My Dingy Old Cross

Today, I was switching out purses and came across a dingy old cross.  It’s a silver and gold colored cross with green gem stones and it’s made of some sort of plastic material.  It’s missing one of the gems.  This cross was given to me by a spunky 5-year-old Caucasian little boy with beautiful green eyes.  His name was Timothy.

It was the year 1981, I worked as a cake decorator in Baskin-Robins in Puerto Rico.  Timothy came in with his Mom every day and ate a French vanilla ice cream cone.  Neither Timothy nor his Mom spoke Spanish so I would tend to them since I was fluent in English.  Timothy was not shy at all and would ask all sorts of questions about ice cream.  He also loved the cake decorations and complimented me on my cake decorating skills.  He especially loved the ice cream clown cones which was nothing other than a vanilla or chocolate upside down ice cream cone with a cherry as its nose, icing as its eyes, mouth, and  decoration.  His Mom didn’t buy those since Timothy liked French vanilla and I never made French vanilla ice cream cones.

One time on their usual visit, I said to him, “Wow Timothy, you are so lucky to have a Mom who brings you to get ice cream every day!”  Timothy replied, “I sure am,” while licking away on his ice cream cone and chatting as he usually did.  There was something about that little boy that just made me stop what I was doing just to listen to him talk.  Whenever I was very busy his Mom would prop him on the counter closest to my decorating area and he would continue to talk to me while I worked.  He always made me laugh and smile.  He made me happy.

I had not seen Timothy in about a week. One day, Timothy’s Mom dropped in by herself and purchased a pint of French Vanilla ice cream.  I asked her about Timothy, she responded that he was ill.  I thought maybe he had a cold or something like that and asked her if it was a cold or the flu.  Her response left me in shock.  She said, “Timothy has cancer and doesn’t have much time to live.”  She told me that he knew but didn’t understand it too well.  She told him that he could have whatever he wanted in the world and all he requested was a French vanilla ice cream cone every day until the day he went back home to God.  I was speechless and other than “I’m sorry” I didn’t know what else to say.  She smiled, thanked me and told me that most likely she would be able to bring him on Friday or Saturday if he was feeling better.  Anticipating to see him that weekend, I made a special French vanilla clown cone for Timothy and wrote his name on the clown’s hat.  It would be my little gift to him.

Friday came along and in came Timothy with a huge smile on his face.  I could hear him yell “Hi Miss Debbie” in his sweet child voice.  I turned around from my decorating area and went to greet him.  He asked for his usual French Vanilla cone and while he ran to the fridge where the cakes and clown cones were, I told his Mom about the clown ice cream cone I had made especially for him and asked if it were okay.  When she gave me authorization to give it to him, I walked over to where Timothy stood and asked him if he knew how to read his name.  He responded that he did, so I motioned for him to look towards the clown cones.  When he read his name he got very excited and asked if it were for him.  I responded that it was and gave it to him.  I will never forget that look of happiness in his face over an ice cream clown.

The next day, Timothy and his Mom returned.  Timothy had a gift for me.  He brought in an old thin cake decorating ideas book and a small gift wrapped by him.  He handed me the gifts and I proceeded to unwrapped it.  It was the cross.  He told me that he wanted me to have it so I would never forget him.  For the first time since I knew Timothy, tears rolled down my cheeks.  He was the sweetest little boy I had known.  I thanked him, he ate his usual French vanilla cone and they were on their way.  That was the last time I saw Timothy.

A few months went by when his Mom dropped in by herself.  I didn’t need to ask.  I already knew that she wasn’t there to buy ice cream.  She was very sad.  She looked at me and said, “I just want to thank you for your kindness towards my son.  Timothy passed away a month ago.”

The rest of my day was a sad one.  I didn’t know Timothy that well but he was such a delight that it was easy for anyone to feel love for him.  I remembered that the cross was on top of the counter where I decorated cakes along with the cake decorating booklet.  I took the cross in my hand and vowed that I would never part from that cross or forget Timothy and I placed it in my purse.  So for the past 36 years and still today, every time I switch purses I make sure to transfer the cross into my new bag.  And every time I come across it memories of  Timothy flood my mind.

With no doubt I will never forget him. Thank you Timothy, may you rest in peace.  With Love Miss Debbie