The Purple Popsicle
By: Jean Boonstra
Harold’s mom lifted one end of a big cooler out of the trunk of her car. “Give me a hand with this,” she said.
Harold grabbed the opposite handle.
“Let’s set it down over here in the shade of the wall,” his mom said.
Lifting his ball cap, Harold wiped the perspiration from his forehead. “Mom,” he asked. “Do we really have to do this today?”
“Harold,” his mom said with a sigh. “You need the community service hours for Pathfinders.”
“This might be the last hot day of summer,” Harold complained. “And all my friends are going to the pool with Chaplain Jake.”
His mom reached into the cooler and pulled out a frozen ice pop. “We should be back in time for you to join them.”
“Alright fine,” Harold whined. “I’ll take a purple one.”
“A purple what?” his mom asked with a glint in her eye.
“Popsicle!” Harold said.
“These are for our neighbors in Mountain Meadows,” his mom answered, turning towards the gate in the community wall. “Oh, there’s a car coming! Hand me one of the flyers.”
Harold handed her one of the colorful invitations to visit the Harmony Corner Church.
“Hello,” Harold’s mom said as the driver rolled down his window. “Would you like a cold treat on a hot day?”
The driver nodded. “Sure, ma’am. Thank you!”
“You’re welcome. It’s a gift from your friends at the Harmony Corner Church. Stop by and visit us sometime.” The driver accepted the flyer and smiled as he drove off.
“Now, your turn,” Harold’s mom said. “Next car, just do what I did.”
Harold reached into the cooler and pulled out an icy cold popsicle. As a car passed he smiled and held out his hand. This car didn’t slow down.
“I’m terrible at this,” Harold protested.
“Nah,” his mom disagreed. “Here comes another car. Try again.”
This time the car slowed down. The mom smiled and asked if she could have an ice pop for both of her children. Harold happily handed her two along with a flyer.
It continued that way for a while. The cooler emptied quickly until there was just one ice pop left.
“Mom, we’re done!” Harold said happily. “One last one for me. Payday!”
“Harold,” his mom said. “We brought these to share.”
“Fine,” Harold agreed. Half-heartedly, Harold held out the popsicle. The one he wished he was eating. A car slowed down and the passenger window rolled down.
“Would you like a cold treat on a hot day?” he asked.
“I’d love one,” the girl in the passenger seat answered, reaching eagerly for the ice pop. Unwrapping it she said, “Purple, my favorite!”
Harold held out a flyer. “It’s a gift from your friends at the Harmony Corner Church. Stop by and visit us sometime.”
The girl seemed to freeze in place. Turning to the driver she said, “Dad, did you hear that?” The man nodded.
“Thank you,” the girl said quietly. “Just this morning my parents and I prayed about finding a place to go to church. And here you are.”
“Really?” Harold asked. “Then I’m glad I didn’t eat that last popsicle.”
“You wanted it?” the girl asked, seeming reluctant now to enjoy the treat.
“Not anymore,” Harold laughed. “I see that God wanted you to have it.”
The girl smiled warmly. Harold waved enthusiastically as they drove off. He forgot all about swimming and wanting an ice pop.
“Thanks for helping me, mom,” he said.
“Anytime,” his mom said with a smile. “Anytime.”