A month ago Doris Rice, of Rockingham, sent in two stories she titled “Two, True, Short Christmas Stories.” At the end of these heartwarming stories she informs the reader that both of the men in her stories are her sons. After obtaining some background information, here are those two stories:
After church, a gentlemen, Bruce Rice, put down his cane and sat down in Shoney’s and ordered a cup of coffee.
In a booth across the aisle, a small girl of about 4 or 5-years-old peaked around the shoulder of her father, smiled shyly and waved at Bruce. He smiled at her and waved back. Soon, the father stood and reached for his billfold in his back pocket. He warned the youngster that he would be right back, he was going to the bathroom, but she was to stay in the booth.
Almost as soon as he left the booth, the little girl scrambled out of the booth, went across the aisle and stood looking at Bruce. She was looking at the large cross Bruce had around his neck.
He was a minister, wearing a black suit and a cross that he wore each Sunday when going to church. Hesitantly, the little girl reached up to touch the cross. He said, “Hello, how are you?”
She did not hesitate to talk to Bruce. “She talked a mile a minute,” he said. The young girl looked up at Bruce and asked “Are you God?” After just an instant, still holding the cross and without looking away from it, she said, “I sure am glad you got down off this.” Bruce said he didn’t know how to respond so he hesitated. The little girl smiled again and said, “Will you tell my Mommy ‘Merry Christmas’ for me?”
He called her by her name due to the name tag she had on her church clothes. Bruce told her “Crystal, I know your Mommy knows you love her and that you wish her a Merry Christmas.” At that time, the father returned, picked up his daughter, who smiled and waved goodbye to Bruce.
The father then bent down and, in a low voice said, “Thank you. Her Mom died this year.” Bruce was again stunned into silence.
The next story is as touching as the first.
A couple, Brad Rice and Edith Rice, were returning from their daughter’s with a large box of toys that their daughter’s children had outgrown. As they passed a run-down neighborhood, the couple saw a group of children playing in an overgrown vacant lot.
They stopped and called to the children to come and pick out some toys from the box. The children quickly came to the box to choose a toy.
One boy, however, stood back from the rest of the group. Finally, he hesitantly walked up to Brad and said, “Hey mister, do you have anything in there for an 11-year-old?” Brad looked at the bedraggled young boy and said, “If you will stay right here, I will drive across town and I think I can find something for an 11-year-old at my home.”
Brad drove across town, wondering if the boy would be waiting when he returned, and if he had something he could find to please an older boy.
Suddenly, he remembered his mother, Doris, had bought a train for her grandchild only to find that his parents had bought one also. He asked Doris if she would mind donating the train to another little boy. She did not mind donating the toy and gave it to her son.
Brad drove back across town to find the young boy still waiting almost 45 minutes later. When the boy saw the train, he looked up, smiled broadly, and tucked the box under his arm and ran home.
At the end of these stories Doris writes of her two sons, “Needless to say, I am very proud of them both.”
Bruce is currently in a wheelchair due to complications from Multiple Sclerosis. He is 55 years-old and moved back to Rockingham from Morganton, N.C., because of his M.S.
Brad is 58-years-old and teaches German at Scotland High School. He credits his parents for teaching him to be a good person. “You do things to do them, not because you want recognition. I could care less about recognition,” he said.
Bruce and Brad credit their parents for influencing them. Their father, Army Colonel Harold Rice — who started the J.R.O.T.C. program at Richmond Senior High School — and their mother Doris, worked with the Red Cross and taught elementary school all around the world.
“They have always been that way,” Bruce said of his parents’ good nature. Brad was taught that he had success when other people had success. “I like to help people whenever I can,” he said.
Doris said she thought the stories were interesting and that readers would want to know there are still people in the world who do good deeds.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.