By Tori Close
Six-year-old Hannah's eyes sparkled, and her cheeks were tinted rose with excitement as she entered the General Store on Main Street. The scents of cinnamon, coffee, and spices assaulted her senses as she stood by the front door and gazed about.
Gently smoothing out her skirt, Hannah adjusted her gloves as she had seen Mama do so many times before. Her hard-earned quarter was tucked neatly away in a bit of cloth, inside her little purse, which dangled daintily from her wrist. This was her day. She wanted to relish every moment.
Her mama smiled down at her, then gently nudged her further inside the door, encouraging her to take a look around.
The little girl had dreamed of this for the past month, ever since Mama had promised Hannah her very first shopping trip for being such a big help during the days immediately following Granny's illness. Mama had let her keep a quarter out of the egg money, since she said they wouldn't have even had eggs to sell if it weren't for Hannah gathering them each morning so she could rest.
Papa had given Mama a tender smile then, which Hannah didn't quite understand at the time. Not that she really tried to. All she could see was that shiny quarter in the palm of her hand. A quarter of her very own!
Now that she was actually here, she wasn't quite sure where to start.
Hannah took a step toward the candy counter, thinking of the delectable treats that awaited her there. Did she want sour balls? Her mouth began to water and her jaw to ache just at the thought. Maybe a stick of peppermint would be nice. She usually only received those once a year at Christmastime, from her beloved Granny. If she took a bag of candies to school on Monday, she would be the envy of all her chums!
She made her way past the candy counter, and began looking at the ribbons and lace. Hannah could just picture a new pink ribbon entwined delicately in her hair and cascading down her back as she sat in Church on Sunday. The sunlight would hit it just so, and enhance the sheen of her perfectly brushed hair.
The coffee called to her next. Hannah had loved the smell of coffee ever since she could remember. Oh, she knew she couldn't drink it herself, but how grown up it would be to purchase some beans and watch them be ground!
Hannah glanced over at Mama, who threw her another one of her brilliant smiles and waved to her from the corner where she chatted gaily with her closest friend.
In Hannah's opinion, her mama was perfect. Graceful, intelligent, gentle, and always willing to help a neighbor in need; those were the qualities that so many admired in her.
Papa had told Hannah that he and Mama had prayed for a little girl for a long time before she came along. He said that Mama had commented many times on how she looked forward to the day she could pick the wildflowers that bloomed in the field alongside their house with her little girl. How she couldn't wait to teach her about Jesus, sew her first gown, and eventually, prepare her with bridal lilies. Papa said Hannah was just the little girl her mama always dreamed of. Hannah's Papa sure did love "his girls."
After much thought, Hannah finally made her decisions, and had each item wrapped separately. There were her parcels, all tied up with twine-just like Mama's. She received a nickel in return and went to tell her mama that she was done. Mama glanced at her purchases curiously, but didn't question.
Late that night, after everyone was asleep, Hannah lay awake thinking of her tiny treasures.
Quietly, she crept out of bed and retrieved her parcels. She placed the tin of coffee next to Papa's plate, and slipped the pink ribbon into Mama's jewelry box. Next, she took the peppermint sticks and put them next to her granny's Bible on the nightstand.
She crawled back into bed with a grateful heart. Jesus would get her nickel next Sunday at church. He deserved it more than anyone. He had kept her granny safe and had given Hannah the best mama and papa a girl could ask for. She was blessed.
Hannah faded off to dreamland with the joy of her first shopping trip swirling around in her mind. It was everything she knew it would be.
Tori Close is a freelance writer and photographer living in the beautiful state of Montana with her husband, and two children. She has always had a passion for the written word, and believes that the Lord is directing her to a full-time writing career. She currently runs http://www.cybersisterscafe.com, an inspirational eZine for women. To learn more about her you can also visit her website at http://www.toriclose.com.