General Fiction posted January 17, 2022

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Family story

Christmas past

by zanya

Grandpa Dan loved to regale his grandchildren with stories about Christmas.

The story of one particular Christmas always got a hearing.

'On Christmas morning at dawn,' grandpa began,' dad woke us. Bleary- eyed, we tumbled from our beds.Papa was by the door of his and Mama's bedroom shaving before going to church.
Mama was applying powder to her pale cheeks and coiffing her hair in a Sunday style.

My brother Tom and I tore the packaging off our Santa present.
Santa usually brought something useful, like pens for our return to school.
My brother sometimes got boots for work on the farm, a smallholding from which my parents eked out a living and educated the two of us boys.

After we had opened up and found our present we looked forward to the little treat that might lie at the bottom of our Christmas stocking.
It was always a surprise.

That  Christmas, Tom got a toy tractor, a tiny machine, bright red with real tyres and a steering wheel. His eyes grew wide as he gazed at it.

Tom's tractor went everywhere with him. At school, he was the envy of his best friend, Joey, who a longed for a tractor.

My special Santa gift was often something for school like a new satchel.
That year, though, something different showed up. It was something I had seen in my school science book about Galileo. It was a telescope.

With one eye firmly closed and the other one half- open it was possible to see an object just a few inches away.

I felt like I was Galileo himself, discovering stars and galaxies.
I was the envy of my classmates. Everyone wanted to gaze at the stars. My school pals beat a path to our little farmhouse all through those winter nights to catch a glimpse of the stars.

I was enthralled. On Saturday afternoons some girls in my class would come along too.
That's how I met your grandma, Ruth. Ruth loved to sketch what she saw through the telescope.

Grandpa's eyes misted over as he recalled Ruth's love of drawing.

As for me, guys, Grandpa would say, you know where that telescope took me.'

Our beloved late grandpa Dan lived a life of gazing at the skies and sharing what he saw with his students in our local University.

They still fondly remember him as Galileo's biggest fan.


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