(Please bare with me, friends. This is a
repeat of a short story, but it's a special one to me, so here it is again!)
The Haze of a November Moon
No matter how hard she
tried, Callie couldn’t get those lines out of her mind. That refrain just
kept playing through her head, no matter how busy she’d been preparing and
pulling off another Thanksgiving at the Harold’s house, another filled with
family laughs, left over turkey sitting on the counter, and dishes filling
the table, sink, and the dishwasher.
She was just simply
exhausted from the whole ordeal. Tomorrow she’d laugh at it and put it all
in her memory where it would stay, and through the years the good things
would be the survivors, and the dirty dishes just a forgotten inconvenience
in an otherwise good day. But those darn lines just wouldn’t go away, and
here it was the end of the day, and she was still remembering those poetry
lines from somewhere, she didn’t even know where. . .
Make a wish on the haze of
And that wish will come true
hazy moon, here at the end of November? Didn’t that have something to do
with the harvest, with October? Where did that silly verse come from, and
why the heck couldn’t she forget the darned thing?
But something just
kept drawing Callie to the back door, which she opened, and stepped out into
the cool of this Thanksgiving evening. Dare she look up? She did, but had
to stop a moment and think about just where she’d find a moon in the night
sky. Had it been that long since she’d gazed at the moon in the sky?
There it was,
sitting just above the neighbor’s tall pines. And by golly, it was enveloped
in haze, yet still shining through it all. It looked to her like it was
wrapped up in gauze, this full moon on a Thanksgiving evening. The sight
made her smile, and the smile felt good on her face. Now what? What did that
inane verse say to do?? Oh yeah, make a wish on the haze of the moon. . .
and that wish should come true soon. Sure it would, but it sounded like
fun, but what to wish for?
seemed to be called for here, something out of the ordinary in an ordinary
world? What was something her imagination had spoken to her about? What
could make her smile, bring her a laugh maybe, put a pretty ending onto this
rather ordinary Thanksgiving?
laughed in spite of herself at the thought that came to mind here in the
late November moonlight. Watching that grown up boy of hers at dinner this
evening she had thought what a shame it was he could never know her
grandfather. Her son had always reminded her so much of her grandfather,
that tall, straight man with his head full of sandy red hair. Her son had
even had that red hair himself when a child, but it had turned dark like
hers as he grew up. But through the years watching him from baby to boy to
man, she’d always found so many similarities, especially that quick wit and
sense of humor of his.
Those two would have made
great friends, her son and her grandfather, so there’s a wish not likely to
be granted, but a wish none the less. “I wish my grandfather and my son
could meet and get to know one another.” She spoke it aloud outside in the
Well if nothing else, the
wish did make her smile, and that smile felt right, here standing in the
Time to get myself inside
and tackle those dishes, she thought to herself. So back inside she went,
resolute in her good intentions. But before she could even start running
clean water into the sink, the front door bell rang.
Somebody must have left a
mitten, she thought as she made her way to the door. She looked through the
glass on that door at the back of a tall man standing there looking off into
the fields. Oh now there’s no way this could be happening???
She swung the door open,
and looked into the blue eyes of her Grandpa standing there smiling. “You
gonna just stand there wondering how this can be, or you gonna invite me in
for some turkey and dressing? And some of that pie your daddy always said
tasted like his mama’s?”
Gasping a little, she
opened the door wide and set the wondering aside for the moment. She opened
her arms wide to this man she hadn’t seen in more years than she wanted to
count up, and just let herself be held by this memory of so many long ago
times past. It didn’t matter, because this was now, and he was here. It
didn’t matter how it had come to be, it just was.
“Hey there, Mama, I just
felt I had to be back here tonight, so here I am,” said her son now standing
just inside the door taking in the picture before him. “You going to
Just keep it together,
Callie, she said to herself. This is not the time to be asking questions
that can’t be answered.
“Well, Mitch, you remember
how I used to tell you how much you reminded me of my own grandfather, and
how very much I’d always wished the two of you could somehow meet? Well, I
made a wish on that hazy moon tonight, and it does seem to have come true.”
A broad smile covered
Mitch’s face as he extended his hand across to the tall man before him,
“Hey, man, I learned many years ago not to ask too many questions. I’m
Mitch, and can I assume you’re my maternal great grandfather?”
“That I am, and I am so
pleased to make your acquaintance on this November night.”
Callie thought her heart
was going to beat right out of her chest as she guided these two important
men in her life to the dining table she expected would still be cluttered
with the remains of their Thanksgiving dinner. Instead they walked into a
room that seemed set up out of some November issue of a magazine, a table
set for three, a golden turkey in its center with carving tools waiting.
Surrounding it were all those delicious dishes she could remember from her
own childhood, and those that were now Mitch’s favorites too.
Grandfather picked up the
tools and gave Mitch instructions on the way to correctly carve a bird.
Mitch stood up at his side and took the utensils from his great
grandfather’s hands, and between the two of them, they soon had the bird
neatly carved and ready for serving.
Callie handed her plate
over and let Grandfather put on some slices of the bird. How could she
possibly be hungry after that large meal she’d just eaten? But she found
she was, and as the other dishes were passed around the table, she filled
her plate. And the filled plate looked just as a plate should on
Thanksgiving. The two men, both such important parts of her from totally
different generations, also loaded man-size portions of all that was there
onto their plates. All three ate and talked between the bites.
They talked of little
unimportant things. . . of crops and the prices they were bringing now days,
of farms from the past and farms now ongoing. Comparing notes on feeding
cattle and getting in the corn, of silos now and then, all the little things
that farmers talk about when they sit down to a meal on Thanksgiving day.
Callie didn’t join in, just
listened, just let the wish magic work its way between these two sitting
here with her. She tried to memorize the conversation word for word, thought
for thought, heart to heart between these two so long separated by the
generations, never having known each other before.
Callie looked at the two in
profile noting how alike they were, even without the shared red heads,
making pictures in her mind to remain there forever with her. The profiles
were so similar, the curve of the chins, the slope of the noses, the arch of
the foreheads, the hairlines. Callie sat there perpetually smiling at these
two loves in her life.
After they’d eaten their pie
and the men had complimented her on her own special pumpkin recipe, she had
gone into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. To her amazement the pot
was full, and the piping hot aroma of freshly ground and brewed coffee
greeted her at the doorway. She inhaled the fresh aroma and held it in her
lungs as long as it allowed. She held it as she wanted to hold this whole
night, close to her heart and there for as long as it would stay.
She arrived back at the
table with that full pot still steaming, and three cups with saucers. She
was glad they had been left out for her at the edge of the counter because
she didn’t think she would be able to find them in the clutter of her
cabinets. She’d given over to big mugs without saucers years ago. But she
could remember how Grandpa had enjoyed his coffee cup in its saucer, and how
he’d taught her to drink it when she was just a little bit of a girl.
He met her with a smile
when she entered the dining room, and stood to take the tray from her hands,
and placed it on the table. He was drawing in large breaths of the smell as
she poured the three cups full to the rims and handed them to both Mitch and
Grandpa. Mitch looked a little perplexed, but did take his cup. He’d never
been a coffee drinker, but didn’t object to taking this cup from his mother.
“Here you are, Mitch, here’s
the way to drink coffee.” He sipped away the top of his cup and watched as
Mitch did the same. “How, set down your cup and let me put the cream in it.
. . now I take three teaspoons of sugar in mine, but you can have as many
as it takes to make a big strapper like you a sweetheart.”
The two sat and stirred
their cups, Callie taking in the sound of those spoons hitting the sides of
“Now here’s the real over
the topper, Mitch, you gotta pour a little into the saucer and drink it from
there. That’s when you know you’re drinking a fine cup of coffee.” He
tipped the cup and let a little flow into the saucer, set the cup onto the
table and raised the saucer to his mouth. He stopped then, waiting for
Mitch to follow his lead.
“Well Mom, guess you won’t
fuss at me not to?” he laughingly said as he got his coffee into his saucer
all nice and neat.
Together they raised the
saucers to their lips and took in the sweet mix as it flowed into their
mouths. They continued till every drop was gone from their cups, and then
from the pot. Callie just let them drink their fill knowing she could have
her coffee anytime she wanted. Smiles spread across both their faces as they
sat back in the chairs and smiled at each other, then at her.
“One more thing I just need
to ask,” said Mitch from his seat. “I need to know about that story Mom
always told of you at the dinner table at her house when she was a little
girl. The one where you told about how you shouldn’t tell your troubles? Mom
always swore by that one, and I’d like to hear it from its source.”
“I remember it well,” he
replied. “I was invited to Sunday dinner, as I had been ever since Mary
died, and the conversation was just what it always was. Your Grandpa would
tell about how hard his week had been, then your Grandma would tell about
how hard her week had been. They told the stories in great detail, stories
of people and places I’d never see, and that your Mama had no interest in at
all. Callie and I’d just sit there and pretend to listen each week, glancing
at each other and winking across the table ever now and again. Well this one
Sunday there was actually a lull in the complaining, so I thought I’d take a
chance and speak my mind.”
“What did you say,
Grandpa?” Mitch asked.
“Don’t be telling your
troubles to everybody,” I told those two. “You know why? Cause half of them
don’t give a damn, the other half’s glad to hear it.”
“Yep, that’s the one my Mom
would tell,” Mitch laughed, and the three of them enjoyed a good laugh with
one another right there at the table.
That evening wore into
night, and night into the wee hours of the morning. Callie started to dread
the moment when the magic would end, for she knew it would have to sometime.
They made their way into the living room and lounged around talking on the
comfortable overstuffed pieces Callie so loved in this room, never dreaming
her dear Grandpa would ever be here in this room to rest himself on it. She
lit the candles on the mantle, set the fire to burning and just settled
herself in to enjoy the two men getting to know one another in her living
As the hours ticked away,
the three of them grew sleepy, and one after another they fell asleep in the
flickering firelight as the candles burned down. As the night turned to day,
the rays of sunlight started to penetrate the curtains on the front windows
till Callie’s eyes opened on a sunny new day. She looked across the room
and saw the sunshine had also awakened Mitch, who was stretching the kinks
out of his arms and legs.
“Where’s Grandpa, Mitch?”
“I don’t know,” he replied,
making his way out of the room and into the hallway for a look around.
Callie didn’t get up. She
knew the magic wouldn’t last into the light of a new day, there’s no way it
could hold up under the rays of a new sun. So when Mitch came back into the
room visibly shaken by it all, she patted the cushion on the sofa next to
her and held his hand, trying to explain what couldn’t possibly be
He looked older and wiser,
this grown up boy of hers, and she saw afresh the resemblance he had to his
great-grandfather. How glad she was to have had this priceless opportunity
to see the two of them together! This was the wonderful doings of such an
unlikely verse, and such an unlikely event, a hazy full moon on
Thanksgiving. But she was not going to question any of it, just file it away
with other precious memories to be enjoyed over and over again.
“Thank you, Mom. Thanks for
sharing your wish with me. I don’t understand any of it, but what an
experience you’ve shared with me!”
The two of them sat there
and chatted the day away, talking about all the little things the night
before had revealed, all the little lessons learned, the bits of wisdom
shared. Callie wasn’t surprised to see the dining room and kitchen cleaned
and shining, but what did surprise her was what was left on the dining room
There all by itself on the
shining wood of the dining room table stood a single coffee cup in a saucer,
a teaspoon beside it. In the bottom of the cup was the dried ring of the
tiny bit of coffee left inside it.
“Here son, this is for
you,” and Callie smiled as she handed the little piece of a memory over to
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