Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: START (02/25/16)
- TITLE: A Spring Surprise
By Karen Dick
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“Ok,” I politely answered with confusion as I hung up the phone. I had no idea what Grandpa was talking about. He was bringing me starts to what? I would have to hurry to be ready in an hour. At least lunch was over and Susie was napping. Coffee would be needed, and perhaps there would be time to bake a batch of his favorite sugar cookies.
My plans for cleaning and relaxing during nap time quickly changed. Anxiety came over me as I poured water into the coffee maker. This was the first time he came alone. Grandma was usually with him, but now that she was gone, life was shifting.
In precisely one hour there was a loud knock at the front door as I removed a tray of sugar cookies from the oven. I deposited them quickly and rushed toward the door. Grandpa did not appreciate waiting. As I approached, the door suddenly came open.
“You should keep your door locked when you’re home alone,” he said pointedly from the open threshold.
“Yes Grandpa, I usually do, but I knew you were coming,” I said with a grin, hoping to create a lighter mood to his arrival. “Won’t you come in? I just made a fresh pot of coffee and some sugar cookies.”
“No, I will meet you in your backyard.”
As he left and closed the door, I breathed in deeply. His commanding demeanor was not surprising to me for I had experienced it my entire life. His former life as an army colonel was ingrained in his personality, and most people, including myself, were obedient to his demands.
I grabbed my jacket and hurried out the back door. He stood near the vacant flower beds, holding a small cardboard box.
Turning to face me with a bit of a smile, he stated, “Here are the starts.”
Looking into the box I saw small maroon colored plants that resembled weeds.
“This is a Peony start,” he said as he held one up. “We are going to plant these, and in a couple of months, you will have beautiful, pink flowers.” Then with a wink he added, “And they’ll smell good too.”
It did not take long for us to dig a small hole in the damp soil. We gently placed the Peonies starts in the dirt, covered them, and added water. As rain began to fall, we entered the warmth of the kitchen, with the lingering scent of fresh baked cookies.
I brought two steaming mugs of black coffee to the kitchen table where he was sitting, along with a plate of warm cookies.
“This hits the spot on a drizzly day in May. Your Grandma and I often enjoyed coffee and cookies together in the afternoon.”
“You must miss her,” I uttered softly.
“Life is different, and it is an adjustment, but as you know, she had quite a rough time with that heart of hers. At least now she is healed and has begun a new life.”
A lump formed in my throat making it difficult to swallow my coffee. I looked down as I fought back tears. It was hard to know what words of comfort I could bring to my Grandfather’s aching heart. However, as I contemplated what to say, he continued on.
“God has told us that nothing on this earth lasts forever. Life is fleeting, and it is important to appreciate what we have. As the good book says, ‘the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.’” (Is. 40:8)
I could detect unshed tears behind his horn rimmed glasses, but I continued to listen as he reminisced, sharing wisdom that he had attained over his eighty-two years. I regretted my earlier apprehension about his visit, so in that moment I decided to take to heart what he was telling me.
A couple of months later, the Peonies starts developed into tall stems with delicate pink fragrant blossoms. I treasured that plant for many years and memories of that afternoon with Grandpa. They became even more precious when Grandpa began his new life with Grandma. What a wonderful gift God granted me on that rainy day in May.
Scripture taken from New International Version.
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