “christian, the lion who thought he was people”).

Christian the Lion – 2nd and Final Reunion!

Christian the Lion’s second reunion with Ace and John was caught on film. They didn’t know that this was the last time they would ever see Christian again.

The Other Woman

After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love. A little while ago I had started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife’s idea.

“I know that you love her,” she said one day, taking me by surprise.

“But I love YOU,” I protested.

“I know, but you also love her.”

The other woman that my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years, but the demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally.

That night I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

“What’s wrong, are you well,” she asked?

My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

“I thought that it would be pleasant to pass some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”

She thought about it for a moment then said “I would like that very much.”

That Friday after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous.
When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous
about our date.

She waited in the door with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was
wearing the dress she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary.
She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s.

“I told my friends I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting”.

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy.
My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady.

After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Half way through the entrée, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips. “It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said.

“Then it’s time you relax and let me return thefavor,” I respond.

During the dinner we had an agreeable conversation -nothing extraordinary –
but catching up on recent events of each others life.

We talked so much we missed the movie. As we arrived at her house later, she
said “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you”.

I agreed.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home.

“Very nice. Much more so than I could have imagined,”I answered.

A few days later my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so
suddenly I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her.

Some time later I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt
from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid
this bill in advance. I was almost sure I couldn’t be there but, never-the-less, I paid for two plates – one for you and the other for your wife. You will never know what that night meant for me. I love you.”

At that moment I understood the importance of saying, in time: “I LOVE YOU” and to give our loved ones the time they deserve.

Nothing in life is more important than God and your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot be put off to “some other time”.

(author unknown)

What Is Enough?

Recently I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure.

Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said “I love you and I wish you enough”..

The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough.. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom”.

They kissed and the daughter left.

The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking “Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever goodbye?”.

“I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is — the next trip back will be for my funeral” she said.

“When you were saying goodbye, I heard you say ‘I wish you enough’. May I ask what that means?”. She began to smile.

“That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone”.
She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail she smiled even more.

“When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”.

Then turning toward me she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

Send this to the people you will never forget and remember to send it back to the person who sent it to you.

If you don’t send it to anyone it may mean that you are in such a hurry that you have forgotten your friends.

TAKE TIME TO LIVE…..

To all my friends and loved ones,

I Wish You Enough !

(author unknown)

THE MOST

The most destructive habit…………………………Worry
The greatest Joy………………………………………Giving
The greatest loss………………….Loss of self-respect
The most satisfying work………………..Helping others
The ugliest personality trait………………..Selfishness
The most endangered species……..Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource………………..Our youth
The greatest “shot in the arm”………..Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome………………….Fear
The most effective sleeping pill………Peace of mind
The most crippling failure disease…………….Excuses
The most powerful force in life……………………..Love
The most dangerous pariah………………….A gossiper
The world’s most incredible computer…….The brain
The worst thing to be without……………………. Hope
The deadliest weapon………………………..The tongue
The two most power-filled words……………..”I Can”
The greatest asset…………………………………..Faith
The most worthless emotion………………….Self-pity
The most beautiful attire…………………………..SMILE!
The most prized possession………………….. Integrity
The most powerful channel of communication…….Prayer
The most contagious spirit………………..Enthusiasm

(author unknown)

Randy Pausch Last Lecture

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” Pausch talked about his lessons learned and gave advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.