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  The Toy Home.                                                       Page 10 of 12
 

             So the first miracle had occurred:  the little bear had been rescued from the street, and by the end of that same day was sitting propped up against a large sign that said, PLEASE HELP.

            He watched many people come in with all kinds of things, as the community responded to make sure Christmas would be saved for many needy families.  One of the St. Vincent volunteers brought in a radio, and the little bear listened as news reports told of people all across the city, the state and even the country sending in money, clothes and toys.  “Truly a miracle,” the news reports said.  And on one of the days, when a photographer for the Detroit Free Press took a picture of the little bear and his sign, the little bear realized that he had been part of the second miracle, too.

            Now it was the middle of the day on Christmas Eve, and the little bear was getting anxious.  Would the girl come and get him in time?

            Suddenly, he felt himself lifted, and the big black woman was looking at him and smiling.  "Time for you to get fixed up, Mr. Bear!” she said, and produced a needle and brown thread.

            So it was that, when Sarah and her mother came to pick up the little bear, Mr. Bear was waiting for them, his singed arm reattached, and two new brown buttons shining from his waistcoat!

            “Mr. Bear!”  Sarah held the little bear tightly.  “Thank you so much for fixing him!”

            “Not a problem,” the big black woman said:  “Mr. Bear done a real good job.”

            “Gonna miss my mascot, though!” the old man exclaimed.

            As Sarah, her mother and the little bear were leaving, the little bear peeped out from under Sarah’s arm for a last look at the stacks of toys and clothing.  A man was moving some of the sacks from the front to the back of the room.  As he lifted them, something fell from one of the sacks.

            Could it be ...?  As he was carried out into the cold December afternoon, the little bear carried with him the knowledge that, there on the floor of the makeshift St. Vincent collection center, the witch with the broken broomstick was at least safe and looked after.

***

             What happened during the rest of Christmas Eve was a blur for the little bear.  Sarah had insisted that Mr. Bear be wrapped up, so he could be a present to go with all the other presents under the tree (“Even though I know this year we won’t have that many presents,” she had said).

            Because he was being wrapped in a present-box, the little bear fell into the kind of drowsiness that all toys feel on Christmas Eve -- all toys that will be unwrapped and wake up to their new lives on Christmas morning.  Through his drowsiness, he remembered all the happy times from his past, plus his new experiences with the clown, the witch, and the rocking horse ... The rocking horse ... How the little bear hoped that his wish had come true, and that the rocking horse would wake up to a new life on Christmas day, too!  And even if the little bear couldn’t know what would have happened to the rocking horse, he knew he would never stop hoping and believing that by a miracle the rocking horse had been saved.

***

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