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I remember the first time my mama told it to me, it was the day my grand daddy died. I was sitting on the porch a few hours after the funeral, bawling my eyes out when my mama came up to me and said: “Child, don’t you cry no more.”
And I said “But Mama, I’m so sad!”
“I know you’re sad but, I’ll teach ya a trick. Whenever you feel sad and like ya can’t move on, look to the stars and they’ll give you strength.”
When my mama said Papa went on a trip and she had to look for work, I tried to look to the stars. But, Papa never came back and you can’t see the stars during the day anyway. When my brother had to drop out of school to work at the factory I tried to look at the stars but, the trees were in the way. And when my sister Mary and I had to go to bed hungry, the sky was covered with clouds.
So, since I couldn’t look to the stars like Mama told me too, I worked real hard in school. My grand daddy had always told me that to get anywhere in life you had to do real well in school. Eventually I had to take a part-time job in the factory too, but I still gave my best effort. Through school I learned my favorite thing in the world was to write. I would keep little bits paper and write little rhymes on them and when I had a larger scraps, I would write stories. I had to write incredibly tiny, but I enjoyed writing just the same. I loved the way words seemed to pour from my pen to create ideas, stories, and emotions. Then one day my teacher told me the principal, Mr. Wright, needed to see me. My knees knocked together nervously as I sat outside that principal’s office. I knew they must have discovered Mary and I had been sneaking food scraps from the cafeteria. My heart pounded and I felt like I was going to fall off the bench. When the principal called me in to his office, I was ready to pour my heart out and accept all the blame for taking food but, he didn’t give me the chance.
“Ms. Evans, I’ve noticed you have a fancy for writing.” He said. He was sitting at his desk half looking at me, half reading a letter. His expression: unreadable.
“Oh, more than you could dream sir.” I said as my heart beat began to slow.
“Have you ever shared your writing with anyone else?” He asked me.
“Well other than papers I’ve turned in to my teachers, not really sir. I am a bit shy when it comes to my writing and I don’t know if other folks would even like it.
“Well then I’m afraid I must ask for your forgiveness then.” He said and put down the letter.
“I beg your pardon, sir?”
“You see, over the years your teachers have given me some of your essays and I’ve found them to be of the up most quality.” He stood up, turned around and gazed out the window. “In fact, I took a fancy to one paper so much, without your permission; I submitted it in a contest.”
At the time I couldn’t think of anything to say except “Oh.”
“But I think I have a way to redeem myself in your eyes.” He continued.
“How is that, sir?” I asked, still dumbfounded.
He turned to me and grinned. “Well you see Ms. Evans, you won.”
“I won...?” I felt like there was a rainbow in my head; like I could leap up and touch the sun without being burnt.
“Ms. Evans, your paper won a national writing contest and in addition to a nice trophy,” tears came to Mr. Wright’s eyes, “you’re receiving a full scholarship to college.”
There will come a time in your life where you have more happiness than the human heart could ever contain. Whether it’s from the birth of your new baby, finding the love of your life, or having a dream come true; there will be a time where you are so elated, you lose your ability to speak. Mr. Wright understanding this offered to walk me home to tell the news to my family. On the way to my house I gazed at the sunset and couldn’t help but cry.
“What’s wrong?” Mr. Wright asked me.
“They’re just so beautiful.” I sobbed.
“What’s beautiful?” he asked me.