~ No Charge ~


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My little boy came into the kitchen this
evening while I was fixing supper. And
he handed me a piece of paper he'd been
writing on. So, after wiping my hands on
my apron, I read it, and this is what it said:

For mowing the grass, $5.
For making my own bed this week, $1.
For going to the store, 50.
For playing with my little brother, 50.
For taking out the trash, $1.
For getting a good report card, $5.
And for raking the yard, $2.

Well, I looked at him standing there
expectantly, and a thousand memories flashed
through my mind. So, I picked up the paper,
and turning it over, this is what I wrote:

For the nine months I carried you,
growing inside me, No Charge.
For the nights I sat up with you,
doctored you, prayed for you, No charge.
For the time and the tears, and the
cost through the years, No Charge.
For the nights filled with dread,
and the worries ahead, No Charge.
For advice and the knowledge, and the
cost of your college, No Charge.
For the toys, food and clothes, and
for wiping your nose, No Charge.
Son, when you add it all up, the
full cost of my love is No Charge.

Well, when he finished reading, he
had great big tears in his eyes.
He looked up at me and he said,
"Mama, I sure do love you."
Then he took the pen and in
great big letters he wrote....
PAID IN FULL.

~Harlan Howard~

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May 3/2000