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"Treasured Gifts"
a true story

by Elizabeth Santos from Pottstown, PA


Two years of living far away, in a strange, exotic world
Wrought a life-long friendship with a young Brazilian girl
Bernadette was always vibrant, and beautiful to see
But a crucial blow of fate left her in utter poverty

 She always wore a ring of gold with a pearl upon her hand
And a bracelet with her name engraved across a golden band
Presents to a favorite daughter, she had once been told
Her father's senseless death made them more precious than their gold

 She never once in those two years removed the loving gifts
And every time she spoke of them, her spirit would uplift
So barren her attire would seem without the gifts of gold
Remembrance of a father and the tales he always told

 When time ran out, I left that place, a sad and rainy day
My friend was quite distraught to see her best friend go away
Good-by was such a sad word she couldn't say or understand
And as she turned, abruptly placed some trinkets in my hand

 I looked down with predicted fear of what I might behold
It was a lovely pearl set in a simple ring of gold
And a bracelet with a golden band, and on it finely etched
In beautiful scrolled letters, the name of "Bernadette"

 So grand a gift I felt inside I simply couldn't accept
But in her culture, such an insult no one would expect
Forced to take them with me, I shed a hundred tears
But kept them in a box marked "Bernadette" for many years

 One day I ventured back, to visit friends that I had known
And saw my dear friend, Bernadette, two daughters, fully grown
For each of them a little box, two gifts offered with pride
The first girl found a ring of gold with a lovely pearl inside

 Their mother quickly glanced upon the other daughter's lap
Knowing well the contents of the present still unwrapped
She couldn't hold back the words, She said, "I know what is inside
It's the bracelet that my father gave me just before he died"

 She said I gave these gifts to you, they cannot be returned
I responded, in my culture there are things that you should learn
A mother's very precious things, those closest to her heart
Are given to her daughters, of whose heritage they are part

 These should have been your daughters' lovely treasures all along
I'm just returning presents to the place where they belong
With tearful eyes she fingered both gifts, handling them with care
And said she had some thoughts about these gifts she'd like to share

 "I never thought I would behold these precious gifts again
Your gesture signifies to me how truly great a friend
Each time I see them I'll recall a cherished memory
The sparkle in my father eyes as they were given to me"

 "My daughters now can share the visions I've held in my heart
Of happy days before my father and I were torn apart
Each time they wear them I'll relate a story of his past
In that way, in their hearts my father's legacy will last"



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