The Gift Of Magic

One Christmas, years ago, I got a call to do a magic show on Christmas Eve at a family home in Halihi. A little girl there was ill with cancer.

December is my busiest month and I was pretty tired from working overtime, but the Uncle who called me was persistent and phoned several days running, so I gave them a very reasonable quote and tried to figure out how to do a portable version of my stage show.

When I got there, no one was ready ("Filipino time" they told me), there were 9 children and adults coming. The more I thought about it, the more I tried to figure a way to do as much of my show in this small downstairs room as I could. Why not, it was Christmas Eve.

My screens were brought in and set up. It was very tight.

The people came in with a beautiful little 9 year old girl, not even in a real wheelchair, just a regular wooden chair with caster wheels attached. Bald from Chemotherapy and with an oxygen tube to help her breath.

Her eyes were very pretty, wide and attentive. She seemed as excited as the other children though less active. I understood this would be perhaps her last Christmas on earth with her family.

I did my regular show with energy and a smile on my face though inside my heart was sinking. I was just wishing there was something more I could do. I felt like I was on autopilot, part of me standing back and watching. I did all the jokes and bits of business that make people laugh that I'd learned over my lifetime.

These people needed joy. They responded heartily and with tremendous warmth. For a moment everyday reality was less important, (that is the gift of the entertainer I guess.) For once, I was not just "Happy to get everything to work," but very humbled.

Afterwards as they went to food and conversation, I packed everything away to get back and close down the house for my folks who had their own physical issues to deal with. Here it was Christmas Eve and I was surrounded by mortality, yet I think God let me share what I could do and showed me sometimes it really makes a difference.

I could have used the money I suppose, but they certainly needed it more. The last gift was pressing the $100 in loose bills back into the smiling Uncles' hand and saying "That's ok, I have nieces...Merry Christmas." His face lit up and he said "Oh! An honest man!" And went to tell his incredulous relatives. Maybe to him it seemed like a minor miracle. I had to turn away and leave quickly so he wouldn't see the tears in my eyes.

Seeing how you can do something that counts, isn't that the best gift someone can get? For me, it was the best Christmas gift I can remember.


This is a true story. I met a relative this past year and learned the little girl passed away not long after.

Every year and especially at Christmas I hope to do something for a family or Charity that can use what I do. My good friend and longtime assistant Cheryl is also gone due to breast Cancer. If you have any suggestions for things to benefit Cancer or Children's medical charities I am open to them.

Certainly go out of your way to do something for people who can really use your talent. Everyone is good at something. You may not always feel appreciated, but somehow, someway I suspect, you always are.

Mike Ching

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