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A simple story told by James Pleitz illustrates how easily we forget how blessed we are.

Two children dressed in ragged and outgrown clothes, huddled inside the storm door. “Any old papers, lady?” The woman was busy and wanted to say so— until she looked down on their feet and saw their sandals sopped with sleet. “Come in the house, I’ll make you a cup of hot cocoa,” she said. They said nothing but came in with their wet feet and sat on the floor in front of the fire. Hot cocoa and toast with jelly warmed them from the chilling cold outside.

She went back to the kitchen and started again on housework. The silence in the front room struck her and she looked in. The girl held her empty cup in her hands, looking at it. The boy asked in a flat voice, “Lady, are you rich!” “Am I rich” Mercy, no!” was the reply.

She looked at her shabby slipcovers and the worn place in the rug. The girl put her cup in her saucer — carefully. “Your cups match your saucers,” she said. Her voice had a hunger not from the stomach. They left with their papers under their arms and had not even said thank you. They didn’t need to.

The woman tested the potatoes and stirred the gravy. Potatoes and brown gravy! A husband with a steady job! A roof over their heads! These things matched, too. As she tidied up the living room, she noticed the prints of their small sandals still wet on the rug. She left them — to remind her of how rich she was.

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