“Going back to my childhood home after my father’s passing was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. He had raised me on his own since my mother left when I was 3 and had taught me everything from how to cook to how to cut down a tree.
“As I packed up Dad’s books, my mind wandered to how we’d sit out back during dusk and wait to hear the owls making funny _hoo-hoo _calls. Dad always said the first one to see an owl would get a quarter. But not once in my 19 years of living in that house did I ever actually see an owl…and now I’d never see my father again either.
“Suddenly, I had an intense urge to go out back. I told myself there was too much work to do to take a break, but the urge won out. When I opened the door, I couldn’t believe what I saw: a stunning white owl sitting on the fence. He blinked at me with brilliant eyes, then spread his wings and flew off, letting out a hoo-hoo. I touched my hand to my heart with tears burning my eyes—in that moment Dad’s presence felt as strong and warm as the hugs he used to give.
“I gazed at the owl disappearing into the fading sky, then grinned toward heaven and whispered, ‘You owe me a quarter.’”
—Nicole Worth, 55, Rochester, NY
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