Monday, August 09, 2004

The Jester's Family....Meeting Face to Face

This past week I was fortunate enough to meet the Saltzmans, who were instrumental in bringing the book about the Jester and Pharley to children and adults everywhere. (See my post from 5/30/2003). We had been corresponding for years but had never met in person. We lived in opposite ends of the continent, the Saltzmans living in L.A. and us in Ottawa.

This is an extraordinary book, called The Jester Has Lost His Jingle, written by their son David. Tirelessly they spread the word about the book, accompanying Jester doll and the story behind its creation to sick children and adults far and wide. It’s been years since my son had his last surgery, but the book and doll keep a prominent place on our bookcase in the family room. Just glancing at them reminds me to keep my sense of humour no matter what challenges have entered my life. And I know my son feels the same way.

Barbara Saltzman shared story after story with me about kids from underprivileged homes, going to hospitals to read this wonderful story to sick children. I sat there enthralled as she shared these anecdotes with me, shivers going up and down my arms as one story turned into the next. Kids with basically nothing, spent their free time and precious pennies to be able to provide a book for a child in the hospital. Children really needing charity, were giving it instead.

And from a story and a doll came literacy and outreach programs, school curriculum supplements, and smile carts all which enrich the lives of children and adults everywhere.

Once in a while I hear a story such as the creation of the Jester and Pharley Phund and it captivates me…leaving me wonder what it is I could do to help, to make a difference. I know what the presence of the book and doll did in our lives as my son went through surgery after surgery. The reminder alone, to keep our sense of humour, was often enough to make the difference between having an overwhelming day and one we could take control of, at least when it came to attitude.

And what’s more important than that? To be able to smile and laugh no matter what is going on in your life is a huge gift. They give us and so many others, this gift every single day.

And as they’ve shared the gift of laughter with us, I wanted to share it with you, along with a story that tugs on your heartstrings and makes you want to reach out and share with someone else.

After all, it’s not what you get in life that makes a difference. It’s what you give.

All the best…
Donna Karlin

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