Christmas 2022: A Christmas Wish

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Declan walked down the basement stairs to see what his grandfather was up to. When he had moved in after Declan’s father died, he’d set up a workshop where he spent quite a bit of time building all manner of things. It seemed to Declan there was nothing his grandfather couldn’t build just by looking at a picture.

“What ’cha doing, grandpa?”

“Hey, Dec. Ah, I’m working on a special project for a friend of mine.” He turned and held up the body of an acoustic guitar.

“You built a guitar? A real guitar?”  Declan’s eyes were wide with amazement.

“Is there any other kind? An imaginary guitar wouldn’t be very much fun to play.”

“But how did you know how to do it?”

“Oh, that part was easy. My friend has a grandson about your age. He could buy him a guitar but I thought a handmade one would be better. He knew the boy would love it for Christmas, I knew I had to figure it out. So,” he said, turning the unfinished work over and placing it on the bench, “here we are. I am just getting ready to put the last coat of stain on it and then I can mount the hardware, add the strings, and tune it up.”

“But how will you tune it? You don’t play guitar.”

His grandfather winked. “You know, Dec, there are some things about me you may not know.” With that, he walked over to a tall wooden cabinet and pulled out a guitar case. Inside was beautiful blond wood guitar. Gently taking the instrument out of the case, he began to play a song Declan had never heard before.

“Wow, you can really play. What’s that song?”

His grandfather finished a few more moments of the song, then placed the guitar back in its case. “That, my boy, is the song Classical Gas. It took me almost a year to learn it and it is one of my favorites.”

“So, when did you learn to play guitar?”

“Oh, when I was fifty or so. One Christmas your grandmother asked if I had any Christmas wishes and I mentioned I always wanted to learn guitar. She bought me this guitar and a year’s worth of lessons.” His grandfather chuckled. “When I was first learning and my fingers were a bit sore, I kind of regreted my telling her that, but once I gained some experience by practicing it gave me years of pleasure.”

“Whenever someone asks me about Christmas wishes, I always say things like being healthy or everybody being happy,” Dec said.

“Those are all noble thoughts, but sometimes a wish for a more practical thing can be just as important. I used to play my guitar for you when you were a baby then, for some reason, I stopped. I decided this year I was going to start playing again and build a guitar for my friend’s grandson. I hope he will enjoy it as much as I do,”

“Isn’t wishing for things for yourself kinda selfish?” Dec asked.

“Well, I suppose that depends on what you do if the wish comes true. In my case, your grandmother always loved to listen to me play—once I learned to play songs, of course—and we would sit around many times singing songs together. Well, she sang, I played. My singing sounds like a wounded hyena with asthma.”

“So your Christmas wish, even though it was something you wanted, could make other people happy as well?”

Declan’s grandfather put down the staining brush, wiped his hands, knelt down, and put his arms on Declan’s shoulders.

“Dec, wishes that come from the heart always benefit more than just the person making them. If you get a new toy or a new game for Christmas, you share it with your friends don’t you?”

Declan nodded.

“So even though you got your wish, it is something you share with others. That is not selfish that is living the Christmas spirit.”

Declan nodded. “Thanks, grandpa. I bet your friend’s grandson is gonna love that guitar.” With that he ran back upstairs.

Hs grandfather watched him go, then finished staining the back of the guitar. Placing it gently in the holder to let it dry, he reached for his wood burner tool. Pulling a small wooden plaque from a drawer, he placed it on the table and began to burn letters into the wood.

For Declan, I hope this gives you as much pleasure over the years as it gave me. Love Grandpa

Tomorrow” There Must Have Been Some Magic

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