Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Johnny Abercrombie Gets A Canary For Christmas


If you were looking for a feel good story from the annals of Eloise then here's a quadruple dose of kindness. As Free Press Town Crier Columnist Mark Beltaire stated in the first of two articles here, he was constantly deluged with stories of courage and consideration from his readers. This particular incident of charity qualifies under both headings.

In the December 12, 1948 column he shares the plight of two young Wayne County General Hospital patients. Johnny Abercrombie suffered from rheumatic fever and was reduced to a wheelchair at his residence in room 501 of Building B. One day he motored himself across the hall to visit some of his fellow sick mates at the hospital. One boy, the unnamed writer of the plea to Mr. Beltaire, asked Johnny what he wanted for Christmas. To which the boy answered simply, "a canary."

Mr. Beltaire, inspired by one child with terminal cancer placing his sick hospital pal's comfort over his own ailment, vowed to get Johnny Abercrombie a canary for Christmas even if he had to go to the Canary Islands to procure the bird.

So touching was the request that an inmate at Jackson Prison offered up one of his two canaries. But thanks to Evelyn Steck, a local pet store operator, he was able to deliver the bird in a cage to the ailing boy just in time for Christmas.

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