Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Early Gift

by Ray Scanlon

It's the Christmas season, though not yet at the solstice. The sun's going down, temperature is 27 degrees, with a stiffish Canadian wind, and we are not used to it at all, having just enjoyed a solid week of 40 and 50 degree weather. Grammy and the grandchildren are coming back from getting a freshly cut tree at the local nursery, where they had to walk constantly to keep from seizing up. The plan is to decorate the tree this evening, and the kids will sleep over.

On the way home they stop at Zaccagnini's Bakery to pick up an assortment of pastries for dessert, and for decadent snacks later on. The girls choose quickly, but the selection is so vast Jord takes forever to force himself to decide. Bismarks win. We sit down for supper. All of us behave well at the table and have good appetites, which is not always the case. Ali is almost brave enough to try a beet, but draws back from the abyss at the last moment.

We manage to get the tree up, though I audibly execrate my inability to get a six-foot tree to stay vertical using four thumbscrews with way too much play in the cheap plastic piece of junk that passes for a tree stand. The kids hang ornaments for a while, but the pull of their Warrior Cats book gets the best of the girls. One lies on the couch reading, the other is at the computer writing her own version of the cat story; they swap places every chapter. Jord and Gram are kinging each other in checkers on the other side of the room. Two Christmas videos--the Grinch and Charlie Brown--are put to a vote.Hunter tallies; Charlie Brown wins (the Grinch will play the next morning). And then to bed.

Gram is out cold seconds after she's supine. Jord lasts a few minutes with his book before he goes under. The girls are so tired they can't sleep, and are as responsive as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to my stern warnings. They play their own lights-out version of "Concentration," going back and forth naming animals as fast as they can without repeating one. Speed is the thing, they tell me; I can only guess what other rules, if any, there are. Muffled bursts of giggling leak out of their room for another half hour, then the house is silent.

Ray Scanlon lives in Massachusetts. His grandson is going to become a teenager this year. His web site:read.oldmanscanlon.com/

Twentieth Flash

Resupply by Ron Orem
The Distinctive Smell Of Crayons by Margaret Mary Monahan
A Courtly Hat by Jean Wong
Growing Pains by Deborah Jones-norberto
All Is Dread by Maggie Manning
Sunday Breakfast At Willow Wood by Fran Claggett
Why I Need To Learn To Speak Up by Lynn Sunday
Herbie Meets The Sisters Of Villa Marie by Bruce Lucas
The Gold Lace Tablecloth by Kathleen Moynihan Greer
Lightsaber Maintenance, 1978 by Gregory Gerard

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