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There was no joy in Mudville. Quite literally. Oh sure…you could blame it on that whole Casey at the Bat thing, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, now that I think about it, an iceberg is actually an important part of the story.

Clara had heard that the arctic ice was melting because of global warming. This really bothered her, not only because the Polar Bears were losing their homes – as if that weren’t bad enough – but she was afraid that the magnificent icebergs, so much a part of the environment, would just piddle away one day, becoming nothing more than a bunch of drops in the ocean. And she’d never even get to see one.

And so she came up with a plan to bring an iceberg to Mudville, where they could build a very large freezing machine to keep it cold. She would also bring some polar bears and make sure they were safe.

Of course, Clara is only 7 years old and had trouble convincing the rest of Mudville that this was a good idea.

Still, Clara was so worried about what was happening to her planet, she decided that it didn’t matter if people laughed or made fun of her for caring too much, she was going to make a difference in any way she could.

And so she baked what she called Polar Bear cookies and went from house to house selling them to raise money for her plan. Everyone laughed at her idea – to be honest, they didn’t believe in much of anything any more. Not since Casey struck out. But they admired her spirit and bought her cookies anyway. Except for Mr. Biggsley, the richest man in town. He just hooted at her ideas.

“Don’t you know, girlie, that you can’t bring the ice to Mudville without it melting?”

“But we could build a really big freezer and keep the ice safe here,” Clara said with absolute conviction.

“Haw! Haw!” Mr. Biggsley laughed with all his might. “Now that’s a rich one. No one can do that. And why would I want to anyway?”

“Well, because of the Polar Bears for one thing.” And Clara showed Mr. Biggsley the pictures of poor sad polar bears trapped on ice floes with no way to get off or to find food.

Well, even Mr. Biggsley has a heart – not that anyone knew that up to now. The idea of those poor poor bears all alone, with the ice they’ve always counted on melting around them was just too much for him.

“Off with you, girlie!” Biggsley shooed Clara away – before she could see the tears in his eyes every time he thought of those poor bears.

When Clara counted all of her cookie money, she had raised a whole $243. But her mother had to give her the bad news. That just wasn’t enough to bring an entire iceberg to Mudville. It couldn’t even bring one bear. So there was still no joy in Mudville, not for Clara or the town.

Until next week when Mr. Biggsley agreed to adopt a whole slew of polar bears in the name of Mudville, donating enough money to help rescue trapped bears and bring them to a safer place. And, since even places that seem safe now may be threatened, he also agreed to help work toward getting the world community to designate protected critical habitat areas for polar bears. And, while he secretly considered bringing a few bears to Mudville, he knew in his newly awakened heart that they’d be much better off closer to home.

And now, not only is there joy in Mudville, but Mr. Biggsley and Clara have become fast friends. Looks like her efforts led to some ice melting…but in a good way. As her mother always told her, although we don’t always get everything we want, good always comes when we follow our hearts!

And, as everyone in now joyful Mudville will tell you: People really can make a difference – no matter what age!

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MW: You told me to write again “in short order” and so I did.