The second greatest story ever told

The approaching holidays make me think of Jesus Christ and presents. Presents make me think of Patty and the second greatest story ever told.

It’s been said that if you’ve heard a story once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Not so with the story of Jesus. And not so with the story of Patty. Jesus, as you see, is no cliché. And neither is Patty because there’s no thing or no one quite like her. Her story—just like Jesus’—gets better and better each time it’s told.

As you read, may you be filled with the best kind of holiday cheer ever—the sort of cheer that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as your personal and eternal savior. Not the sort of cheer that has you opening presents one day and standing in a return line the next.

The second greatest story ever told
One time, a long time ago, there was a very young (think 4-5ish), polite, precious girl who wanted nothing more for Christmas than a member of the Pound Puppies™ gang. You see, this was the early 1980s and Tonka’s Pound Puppies™—”Lovable Puppies that Need a Home!”—well, needed a home.

This young, polite, precious girl was mesmerized by the likes of Cooler, Howler, Bright Eyes and Nose Marie, and she wanted nothing more than to give one of them a home. She spent hours with her official Pound Puppies™ coloring book, coloring in long, droopy ears and big, droopy eyes. And, of course, the bright, red hearts located right on the puppies’ rumps. After all, you weren’t an official member of the gang unless you had a bright, red heart on your butt.

Christmas morning was fast-approaching and boxes began to gather under the family tree. The very young, polite, precious girl spied a box almost as tall as she with her name on it. From Santa! She was CERTAIN that box had a Pound Puppy in it. And not just one or two. But the whole pound! It was a big box, and there was NO way it could possibly be something other than a whole bunch of Pound Puppies™. Black ones. Brown ones. And a white one with a black patch on his eye. Hundreds of them! (She was a very young, polite, precious girl, but her spatial awareness wasn’t the best.)

Her brothers—ever the tricksters—told her it was impossible for the box to fit a hundred Pound Puppies™, but the very young, polite, precious girl would have no part of it. What else could possibly be in that box? And why would there be anything else in the box? Everyone—including the all-knowing Santa—knew she wanted a Pound Puppy. She already had the coloring books. She was due.

Christmas morning came and the very young, polite, precious girl was FINALLY given the box to unwrap. She ferociously tore the wrapping paper off and pried the box open. She reached in and pulled out the most giant, curly-headed doll with the most giant, floppy limbs that she had ever seen.

“Her name is Patty,” said the very young, polite, precious girl’s mother.

Stunned, the very young, polite, precious girl stood there, holding the doll at arm’s length and wondering (a) why anyone would ever want an almost-life-sized doll and (b) if Santa hated her. Before she even knew what she was doing, she burst into tears, heaved the doll at her mother and screamed something akin to “I HATE HER!”

The very young and now-admittedly-not-very-polite-or-precious girl was quickly reprimanded by her father and told to apologize to her equally stunned mother and then go sit in the corner while the rest of her family continued opening gifts.

Dejected, the very young and most-certainly-not-very-polite-or-precious girl stood in the corner of the living room wondering where on earth Santa got the notion that she wanted a doll with limbs far larger than her own, curly-brown-yarn hair, freckles and a complete inability to sit up without being propped up next to something. That Santa. Didn’t he know? Wasn’t he supposed to know that she wanted a Pound Puppy? How could he NOT know? And a doll? Santa?! A doll named Patty??!?!

The very young and most-certainly-not-very-polite-or-precious girl realized that day that Santa wasn’t all he was cracked up to be. And she spent a lot of time in that living room corner bemoaning that fact.

It wasn’t until years later that the not-quite-as-young, fully-restored-to-polite-and-precious girl found out that her mother had spent three years stitching the doll together. By hand. Three years filled with tending to four young children, a husband, a farm and Patty. Whenever her mother had a free moment, mostly after the kids were asleep, she’d pull Patty’s body parts out and faithfully stitch away. Because every very young, polite, precious girl deserves a doll made with love, and the very young, polite, precious girl’s mother was going to make sure her daughter had just that—a doll made with love. Lots of love. Three year’s worth of love. Love that wasn’t quite recognized on the day the giant Pound-Puppy-less-box-of-Patty was opened.

It took that same number-of-years later for the not-quite-as-young, fully-restored-to-polite-and-precious girl to fully appreciate the fruit of her mother’s labor and, well, Patty herself.

Seemingly unaware of how she came to be, Patty now sits propped up above a bed’s headboard. Quite frankly, she’s likely happy just to be alive. She now spends her time readying herself for the day when she’ll be bequeathed to another very young, polite, precious girl. Hopefully, one who is a bit less stunned. And who can truly appreciate all the curly-brown-yarn hair, freckles and oversized limbs for what they are—a whole lot of love wrapped up in material and thread.

The end.


7 thoughts on “The second greatest story ever told

  1. Ronny says:

    I laughed. I cried. This was the feel-good blog of the year!

  2. Jill A. Duling says:

    Thanks, Ronny. I wish you were still in office.

  3. Joshua Duling says:

    What a truly special story. It’s sweet to see that you and Patty reconciled your relationship. Did you ever find Pound Puppy Love?

  4. Jill A. Duling says:

    Oh yes. One time, when I turned 19, I received a box of not one, not two, not three, but SIX (or maybe seven) Pound Puppies! (And a kitten.) One of my dear, sweet brothers had scoured the world (or his neighbor’s garage sale) and collected the entire gang for me in hopes recognizing a dream I had wished for long, long ago. What a dear, sweet brother.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Oh, the tears! To think what a wonderful, loving, devoted mother you had. If she had it to do over with again, she would spend another three years on said same beautiful doll.

    Love you still – mom 🙂

  6. Hoss says:

    I must say that Patty looks a little like Little Joe.

  7. Shelley Hitz, says:

    This is definitely a great story! Thanks for sharing pictures of Patty and a peek into your past 🙂

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