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A Button Box

by Richard L. Provencher  
10/03/2011 / Family

"Grandpa?" Colin asked. "Want to go fishing?" The boy waited patiently for an answer.

He enjoyed visiting his Grandparents at their apartment. The veranda they sat on was three-floors higher than the parking lot. There was so much to see from here, almost like being an eagle..

Grandpa shook his head. "I'm too tired to go fishing," he finally said.

Colin tried not to be disappointed. He watched a yellow goldfinch eat from the bird feeder. A chickadee also joined in the fun. "Let's play games on grandma's computer!" he said excitedly.

"I don't have enough thinking left in me today."

Colin didn't know what else to suggest. He hoped grandpa didn't forget about the fireworks tonight.

"Listen," Grandpa said. "I know a great game for a young fellow. Come inside and I'll show you." He rummaged around in a little closet then held up a bright yellow tin can. He removed the lid and emptied the contents right in the middle of the rug. "My father showed me this game many years ago. Now, come over here."

Grandfather and grandson got on their knees. Each ran their hands through a mountain of buttons, in all colors and sizes! Then Grandpa showed Colin how to play, 'Twinkies.'

The boy soon caught on. He pressed hard on the edge of a button, and sent it flying into a circle formed by thread. "This is sure different," thought Colin. Next came, 'Flick the button closest to the wall.' Colin didn't mind when he lost.

When Grandpa saw his grandson having a good time, he picked up a small plastic bag from the pile. Colin could see it held several buttons. "These are special," grandpa said. "Each one has a story behind it."

"Will you tell me one?" the boy asked.

"I thought you wanted to go fishing," was followed by a chuckle.

"Not right now," Colin pleaded. "I want to hear a story."

Grandpa's first button was quite large, its white color was shaped like a cloud. "I almost lost this during a camping trip," he said. "Your uncle Troy and Scott were with me. "And during a snowball fight we saw a wild rabbit."

"You had a snowball fight grandpa?" the boy asked. "Did uncle Troy get you good?"

"He sure did.."

"Did the rabbit let you pat him, Grandpa?" Colin asked holding his breath.

"I thought it strange when he let us. After all, it was a wild rabbit," grandpa said.

"See this one? It came off at a Church picnic." He held up a button with black specks, resembling discolored bruises.

"What were you doing that time, Grandpa?" asked the little boy.

"I was racing the Pastor for the soccer ball, at the church picnic, " grandpa answered. "And I tripped and fell down. Later, I scored two goals," he said proudly.

"You must have been a good player, Grandpa."

"Yes. And grandma cheered the loudest," he said with a smile.

Colin squeezed his eyes tightly. He could almost hear feet thundering across the field. Oh, he wished he had been there on Grandpa's team.

Then grandpa picked another button from the pile. "I almost lost this one for sure," he said. "I was snow shoeing north of Bass River."

Colin noticed it was bright white, like snow. A curve in the middle formed a valley between green.

"You know how to snowshoe? Colin asked.

"Yes," grandpa said. "I even raced with your uncles"

"You beat them every time, too," Colin interrupted.

"Yes," grandpa answered. "How did you know that?" he asked, giving his grandson a light punch on the shoulder.

"Now this one, I almost lost at Economy Lake. My denim jacket scraped against the side getting out of the canoe."

"Grandpa, I watched a story on TV about canoes," said Colin. "That part is called Gunnels."

"Very good Colin," Grandpa said. "Anyways, I camped on this little island with your dad. The moon shone bright as a flashlight on our tent."

Colin gulped. Somehow he could just see that island, with trees, rocks and a little beach.

"Then in the morning, the loons" grandpa started to say.

"Oh Grandpa," Colin interrupted again. "I really like the sound of loons. I saw this program about them on TV"

Now it was grandpa's turn to interrupt. "You must be patient to hear the story," he grinned. "Besides, it's much more interesting to hear loons in their natural habitat," grandpa added.

"Do you think I'm going to do all those things? I mean, when I grow up Grandpa?" Colin asked.

"Yes, you are. In fact, some of your adventures will be very different. You might go kite gliding, or parachuting"

"Uh. Uh. No parachuting for me, thank you very much," Colin said. The boy noticed grandpa's chin beginning to drop lower. And lower until he was fast asleep.

"Oh Grandpa, I love you," was a grandson's whisper.

Grandma came silently into the living room, carrying today's paper she just bought from the corner store. She watched Colin sitting patiently beside his beloved grandpa. A few snores escaped her husband's lips, as his head leaned against his grandson.

"Do you want another chair, Colin?" grandma asked. "You might be more comfortable."

"Thanks grandma," the boy answered. "I have to guard grandpa's treasures." Then he opened a clenched fist. His little hand held brown, gold and silver buttons.

"Would you like to come in the kitchen? Help me make cookies?" grandma asked.

"No grandma. I want to be right here when grandpa wakes up." Colin pushed grandpa's glasses back on his nose. "Guess what grandma? Colin said. "We're all going to watch the fireworks tonight!"

And his huge smile was bright as grandmas.

2011 Richard & Esther Provencher

Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.

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