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Pappy was a pleasant fellow. His face was quite drawn from age, but when he smiled, even his wrinkles seemed to smile with him. Pappy owned a pawnshop. Everyone who knew him respected and adored him. There was a room in the back of his shop where he spent time tinkering with his own precious items. He referred to the back room as "Memory Hall." In it were pocket watches, clocks, and electric trains. Pappy enjoyed spending time in Memory Hall. Sometimes, he would close his eyes to relive a sweet, simple childhood memory.


One day, Pappy was reassembling an old railroad lantern. As he polished his lantern, he heard the bell on the shop door. The bell had been in Pappy’s family for over a hundred years. He cherished it dearly. Pappy left Memory Hall to greet his customer. At first, he didn’t see anyone. His customer was shorter than the counter. Pappy said, "How can I help you?" The little girl looked at Pappy with her big brown eyes, then slowly scanned the room in search of something special. She said, "I’d like to buy a present 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. The little girl didn’t answer. Finally, she walked to the door. She wiggled the door gently to ring the bell. The little girl smiled with excitement. "This is just right," the little girl bubbled. "Momma says grandpa loves music." Just then, Pappy knew what she wanted, his bell. He didn’t want to break the little girl’s heart. "I’m sorry, but that’s not for sale. Maybe your grandpa would like a radio." The little girl looked at the radio and 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 many years and that was why he didn’t want to sell it. The little girl said, "I guess I understand. Thank you, anyway." Suddenly, Pappy thought of how the rest of the family was gone—that was, except for his estranged daughter whom he had not seen in a decade. Pappy thought, why not pass the bell on to someone who would share it with a loved one. He said, "I’ve decided to sell the bell." The little girl, said, "Oh, thank you. Grandpa will be so happy." Pappy felt good about helping the child even though he knew he would miss the bell.


Later that evening, Pappy prepared to close up shop. He found himself thinking about the bell. He thought about the child and wondered if her grandpa liked the gift. He knew that any grandfather would cherish anything from such a precious grandchild. Just then, as he turned off the lights in Memory Hall, Pappy thought he heard his bell. But, he knew that was ridiculous, he had sold his bell. In a minute, he heard the bell again. He turned toward the door and there stood the little girl. She was ringing the bell and smiling. Pappy was puzzled, "What’s this? 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. Choking back her tears, she said, "Hello, Dad."

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