Matthew was a loving father of twin girls and a doting husband who lost his wife a month before Christmas. He had been in the hospital for months, struggling between life and death, when doctors suddenly told Matthew that his wife had died.
The news of her death broke his heart and his daughters, Dakota and Chelsea, couldn’t believe their mother had left them so soon. Matthew had consulted the best doctors in town for his wife’s treatment and had exhausted all his savings, but he felt helpless in the face of fate’s plans.
Two days before Christmas, Matthew thought he should buy a gift for Dakota and Chelsea. The girls were still grieving their mother’s death and missed her terribly, so he thought they would be cheered up by receiving gifts.
“But I don’t have enough money to buy them anything,” Matthew thought. Instead of buying new toys, he looked for a gift in the attic.
The attic of Matthew’s house was full of toys from his childhood. There were many model cars and stuffed toys, each with a memory attached that put a smile on his face.
As he looked through his toys, Matthew turned his head and noticed the field hockey table in the corner of the room. It was covered with a layer of dust, but the memories of him playing field hockey with his brothers were still fresh.
When Matthew was young, his father bought this table at a flea market for a few dollars. Every day after school, Matthew and his brothers would play table field hockey for hours and compete to score the most goals.
“Now it looks good!” said Matthew after he cleared the table.
Then, he pulled out his artificial Christmas tree from the previous year and cleaned up some of his old toys that his daughters would love.
Later that night, the widower went to the nearby store and bought a few sheets of discounted Christmas wrapping paper. After his daughters went to bed, he wrapped the field hockey table and toys. He was ready to surprise his girls on Christmas Eve.
“Wow, Dad, this table is great!” exclaimed Dakota as he unwrapped the field hockey table on Christmas Eve.
“Thanks Dad!” said Chelsea. “Will you teach us how to play?”.
“Sure, girls.” Matthew hugged his daughters. “Let’s play a game together!”.
Matthew and his daughters spent the afternoon playing table field hockey. He also told them that he loved playing with his brothers when he was a kid.
Without spending any money, Matthew cheered his daughters up at Christmas after losing their mother. It was the twins’ first Christmas without their mom. For that reason, he made sure his daughters had a good time.
As the girls grew older, they enjoyed playing table field hockey and invited their friends to tournaments they hosted at home. Because the table was decades old, the twins’ friends considered it an antique piece and loved playing on it.
Shortly after the girls’ sixteenth birthday, Matthew suddenly became ill. When he went to the hospital, the doctor prescribed medication for a life-threatening condition, but he didn’t have enough money to buy it.
“Dad, what are you going to do now?” asked Dakota. “How are we going to buy these medications? The doctor said you have to take them for at least three months.”
“Don’t worry, girls,” Matthew smiled at his daughters. “We’ll find a solution.”
At the time, Matthew only had a week’s supply of medication and had no idea how he would buy more. He told his daughters not to worry so they wouldn’t stress thinking about him.
Before bedtime, Dakota told her sister that she had found a way to buy medicine for Matthew.
“Chelsea, I know exactly what we can do!” said Dakota.
“What should we do?”
“We have so much stuff in our house-why don’t we sell some of it and use that money to buy Dad’s medicine?”
“You’re right, Dakota. We can do that. But there are all kinds of things here….. What should we sell?”
Then the girls looked around the house and suddenly Dakota exclaimed:
“Chelsea! The field hockey table!”.
“Remember what Dad’s friend said about field hockey table the last time he came over?” commented Dakota. “He told this table is worth a lot of money because it’s a collector’s item. Field hockey fans would pay us enough to cover Dad’s medical expenses.”
“Really?” Chelsea’s eyes widened. “If that’s true, then we should run an ad in the paper and see how people respond.”
The next day, Dakota and Chelsea secretly left the house when Matthew was asleep and asked the local newspaper to run their ad. Then, the girls waited a day until people started contacting them for the table.
“I didn’t expect so many takers, Dakota,” Chelsea said. “Your idea was perfect!”
Two days after posting the ad, a former field hockey player contacted the girls and told them he was interested in buying the table. He even agreed to pay their asking price.
“I stopped playing field hockey after my leg injury,” he told the girls. “Since then, table field hockey has kept me active; even my kids love to play it. When should I go to pick up the table?”
“Can you come over tomorrow,” Dakota asked.
Later that night, the girls cleaned the table and put a note inside to tell the former field hockey player about their father and thank him for buying it.
The next day, the girls sold the table and got the money they needed for their father’s treatment. Then, they surprised Matthew with the medicines and told him how they got the money.
“Thank you girls so much!” Matthew hugged his daughters. “I don’t know what I would have done without you two.”
A week later, the doorbell rang in the evening and Dakota opened. Her eyes widened when she saw the former field hockey player standing in the doorway.
“Hi! Remember I bought the field hockey table from you last week?” the man asked.
“Yes, I remember your face,” Dakota replied, unsure why the man had returned. Did the table break? Are you going to ask for your money back,” Dakota asked.
“Well, I came here to return your field hockey table,” he said.
“But why, is something wrong?” the girl queried worriedly. She could feel her heart pounding.
“No, I can’t keep the table anymore. I read the note you left inside.”
“Why don’t you want to keep it?”.
“After learning that this table belongs to your father and that he gave it to you for Christmas after your mother’s death, I think you deserve to keep it,” the man smiled. “This table symbolizes your father’s love, and I can’t take it away from you.”
“Umm… but we can’t give you your money back,” Dakota said as she looked at the floor. “We spent it on buying Dad’s meds.”
“Don’t worry, Dakota! I won’t ask you for the money,” the man said. “I wish your father to get well very soon! Take care of him.”
The man left after handing the field hockey table to Dakota. The girls couldn’t believe what had just happened and told their father.
“He’s such a nice man!” opined Matthew.
As time passed, Matthew’s health improved and he was soon back on his feet. He lived long enough to see his daughters marry and have children. Decades later, Matthew taught his grandchildren to play table field hockey, on the same table that once saved his life.