Prized Possession


And blessed be he that shall bring this thing [the Book of Mormon] to light (Morm. 8:16).

Jamie stood outside looking around. No one was playing. She could hear the tap, tap, tapping of Uncle Ed’s hammer. Maybe I’ll go over and see what he’s doing, she thought.

Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth lived across the street. They weren’t really her aunt and uncle, just very special people who loved the neighborhood kids. They didn’t have any children of their own, so all the kids called them Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth.

Jamie knocked on Uncle Ed’s workshop door.

“Come in,” he hollered. “Hi, Jamie. Have you come over to help me?”

“What are you making?” she asked.

“Oh, I made a birdhouse. I’m just about ready to paint it, and I sure could use a helper.”

“I’d love to help,” said Jamie. They painted the birdhouse red and green.

“We did a good job,” said Uncle Ed. “Now we need a reward. Let’s go in and see if Aunt Ruth has some spare cookies.”

Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth’s house was a wonderful place. Jamie’s favorite thing in it was the curio cabinet in the living room. Sitting on the shelves were dolls that Aunt Ruth had collected since she was a little girl. They were all beautiful and different. On the top shelf was her most prized possession, a doll dressed in a white sailor suit. He had a china head, and his face was hand painted. With a friendly smile, he seemed to watch you wherever you were in the room. His name was Buddy, and Aunt Ruth’s own aunt had given him to her when she was eight years old. He was the beginning of her collection. All the dolls were special to her, but the most special was Buddy.

“Come in and have a cookie. I just took them out of the oven,” Aunt Ruth said.

“Jamie and I finished the birdhouse. Where do you want us to hang it?” Uncle Ed asked.

“Well, let me see. How about the elm tree?”

“Sounds good to me. Jamie and I will hang it up as soon as the paint has had time to dry. OK, Jamie?”

“Yes,” Jamie answered, crunching her cookie. “Sounds good to me too. Guess what? My birthday is on Thursday, and I’m getting baptized in my church on Saturday. Will you come to the baptism? My grandparents can’t come, and I’d love you to be there. Please?”

“We’d love to, Jamie,” Uncle Ed said. “We don’t go to church much. We really don’t belong to any church. Do you think it will be all right?”

“Of course,” Jamie responded. “It’s my special day. Mom said I could invite anyone I wanted, and I want you.”

Aunt Ruth smiled. “We’re honored, and we’ll be there. I’ll talk to your mother.”

Later, Jamie and Uncle Ed hung the birdhouse high in the elm tree.

The morning of Jamie’s birthday the sun shone brightly. Jamie hurried and dressed and ran downstairs. Everyone was waiting for her. Mom and Dad, her brothers—Mike and Tommy—and her sister, Christine.

“Happy birthday!” they yelled.

When she opened her presents, there were some clothes, a necklace from Christine, and a game from the boys. Grandma and Grandpa Ellis had sent her a set of scriptures with her name on the front in gold. Inside, Grandma had written a note:

Dear Jamie,

We are sorry that we can’t be with you on your special birthday. We are very proud of you and know that you will be a wonderful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Remember, the scriptures will be one of your most prized possessions. Read them often.

We love you,
Grandma and Grandpa

Jamie smiled when she read the note. That afternoon after school, Jamie put away her presents and thought about Saturday. It was going to be even more exciting than today. Her aunt and uncle and cousins would be there. Bishop Davis and her Primary teacher, Sister Naylor, would be there, too, with her CTR A class. And, of course, Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth were coming.

Jamie went downstairs where Christine was setting the table for her birthday dinner. The doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it!” Mike hollered.

It was Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth. “We won’t stay long. We know it’s your dinnertime. We have a present for Jamie.” Aunt Ruth handed Jamie a large white box tied with a big pink bow.

“Ruthie’s been more excited about this than Jamie will be, I think,” Uncle Ed said.

Jamie untied the ribbon and carefully lifted off the lid.

“Hurry up!” Tommy squealed.

“I’m hurrying as fast as I can!” Jamie carefully took out several pieces of tissue paper. Nestled in the middle of the layers of tissue paper was Buddy, Aunt Ruth’s prized doll. “Oh, Aunt Ruth,” cried Jamie, “thank you, thank you!”

“You’re welcome, Jamie. I got Buddy when I was eight years old, and since there are no little girls in my family, I want you to have him. He’s my most prized possession—next to Uncle Ed,” Aunt Ruth said with a chuckle.

“Aunt Ruth, I promise I’ll take good care of him. Oh, this is the best birthday ever!”

Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth were invited to stay for dinner and for birthday cake, which made Jamie very happy. When they went home, she went upstairs to get ready for bed. She put Buddy on the shelf above her dresser, right next to her scriptures. My two prized possessions, she thought. As she lay in bed, the moonlight shone brightly through the window. She could see Buddy smiling at her. Then she noticed the light on her scriptures. The best idea popped into her head! She fell asleep wondering why she hadn’t thought of it before.

The next morning Jamie was up and dressed early. She ran downstairs with something in her hand. “I have to see Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth,” she told Mom. “I’ll be back in a minute.”

Aunt Ruth was surprised to see Jamie so early in the morning.

“Aunt Ruth, last night you gave me one of your most prized possessions,” Jamie said. “This is one of mine.” Jamie handed Aunt Ruth the copy of the Book of Mormon she had received from Primary. “Please read it and then talk to my mom and dad about it. They can tell you how you can keep another one of your prized possessions—Uncle Ed—forever.” Jamie hurried down the walk, calling back, “See you at my baptism.”

Saturday afternoon Jamie and her parents waited anxiously at the church until they saw Uncle Ed and Aunt Ruth come through the door.

“Hello, Jamie,” they said, giving her a hug. “We read your book all day yesterday and most of the night, and we’d like to talk to you and your folks about it soon.”

“We’d be very happy to talk to you about it,” Jamie’s dad said as he welcomed them.

“Your little Jamie’s quite a missionary,” said Uncle Ed.

After the baptism, Dad confirmed Jamie a member of the Church and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. A warm feeling came over her, and she knew that she had just received the most prized possession of all.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Ron Peterson