Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter and Happy Birthday to Me! PoPo's Birthday Story

For Christians, Easter is a celebration of Christ's resurrection, giving them eternal salvation, a rebirth, a loving gift from God.  I wish a Happy Easter to those who celebrate.  Like Easter, my birthday is a celebration of rebirth and love.   I know most of you probably look at me and see a scruffy, tattered, over-sized stuffed rat.  But what I really am is a love story...

For many years, I just sat in a toy store.  I was the store mascot, which made me more important than all the other toys.  But I was so very, very lonely.   I was tucked away high on a shelf, hidden away from all the potential families who might take me home.  I never felt the warmth of a hug.  I never heard the joyful sounds of laughter.  And most importantly, I never experienced love--until one wonderful day more than 30 years ago!

One Spring day, a young man with fine blonde hair (and nice workout pecks, too!) strolled into the store.  He went immediately to the stuffed toy section.  He scrutinized each toy like a drill sergeant reviewing cadets during boot camp.  He picked up each toy—a cuddly teddy bear, a playful dog, a persnickety-looking cat, a pink-nosed rabbit—but after careful review, he discarded each one.  By the look on his face, they just did not meet his requirements.    He obviously was intent on finding one very special toy.

I watched the toys as he turned away.  They were very upset and insulted.  They were not accustomed to such rejection.    Once someone held and cuddled the toys, they usually were brought to a new home!  I looked at them with empathy—no one knew better than I did the feeling of being rejected and unloved.

The fellow headed for the front door, obviously to continue his search at another store.  Suddenly he stopped in his tracks and cast his gaze upward to that high shelf on which I sat.   No one ever really looked up here since the shelf contained just additional inventory of the toys down on the floor.    I was so excited to be noticed!   As my eyes met his, I could tell he was a kind and gentle spirit!

In a flurry, he looked around and walked again to the back of the store.  Suddenly, he returned with Beth, the Sales Associate, and was pointing up to me on the shelf!   My heart was fluttering!  Could it be he might want me!   I saw Beth look up at me, and watched in horror as she shook her head “no” and mouthed the words “not for sale”.  Beth was such a nice girl—how could she deny me a chance at true toy happiness?  My heart was heavy with sadness as I realized this toy store would be the only “home” I would ever know.   I turned away and crawled to the back of the shelf as I wiped the river of tears rolling down my chubby cheeks.Fortunately, this young man was very persistent.   He said he needed the perfect gift to tell his “special” girl that he loved her for the very first time, and that I was the perfect gift!  His romantic plan must have touched Beth’s heart!  The next thing I knew, she climbed up a ladder to my shelf, pulled me from the back corner, and placed me in his outstretched arms!  As he held me, my heart filled with gladness!  As our eyes met, he broke out into a huge smile!   My tears of sadness transformed into tears of joy as my new Daddy carried me out of the store!  My sad, lonely life would be no more, for I now would have a loving family and a permanent home!  That was on April 15, 1983, the day we celebrate my rebirth!

Someday I'll tell you more of the story, like the day I met my Mom.

But right now, I've got important business to undertake--eating a feast fit for Templeton the Rat from Charlotte's Web! Yes, Mom cooked up a storm for my birthday and Easter weekend.  From roast beef with mashed potato pie and sauteed portabello mushrooms to a pork roast with cranberry-nut stuffing, to baked ziti.  And most importantly of all, cheesecake squares, my favorite dessert!

Talk to you soon!

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