All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.

Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!


The Toothless Grin

I was doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in a toy store and decided to look at Barbie dolls for my nieces. A nicely dressed little girl was excitedly looking through the Barbie dolls as well, with a roll of money clamped tightly in her little hand. When she came upon a Barbie she liked, she would turn and ask her father if she had enough money to buy it.

He usually said "yes," but she would keep looking and keep going through their ritual of "do I have enough?" As she was looking, a little boy wandered in across the aisle and started sorting through the Pokemon toys. He was dressed neatly, but in clothes that were obviously rather worn, and wearing a jacket that was probably a couple of sizes too small. He too had money in his hand, but it looked to be no more than five dollars or so at the most. He was with his father as well, and kept picking up the Pokemon video toys. Each time he picked one up and looked at his father, his father shook his head, "No."

The little girl had apparently chosen her Barbie, a beautifully dressed, glamorous doll that would have been the envy of every little girl on the block. However, she had stopped and was watching the interchange between the little boy and his father. Rather dejectedly, the boy had given up on the video games and had chosen what looked like a book of stickers instead. He and his father then started walking through another aisle of the store.

The little girl put her Barbie back on the shelf, and ran over to the Pokemon games. She excitedly picked up one that was lying on top of the other toys, and raced toward the check-out, after speaking with her father. I picked up my purchases and got in line behind them. Then, much to the little girl's obvious delight, the little boy and his father got in line behind me.

After the toy was paid for and bagged, the little girl handed it back to the cashier and whispered something in her ear. The cashier smiled and put the package under the counter.

I paid for my purchases and was rearranging things in my purse when the little boy came up to the cashier. The cashier rang up his purchases and then said, "Congratulations, you are my hundredth customer today, and you win a prize!" With that, she handed the little boy the Pokemon game, and he could only stare in disbelief. It was, he said, exactly what he had wanted!

The little girl and her father had been standing at the doorway during all of this, and I saw the biggest, prettiest, toothless grin on that little girl that I have ever seen in my life. Then they walked out the door, and I followed close behind them. As I walked back to my car in amazement over what I had just witnessed, I heard the father ask his daughter why she had done that. I'll never forget what she said to him.

"Daddy, didn't Nana and PawPaw want me to buy something that would make me happy?"

He said, "Of course they did, honey."

To which the little girl replied, "Well, I just did!"

With that, she giggled and started skipping toward their car. Her toothless grin said it all. Apparently, she had decided on the answer to her own question of, "Do I have enough?"

I feel very privileged to have witnessed the true spirit of Christmas in that toy store, in the form of a little girl who understands more about the reason for the season than most adults I know!

Written by Sharon Palmer

From Res Ipsa:
This story arrived in my email box via a list serve that I belong to.  I have no idea who Sharon Palmer is nor could I ascertain for certain doing a web search how to contact her.  I have republished this story without permission in the full form I received it in.  If the author objects, I will remove the post.  Given the large number of other places it is published on the web, I assume it is in the public domain.


  1. WaterBoy7:50 PM

    Good story.

    It was apparently written by this Sharon Palmer of Nashville, TN, and appeared in this special edition of Sir Froggie's Positive News Network nearly 14 years ago.

    Although the website does have a current copyright notice on the bottom of each page, it doesn't look like anything has been published on it since about a year ago, so asking for permission might prove to be futile.

    More importantly, the fact that they send these inspirational stories out in free newsletters would seem to indicate they would like to see them propagated forward rather than to receive royalties, though that's really just a guess.

  2. Res Ipsa9:17 PM

    As far as I can tell, there is no way to contact the author, otherwise I would. I think the purpose of the story is to inspire so I put it up.

    When I have published different newsletters, school, work, church or whatever, I always contacted the authors for permission to reprint them. Hardly anyone ever refused my request and granted permission. I would have asked permission to reprint but I can't find a contact number. BUT I don't want to infringe so it will come down if Mrs Palmer objects.

  3. Res Ipsa9:19 PM

    Update, since there is an email link for her on that web page, I'm sending her a request to use her work. I'll leave this up for now.

  4. Giraffe10:02 AM

    Merry Christmas, Res.

  5. Giraffe10:02 AM

    You too, Waterboy.

  6. WaterBoy11:59 AM

    Thanks Giraffe, and Merry Christmas to you and yours, as well!

    Merry Christmas to Res Ipsa and family, and to everyone else hanging out here.

  7. Thank you.

    Merry Christmas to you all too.

  8. Merry Christmas everyone! I don't always check every email address (and I have too many! LOL), so I haven't heard from anyone at this particular website. But I appreciate that you do try to contact authors before publishing their work. I made my money from this story many times over, and since it was first published quite a while ago, I always grant permission to freely share it now. So... Ms Palmer definitely does not mind. The story appears in five books, under two titles: "Toothless Grin" and "Something to Make Me Happy." Multnomah Publishers uses the first title while "Chicken Soup" and others use the second. The printed hardback books are now often amusingly inexpensive! ;-)
    Anyway! Thank you, I hope you enjoyed, and I wish you all a merry Christmas. God bless...

  9. Ms Palmer thank you very much for your kind permission to use your work.

    Merry Christmas to you!

  10. Anonymous6:54 AM

    I am just guessing here, but I think it is totally fake. The type of story that an adult would write to make other people feel good, not one that really happened. It is typical of what you would see from people who write for a living.

    On top of that, it teaches a bad lesson. That other people exist for your own amusement and that if you have enough money, you are free to undermine their morals and character. It teaches that feeling good about yourself is more important than letting other people learn to be satisfied with their own reality.

    I certainly don't blame the author. There are thousands of magazines in the marketplace and someone has to fill their pages. Good for you that your bit of fiction was better than the drivel the other authors were submitting.


  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Hale, while I can see why cynicism is easy to cling to, I don't appreciate the ugly assumptions you've chosen to publicly berate not only me, but also the publishers I now consider friends, the actual living and breathing little girl, and her honest selfless gift of giving. My account of what happened was picked up from an Internet website where I initially posted it for no monetary gain. Being contacted by "Chicken Soup" editor Kim Kirberger was a surprise that came from left field. While I am a professional writer, I write only non-fiction and this was no exception. As for the girl being fodder for "amusement"... Hardly. Her actions touched my heart, and I felt it would be selfish NOT to share.
    I write this not to convince Hale, as cynicism cannot be so easily overturned. But I appreciate those of you who accept the truth at face value. Sometimes an orange is merely an orange. Sometimes, though, people prefer to believe the worst of others. It's sad, but it is their prerogative. We all have a choice. And for what it's worth, "Toothless Grin" is pure, unadulterated non-fiction. Goodness exists. And sharing when you witness it is not evil. Sharing love is never evil.
    I pray you ALL had a warm and joyful Christmas. Filled with love...
    God bless,

  13. Anonymous10:02 AM

    Thank you for taking to the time to defend yourself when none was needed. The truth is that your story has all the elements that a personal with a Journalism degree would include to sell a story. I'll accept your word that your version of it is the literal truth. My error is that this style of story is almost always fiction. Fiction simply writes better than fact since fiction happens just when you need it to and turns out just the way you want it to. It also just happens to fit neatly in a printed column (another anachronism, but some people still remember them).

    My cynicism did not come naturally to me. It was beaten into my head by generations of journalists who only learned only one important lesson in Journalism school, "turn your copy in on time". And they learned how to make stuff up to fit what they needed. Thus, feel-good fiction is much more common than the story you wrote.

    For what it is worth, I do find it refreshing to actually hear from the author.

    Best Wishes,
    Hale (fictional name, because it fits the story I am writing).

  14. Fictional Hale (*wink*),
    Thank you, too, for replying and in a non-confrontational manner. I minored in journalism; my undergraduate major was in music . (Graduate school came later. after becoming established in the music business -- and it was for Counseling & Psychotherapy.) I kept my hand in writing throughout: letters to the editor, op-ed pieces, occasional freelance work.
    This story happened when I was a "wild child" chick singer/keyboardist in a rock band. Odd timing, really. Back when rock singers simply did not admit to loving God. Image killer! But I risked it. It was worth it.
    My journalism experience probably helped me recognize what I was witnessing, then include the pertinent information in a decent format. I have also always had a flair for the dramatic, so making it "pretty" came naturally. It is all real, all true, but probably more "prettied-up" than most straightforward accounts of facts. I guess it is something akin to a compliment to have it called "fiction." So -- thank you, I think?
    But it happened exactly as represented. I write about emotional subjects a great deal. For example, losing a puppy I rescued after a few days to parvo. It contained a lesson, but it was heartbreaking. And even uplifting in parts. But going through it emotionally gutted me. I also write about dealing with Arnold-Chiari malformation. First-hand accounts. Difficult subject, as I was undiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed for decades. So my reports of my symptoms were ignored. A major symptom is chronic pain. That was not addressed by a physician for many, many years. And wow, did I ever have a chip on my shoulder. I finally found a fantastic doctor, which is the upside! I write about emotional subjects that are true... Or is it true subjects that are emotional? Either one!
    Anyway, thanks again for the "verbal exchange." And for accusing me of writing fiction! I can live with that...
    God bless,

  15. I couldn't let what looks to be sloppy typing, at the very least, simply "stand." I got the flu for Christmas and it is kicking my butt. So I am struggling to type on this silly mobile. I get heebie-jeebies from typos, lousy punctuation, etc. (It was bugging me!!)
    So! Res, you are more than welcome for my blessings in publishing my apparently-questionable story. *wink* (The toy store -- part of a chain -- was contacted and a couple of employees [manager included] remembered the incident well.)
    So! I suppose I could sign off as "Geoffrey" to go with the story I am writng... *big grin* But I think I will stick with the usual, as I have no need for a fictional moniker.
    God bless,
    P.S. As a belated addendum: for me, fiction is a chore and does not "flow." it would be nice if it did, I suppose. I'd love to screen-write for "Doctor Who" and take my chances with going over the transom. I'm fairly thin; I'd try to slide in with it!! Haha!