(Here’s my 2017 version of a favorite tradition from my childhood. A serialized Christmas story. I hope you all enjoy it. May it bring back memories and create new ones)
A Gift of Imagination
When I was five and three-quarters years-old, my grandfather shared a secret with me. While my mother and grandmother worked in the kitchen preparing Christmas Eve dinner, my grandfather smiled and whispered, “I have something for you.”
The lines in his face seemed to vanish as the smile lit up his eyes. He winked, checked to see that no one else was watching, then pointed to his hand.
I looked but saw nothing. I glanced at Pa, then back at his hand. Still nothing.
“There’s nothing there, Pa. Your hand is empty.”
He nodded. “Not if you believe, you’ll see…” He tilted his head, “look again, Joe, look again.”
My grandfather was always playing tricks on me, Nana, and my mother. Once he put a rubber snake in the refrigerator. It fell to the floor when Nana opened the door.
I heard her say some bad words when she dropped the dish she was putting in the fridge. My grandfather blocked my ears, laughed, and then dragged me outside. It was a good thing because I could still hear those bad words all the way in the backyard.
Another time we decided to make a pile of snowballs and ambush my dad when he came home from work. It went pretty well until my mother came out to see who was yelling and one of the snowballs hit her. She was mad at first. But then she made a snowball and knocked my grandfather down with it.
I didn’t know girls could throw like that.
Anyway, back to the secret. I stared at my grandfather’s hand. “What am I looking for?”
Pa’s eyes turned all sorts of colors, like the flashing lights on the tree. His smile took over his whole face.
“There is something my grandfather gave to me, and now it’s time for me to pass it on to you.” He waved one hand over the other, touched me on the shoulder, and said, “Now what do you see?”
I looked at the hand and shimmering snowflakes, swirling and sparkling, rose from his hand. For a moment, the white ebb and flow hid his hand.
This was cool magic.
And then I saw it, emerging from the misty eddies, a small, rainbow sparkling miniature dragon looked up and blinked his eyes at me.
“Is that a…”
“Yes, it is. A Christmas Dragon.”
TO BE CONTINUED