JEMIMA’S CHRISTMAS STOCKING

JEMIMA’S CHRISTMAS STOCKING by Eric Lennick

Jemima Barton was a lady of seventy-six years and a spinster. She lived alone in a small, terraced house ever since her mother, Alice died.

Jemima had many quaint habits, and one of these was to hang up a stocking every Christmas Eve. She, of course, had no expectations of finding it filled but – to make the occasion more cheerful – she placed a mall gift inside addressed to herself.

On this particular Christmas morning, Miss Barton made herself a breakfast of muesli, toast and coffee, as usual and opened her Christmas cards; placing them around the room, like friends.  She then approached the stocking and stared in amazement at the contents, for not only was there the gift she had bought herself, but also a small box of chocolates and an envelope. With trembling fingers, Jemima opened it and found a note which read,

Dear lady, While shopping in the supermarket earlier this year, as you know…your handbag was stolen. I take full responsibility for its theft and am thoroughly ashamed of the act.  It must have caused you much distress. Soon after my ignoble deed, my mother suddenly collapsed and died. I was heart-broken, and after the tears, did much soul-searching. What sort of a man had I become, I asked myself. My late mother was an honourable woman and certainly didn’t bring me up to be a thief…I even recalled her words: “Remember son, everyone is someone that counts!” Late, I readily admit, but the penny dropped and I am now a better, improved person, and intend staying one.

Hoping you can find it in your heart to forgive me, I look forward to a happier Christmas, and hope the same for you. As you will see, I have returned your keys and enclosed enough money to buy a new handbag. Use it in good health.

Yours sincerely,

Noel Hawkins”