Valentine for Grandpa

By Debi Copfer

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    Every man shall give as he is able (Deut. 16:17).

    Matthew slapped a pickle on top of his peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich. He opened his mouth wide for an extra big bite. Crunch! Matthew bit into the pickle. “Yummmm,” he said, jelly sliding out one corner of his mouth and peanut butter sneaking out he other. He wiped his sleeve across his lips.

    Peanut-butter-jelly-and-pickle sandwiches were Matthew’s and Grandpa’s favorite. Matthew had showed Grandpa how to make them, and Grandpa said they tasted great!

    Grandpa used to live at Matthew’s house. But one day Grandpa got a terrible disease. It made him very sick. The doctors tried to help him, but there didn’t seem to be anything they could do. Then one day Grandpa died. Matthew missed him. He missed him a lot. Mom said that Grandpa was now living with Heavenly Father and that he wouldn’t be in pain anymore. Matthew was glad Heavenly Father would take care of Grandpa, but he still missed him.

    Matthew licked the jelly off each finger and picked up the valentine that sat next to his glass of milk. He had made it all by himself. Red hearts covered the card, and silver glitter formed neat letters that spelled out “I Love You.” Tomorrow was Valentine Day, and this special valentine was just for Grandpa.

    “Mom, tomorrow can we mail my valentine to Grandpa?” Matthew asked as Mom tucked him into bed that night.

    Mom smiled. “Grandpa is in heaven. The post office doesn’t deliver mail to heaven.”

    “But I made it just for Grandpa!”

    Mom bent over and kissed Matthew on the forehead. “Grandpa would love your valentine, but I’m afraid there just isn’t any way to get it to him. Good night, dear.” She turned out the light as she left.

    Matthew lay in the dark, staring at the ceiling. He folded his arms behind his head—it was his best thinking position. “That’s it!” he blurted, sitting up in bed. “I know how to get my valentine to Grandpa.” Then he snuggled down under the covers and went to sleep.

    The snow glistened in the morning sunshine. Valentine Day had arrived! Matthew’s boots crunched through the snow as he stomped his way out to the giant oak tree in the corner of the yard. He clambered up the rope that hung down from his tree house. He could see Mrs. Johnson’s house next door. She had lived all alone in that house as long as he could remember. Grandpa said that she was lonely and needed a friend. Once, Matthew had helped Grandpa gather the eggs from the henhouse and take them to her.

    Matthew squinted as he gazed across the frozen snow that covered his own backyard. Then he looked way up into the sky. An icy breeze bit at his nose. He shivered and buttoned the top button of his jacket. He didn’t mind the morning breeze, though. He knew it was just what he needed to make his plan work.

    He reached under his coat and pulled out the valentine, now neatly folded into a paper airplane. Holding it tightly between his fingers, he thrust it out into the icy air and shouted, “Fly, valentine. Fly all the way to heaven!”

    The wind caught the valentine and sent it whirling and twirling into the sky, across the yard—and onto Mrs. Johnson’s front porch.

    “Oh, no!” Matthew moaned.

    He scampered down the big tree and across the yard and peeked over the fence. Mrs. Johnson was nowhere in sight. Slipping through the gate, he bolted toward her door. In three giant steps he reached the porch and scooped up the valentine.

    But before Matthew could retrace his steps, the front door opened and Mrs. Johnson stood in the doorway. She stared at the valentine in Matthew’s hands. She smiled and tears welled up in her eyes. “Bless you child,” she said.

    Matthew looked at her. He studied his valentine. Then he smiled and slipped it into her hand.

    “This is the best valentine I have ever been given,” she said. “I hope this means that you will be my friend, too, like your grandpa was.”

    Matthew felt all warm inside. And just maybe Mrs. Johnson would even like peanut-butter-jelly-and-pickle sandwiches!

    Illustrated by Dick Brown