I've told this story many times over the years....actually, I thought I'd posted it here at PTC, but I haven't-so, here 'tis.
December, 1968, a week before Christmas, and Christmas for my Ma, my two brothers and me isn't looking too bright. Practically no money, barely enough for essentials, much less for the holiday.
Wednesday morning, we were awakened by my mother in the kitchen, yelling our names. We scrambled downstairs, to find her standing by the stove, pointing indignantly at the linoleum. There, seemingly smeared on the floor in greasy soot, was a cross, about a foot wide by eighteen inches long. Ma thought one of us had gotten up and done this, which we all denied, so she had me get the mop and bucket to clean it up.
Try as I might, the cross wouldn't erase, not a speck of it. Ma took the mop, and tried it herself, to no avail. Finally, she told us to eat breakfast, and get ready for school.
I got home first that afternoon, and I found Ma in the kitchen, sitting at the table, crying; in her hand was an envelope. I thought perhaps we were getting kicked out of our apartment, but when she showed me the envelope, there was fifty dollars inside-Ma said a man from the corner bar had come by, and given it to her .
The next day, there were boxes of food, and toys, courtesey of the Salvation Army. the day after that, presents of clothing.
Every day, until Christmas Day, someone, total strangers, came to our apartment, and left something to make our Christmas brighter.
The day after Christmas, when we got up....the cross was gone.