"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Sandpiper

I got this as an email from three people, an omen? that I should post it?

Let me set the scene for you..... this is a tear jerker, so have the Kleenex handy as
you read this, but read it anyway..... you will love the story it tells.

The Sandpiper.

by Robert Peterson

She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live.
I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world
begins to close in on me. She was building a sand castle or something
and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.

"Hello," she said.

I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.

"I'm building," she said.

"I see that. What is it?" I asked, not really caring.

"Oh, I don't know, I just like the feel of sand."

That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes.

A sandpiper glided by.

"That's a joy," the child said.

"It's a what?"

"It's a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy."

The bird went gliding down the beach. Good-bye joy, I muttered to myself,
hello pain, and turned to walk on. I was depressed, my life seemed
completely out of balance.

"What's your name?" She wouldn't give up.

"Robert," I answered. "I'm Robert Peterson."

"Mine's Wendy... I'm six."

"Hi, Wendy."

She giggled. "You're funny," she said.

In spite of my gloom, I laughed too and walked on.
Her musical giggle followed me.

"Come again, Mr. P," she called. "We'll have another happy day."

The next few days consisted of a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings,
and an ailing mother. The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out
of the dishwater. I need a sandpiper, I said to myself, gathering up my coat.

The ever-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was
chilly but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed.

"Hello, Mr. P," she said. "Do you want to play?"

"What did you have in mind?" I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.

"I don't know. You say."

"How about charades?" I asked sarcastically.

The tinkling laughter burst forth again. "I don't know what that is."

"Then let's just walk."

Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
"Where do you live?" I asked.

"Over there." She pointed toward a row of summer cottages.

Strange, I thought, in winter.

"Where do you go to school?"

"I don't go to school. Mommy says we're on vacation."

She chattered little girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was
on other things. When I left for home, Wendy said it had been a happy day.
Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.

Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no
mood to even greet Wendy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt
like demanding she keep her child at home.

"Look, if you don't mind," I said crossly when Wendy caught up with me, "I'd
rather be alone today." She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.

"Why?" she asked.

I turned to her and shouted, "Because my mother died!" and thought,
My God, why was I saying this to a little child?

"Oh," she said quietly, "then this is a bad day."

"Yes," I said, "and yesterday and the day before and -- oh, go away!"

"Did it hurt?" she inquired.

"Did what hurt?" I was exasperated with her, with myself.

"When she died?"

"Of course it hurt!" I snapped, misunderstanding,
wrapped up in myself. I strode off.

A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn't there.
Feeling guilty, ashamed, and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up
to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn looking
young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.

"Hello," I said, "I'm Robert Peterson. I missed your little girl today
and wondered where she was."

"Oh yes, Mr. Peterson, please come in. Wendy spoke of you so much.

I'm afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance,
please, accept my apologies."

"Not at all -- she's a delightful child." I said, suddenly realizing
that I meant what I had just said.

"Wendy died last week, Mr. Peterson. She had leukemia.
Maybe she didn't tell you."

Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. I had to catch my breath.

"She loved this beach, so when she asked to come, we couldn't say no.
She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days.
But the last few weeks, she declined rapidly..." Her voice faltered, "She left
something for you, if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?"

I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something to say to this lovely young
woman. She handed me a smeared envelope with "MR. P" printed in bold
childish letters. Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues -- a yellow beach,
a blue sea, and a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:


Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten to love
opened wide. I took Wendy's mother in my arms. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,
I'm so sorry," I uttered over and over, and we wept together. The precious
little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words -- one for each
year of her life -- that speak to me of harmony, courage, and undemanding love.

A gift from a child with sea blue eyes and hair the color of sand
-- who taught me the gift of love.

NOTE: This is a true story sent out by Robert Peterson. It happened over
20 years ago and the incident changed his life forever. It serves as a
reminder to all of us that we need to take time to enjoy living and life and
each other.

The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less.

I wish for you, a sandpiper.


Merle said...

Hi Peter ~~ Great story that I had planned to post tonight. Thanks for the e mail. although we have quite a lot of different readers. I will stash it away for some time.
Take care, Cheers, Merle.

Puss-in-Boots said...

Oh dear, you're right, Peter. That is a tear jerker...with a moral to it, too, and that's not a bad thing.

Merle told me you put another photo on...it's marginally better. Nothing to do with your photography, it's the subject matter that's the problem. I'm not the slightest bit photogenic...I'm surprised your camera still works...(wry grin).

Enjoy your weekend.

Jeanette said...

Hi Peter, pleased you warned us. oh that was a tear jerker. and i agree we need to take time to enjoy living and life.

Cliff said...

A good lesson there for all of us. yep a real tear jerker.
On your last post, it appears to be the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby.
I'm pleased to say that the model with the mini skirt was very timely. I was in high school 65 to 68 and the mini skirt was the trend. One, as boys, we didn't discourage. It was always the polite thing to do to let the ladies go up the stairs first. We were real gentlemen.

JunieRose2005 said...

Oh Peter!

Such a beautiful story!

Thanks for posting this.


Jack K. said...

May love, peace and sandpipers be in your life forever.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Now, where is my handkerchief?

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Good theme.

Say, I re-linked you. I've been working on building my old blogroll since my Blogroller went online.

I kept your name, Peter the Great. It suits you.

Christina said...

Great post. I had not read that story before. Really good message.

Walker said...

Wow Exellent post Peter, thanks for putting it up

Jamie Dawn said...

Of course this changed his life forever!
What a powerful story, and yes life changing.
That part about him saying "of course it hurt!" about his mother dying, just made me so sad because of the impact it must have had on Wendy as she faced death.
Pass the Kleenex, please.

Gette said...

Damn you, I must have read that thing a hundred times and it's still killer.

Hale McKay said...

It's not nice to lay this tear jerker on me, Peter. No fair.

What a truly touching post, Peter.