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A Yard Sale for Our Vets



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"...we can't ever forget the brave men and women who have fought to keep our country free."
As the Cub Scout meeting in honor of July 4th drew to a close, the audience stood and reverently sang the Star Spangled Banner. Ike glanced at his mother as the song ended and saw tears shining on her face. He knew they were tears expressing the pride she felt for their country. Ike felt it, too, and wondered what his family could do to show the gratitude they felt for the freedom gained by the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

After they got home, they fixed root beer floats and sat about their sturdy oak table, sipping and spooning while they talked.

"I'd forgotten that Thomas Jefferson had written the Declaration of Independence, but Adams and Benjamin Franklin helped," said Izzy as she poured more of the icy root beer into her glass.

"Yeah," agreed their father. "It's a magnificent document. All of the 13 colonies except for New York approved it, and we can't ever forget the brave men and women who have fought to keep our country free."

"I think we need to do something to show our appreciation for our veterans," Mom chimed in, as she wiped up the spills from the root beer that had fizzed above the glasses.

Ruby Jane had taken a final noisy slurp from her glass. She was holding her pet guinea pig, Brownie. "I know," she said with a wide grin. "I can take Brownie to that big hospital and show him to them. They'd think that he's the cutest little guy they have ever, ever seen."

"Are there any girl veterans?" she asked as she stood on tip-toes to let Brownie peer into the fridge.
"You mean the Veterans Hospital," Dad said. "Good idea, if they let little creatures visit, but I know we can take other things."

"Yeah," Izzy jumped up so quickly she knocked the chair over and sent their dog, Charlie, scurrying to get out of the way. "We can all take something to them. But what?"

Mother had been sitting quietly, listening. "I know. The ladies in church were talking about this last week. One of them has an uncle who is a patient there, and she said they like puzzles, books, notebooks, pens, and things to entertain them. She said they also need personal things like tooth brushes and tooth paste, razors, and lotion."

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Izzi looked thoughtful. "Cool ideas," she said, "but I just spent all of my allowance, so I can't even go to the Dollar Store."

"I've got some more beads," Ruby Jane said as she twirled across the floor, causing Brownie to squeal in protest. "Are there any girl veterans?" she asked as she stood on tip-toes to let Brownie peer into the fridge.

Mom smiled. "Yes, there are ladies in the hospital who are veterans. You can find out how many and make one of your 'designer' necklaces for each of them."
Ike and Izzi looked puzzled. Charlie, noting their worried look, snuggled between them on the couch and nuzzled Ike's hand.

"I've got a lot of stuff to give away, like my baseball mitt," Ike said, "but I don't think guys in the hospital would like that."

"Yeah," echoed Izzi, "know what you mean. No one would like my dolls and their clothes. I cleaned out my closet and have lots of stuff."

"Perfect," said Mom. "I read a magazine article that told of young people having garage sales to raise money for charity."

"WOW!" shouted Dad. "We can get rid of all of these unneeded things and take what you earn to buy items for the patients in the Veterans Hospital."

Ruby Jane looked doubtful. "Our garage has got too many things in it to set up tables to hold all our stuff."

"A garage sale doesn't need to be in a garage, sweetheart," Mom said, giving Ruby Jane a hug. "Our yard is big enough to hold it there."

"Bingo!" they all shouted.

Izzy looked thoughtful as she brushed her bangs from her eyes. "I like having the sale, buying things for our vets, and visiting them at the VA Hospital, but I also want those who are serving our country to know how much we appreciate them."

"Me too," Ike agreed, looking solemn.

"And I know one way we can do this," Mom explained. "This suggestion is from a gentleman in Seattle, who has started a Gratitude Campaign. He says when you see someone in uniform, place your right hand over your heart, then extend your hand with the palm out to show respect."

"Great idea," Dad said. "Now someone tell me how to sign 'I want a hamburger!'"

Charlie started yapping to show how much he agreed with that idea.

Dear Readers: If you can't take a little gift to a veteran on July 4th, write a letter to someone who is serving our country and say a hearty thanks to them for helping to preserve our freedom.

If you would like to have a story written about you for Nanny's Story Time, send your name and a subject you like. If you are selected, a story will be written about you in the magazine. Send your idea to www.kerncountyfamily@earthlink.net. Please list your subject matter as "Idea for Nanny."
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