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From the Button Box

by Richard L. Provencher  
1/24/2014 / Family

Breakfast was now over and Colin could hardly wait. Today was July 1, and fireworks would begin at 10 PM tonight. In the meantime, he was quite restless. "Grandpa?" Colin asked. "Let's go fishing." He saw Grandpa smile, and waited for an answer.

Colin 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 in an eagle's nest.

Grandpa shook his head. "I'm too tired to go fishing," he 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!" the boy said.
"I don't have enough thinking left in me, right now" said grandpa.
Colin didn't know what else to suggest.
"Listen," Grandpa said. "I know a game for a young fellow. Come inside and I'll show you." He held up a bright yellow tin can. Then removed the lid and emptied the contents, in the middle of the rug! "My father showed me some games," he said. "Come over here."

Grandfather and grandson got on their knees. A mountain of grandma's buttons was in many colors, shapes and sizes! Then Grandpa showed Colin how to play, 'Twinkies.' The boy soon caught on, as he pressed nimbly on the edge of a button. He sent it flying into a circle formed by thread. "This is different," thought Colin.

Next came, 'Flick the button closest to the wall.' Colin didn't mind when he lost.

Grandpa picked out a small plastic bag that held several buttons. "These are special," he said. "Each one has a story to tell."
"Tell me one?" Colin asked.
"I thought you wanted to go fishing," answered Grandpa.
"Not now," Colin pleaded. "I want to hear your stories."
Grandpa's first button was large, with a white impression shaped like clouds. "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 rabbit."
"You had a snowball fight grandpa," the boy said in amazement. "Did uncle Troy get you good?"
"He sure did," grandpa answered.
"Did you pat the rabbit, Grandpa?" Colin asked holding his breath.
"Yes," we all did, he answered. "I thought it strange when he let us. After all, it was a wild rabbit," grandpa said.

"See this one? It came off my shirt at a Church picnic." He held up a button with black specks, like bruises.
"What were you doing Grandpa?" asked the little boy.
"I raced the Pastor for the soccer ball," grandpa chuckled. "And I tripped. Later, I scored two goals," he said proudly.
"You must have been a good player Grandpa," Colin said.
"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.

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? The boy asked.
"Yes," grandpa said. "I even played tag on them with your uncles"
"I bet you got them every time, too," Colin interrupted.
"Yup," grandpa answered. Then he gave his grandson a light punch on the shoulder.

"I almost lost this one at Economy Lake," said grandpa. 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"

It was grandpa's turn to interrupt. "You must be patient if you wish to hear the story," he grinned. "Besides, it's much more interesting to hear loons in their natural habitat."
"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, thank you very much," Colin said. The boy noticed grandpa's chin begin to drop, 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 saw Colin sitting patiently beside his grandpa. A few snores escaped her husband's lips. And 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 treasure." 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!"
The little boy's smile was as bright as grandmas.

* * *

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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