Simple Gifts

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Her

       Hands shook as she took the steaming bowl from the tray.

       Her oversized winter coat was threadbare and frayed.

       I could tell it had been a long time since her last meal.

       No one that came here ever looked well-fed.

       I never knew what to say to our patrons so I just offered her a shy

Smile.

       She smiled back and as I served the next man his stew,

       I noticed the stooped woman, slowly shuffing away.

       Her back was to me but somehow I could tell she was still smiling.

       She chose her spot at a long wooden table and began to eat.

       I stepped in to the back and

Warmed

       The unserved soup on the beat up stove top.

       There was a big crowd tonight, bigger than usual.

       The tables were almost filled, except the one with the old woman at the end.

       As I crossed the room to offer the woman seconds,

       She stood up and put her withered hand over

My heart.

      Then she winked at me and walked out.

      I will never forget that woman.

      Somehow I had never felt that way while working at the kitchen,

      But my simple gift of service had made her truly happy.

      And in return, her smile had warmed my heart.

 

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