Time: Sun Oct 05 16:55:49 1997
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Date: Sun, 05 Oct 1997 16:52:00 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "Pappy's Bell" (fwd)

> Pappy's Bell
> submitted by Kathy624
> Pappy was a pleasant-looking old fellow.  He had the whitest hair which he
>kept neatly cut and combed.  His eyes were blue, though faded with age, and
>they seemed to emit a warmth from within.  His face was quite drawn, but when
>he smiled, even his wrinkles seemed to soften and smile with him.  He had a
>talent for whistling and did so happily each day as he dusted and swept his
>pawnshop; even so, he had a secret sadness, but everyone who knew him
>respected and adored him.
> Most of Pappy's customers returned for their good, and he did not do much
>business, but he did not mind.  To him, the shop was not a livelihood as much
>as a welcome pastime.  
> There was a room in the back of his shop where he spent time tinkering with
>a menagerie of his own precious items.  He referred to this back room as
>"memory hall."  In it were pocket watches, clocks, and electric trains.
> There were miniature steam engines and antique toys made of wood, tin, or
>cast iron, and there were various other obsolete trinkets as well.  Spending
>time in memory hall delighted him as he recalled many treasured moments from
>his past.  He handled each item with care, and sometimes he would close his
>eyes and pause to relive a sweet, simple childhood memory.
> One day, Pappy was working to his heart's content reassembling an old
>railroad lantern.  As he worked, he whistled the melody of a railroad tune
>and reminisced about his own past as a switchman.  It was a typical day at
>the shop.  Outside, the sun illuminated the clear sky, and a slight wind
>passed through the front screen door.  Whenever the weather was this nice,
>Pappy kept the inner door open.  He enjoyed the fresh air--almost as much as
>the distinctive smell of antiques and old engine oil.
> As he was polishing his newly restored lantern, he heard the tinkling of his
>bell on the shop door.  The bell, which produced a uniquely charming resound,
>had been in Pappy's family for over a hundred years.  He cherished it dearly
>and enjoyed sharing its song with all who came to his shop.  Although the
>bell hung on the inside of the main door, Pappy had strung a wire to the
>screen door so that it would ring whether the inner door was open or not.
> Prompted by the bell, he left memory hall to greet his customer.  
> At first, he did not see her.  Her shiny, soft curls barely topped the
> "And how can I help you, little lady?"  Pappy's voice was jovial.
> "Hello, sir."  The little girl spoke almost in a whisper.  She was dainty.
> Bashful.  Innocent.  She looked at Pappy with her big brown eyes, then
>slowly scanned the room in search of something special.
> Shyly she told him, "I'd like to buy a present, sir."
> "Well, let's see," Pappy said, "who is this present for?"
> "My grandpa.  It's for my grandpa.  But I don't know what to get."
> Pappy began to make suggestions.  "How about a pocket watch?  It's in good
>condition.  I fixed it myself," he said proudly.
> The little girl didn't answer.  She had walked to the doorway and put her
>smalll hand on the door.  She wiggled the door gently to ring the bell.
> Pappy's face seemed to glow as he saw her smiling with excitement.
> "This is just right," the little girl bubbled.  "Momma says grandpa loves
> Just then, Pappy's expression changed.  Fearful of breaking the little
>girl's heart, he told her, "I'm sorry, missy.  That's not for sale.  Maybe
>your grandpa would like this little radio."
> The little girl looked at the radio, lowered her head, and sadly sighed,
>"No, I don't think so."
> In an effort to help her understand, Pappy told her the story of how the
>bell had been in his family for so many years, and that was why he didn't
>want to sell it.
> The little girl looked up at him, and with a giant tear in her eye, sweetly
>said, "I guess I understand.  Thank you, anyway."
> Suddenly, Pappy thought of how the rest of the family was all gone now,
>except for his estranged daughter whom he had not seen in nearly a decade.
> Why not, he thought.  Why not pass it on to someone who will share it with a
>loved one?  God only knows where it will end up anyway.
> "Wait...little lady."  Pappy spoke just as the little girl was going out the
>door--just as he was hearing his bell ring for the last time.  "I've decided
>to sell the bell.  Here's a hanky.  Blow your nose."
> The little girl began to clap her hands.  "Oh, thank you, sir.  Grandpa will
>be so happy."
> "Okay, little lady.  Okay."  Pappy felt good about helping the child; he
>knew, however, he would miss the bell.  "You must promise to take good care
>of the bell for your grandpa--and for me, too, okay?"  He carefully placed
>the bell in a brown paper bag.
> "Oh, I promise," said the little girl.  Then, she suddenly became very still
>and quiet.  There was something she had forgotten to ask.  She looked up at
>Pappy with great concern, and again almost in a whisper, asked, "How much
>will it cost?"
> "Well, let's see.  How much have you got to spend?"  Pappy asked with a
> The child pulled a small coin purse from her pocket then reached up and
>empited two dollars and forty-seven cents onto the counter.  After briefly
>questioning his own sanity, Pappy said, "Little lady, this is your lucky day.
> That bell costs exactly two dollars and forty-seven cents."
>                                                     *       *       *
> Later that evening as Pappy prepared to close up shop, he found himself
>thinking about his bell.  Already he had decided not to put up another one.
> He thought about the child and wondered if her grandpa like his gift.
> Surely he would cherish anything from such a precious grandchild.
> At that moment, just as he was going to turn off the light in memory hall,
>Pappy thought he heard his bell.  Again, he questioned his sanity; he turned
>toward the door, and there stood the little girl.  She was ringing the bell
>and smiling sweetly.
> Pappy was puzzled as he strolled toward the small child.  "What's this,
>little lady?  Have you changed your mind?"
> "No," she grinned.  "Momma says it's for you."
> Before Pappy had time to say another word, the child's mother stepped into
>the doorway, and choking back a tear, she gently said, "Hello, Dad."
> The little girl tugged on her grandpa's shirttail.  "Here, Grandpa.  Here's
>your hanky.   Blow your nose."

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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