Pieces of Home
Abby had big blue eyes and a great smile, and she loved to sing. When she bought a candy bar, she always gave Derrick half. When Derrick accidentally broke Josh’s CD player, Abby defended him against their angry brother. She always seemed to be happy. That was why it was hard for Derrick to think of her as being sad.
And she was sad. Daddy had read a letter from Abby, who was far away on a mission. She was in a country that was very, very hot. And the language the people spoke was hard for her to understand and speak. She said that she wanted to come home.
Mother had wiped her eyes on her hand. Daddy had said, “She’s just homesick. Every missionary goes through hard times.”
Derrick wanted to help Abby. But how? If she were at home, he would climb onto her lap and say something to make her laugh. But he couldn’t even write her a letter. All he could write was his name in crooked letters.
Suddenly Derrick had an idea. He grabbed his box of crayons and a piece of paper. He dashed into Abby’s bedroom and opened the curtains. It was a beautiful fall day. Outside the window he could see the bright red leaves on the maple tree. Derrick took his red crayon and began to draw what he saw.
When he finished his picture, he wrote, “Derrick” at the bottom. Then he went outside and picked up two beautiful, red leaves from beneath the maple tree.
He took the leaves and the picture to his mother. “These are for Abby,” he said.
Mother smiled and said, “She’ll love them.”
The next time a letter came from Abby, Daddy stopped reading it right in the middle, came over to Derrick, and gave him a big hug. “That was from Abby,” he said.
When winter came and snow fell soft and thick from the sky, Derrick cut out white-paper snowflakes. “These are for Abby,” he told his mother.
At Christmastime, he pulled some needles from the Christmas tree. “Please send these to Abby,” he said to his dad.
In the spring, Derrick picked blossoms from the lilac bush in the front yard. Then he carefully put them between two sheets of waxed paper and placed a big fat book on top to press them. When they were dry and flat, off they went in the mail to Abby.
Soon after that, he helped his mother bake a cake and hang balloons in the living room. He helped color a big sign that they taped to the garage door that said, “Welcome home, Abby!” Abby had completed her mission!
At the airport, Derrick waited impatiently with his family. He watched all the people coming through the doorway. Where was Abby? It had been a long time. Would he still know her when he saw her?
There she was! She was his own Abby, and she hadn’t changed. Derrick ran and threw his arms around her.
Abby knelt down beside him. “My loving little brother,” she said. “How did you think of those wonderful presents you sent to me? Do you know how happy they made me?”
Derrick smiled and said, “I just wanted to send you pieces of home.”
Hush—It’s Time to Start
Carefully remove pages 32–33, and mount each on lightweight cardboard.
Cut out the owl, including the holes for his eyes.
With a pen or pencil, poke a hole through the black dot that is between the owl’s eyes.
Cut out the circle containing the eyes. Poke a hole through the black dot in the center of the circle. Put the circle (eyes facing up) behind the owl. Match up the holes, then attach the two pieces with a metal fastener. Turn the eyes until they are closed.
Cut out the poem.
At the start of family home evening, have someone read the poem. Then change the owl’s closed eyes to open eyes to remind everyone to be quiet and pay attention.
A Wise Reminder
Illustrated by Dick Brown