Friday, December 15, 2006

Hope is a Silver Bell

New York

I believe with all my heart that we, human beings, are striving to be all we can be, to do the right thing, to transcend, to hope. And, often, I am reminded of the naivete of that belief. But, just as I reach the edge of the cliff of despair, give up on
the promise of something better, I am given a reminder of the ineffible, the un-articulated possibility that comes in a nanosecond in the eyes of a loved one.

Today, I spent some time with my grandsons. I put Edward, the baby, down for his morning nap. Ethan and I worked on a puzzle for awhile. We read a book about New York City that he especially likes that I keep at my house for him, and I'd brought over for him to look at with me. Then, he went over to his book cubby and pulled out the Polar Express for me to read him.

The story is about a boy who joins the Polar Express train to the North Pole with other children. They drink cocoa and follow the directions of the curmudgeonly conductor. When they reach their destination, the place is swarming with elves. Eventually, the boy finds Santa and his sleigh and reindeer. He musters up the courage to ask Santa to take one of the silver bells off of the reins of the reindeer so that he can take it home. To his surprise, Santa agrees.

The conductor signals all the children: " All aboard", and off they go back to their families. In the rush to get on the Polar Express, the boy drops the silver bell in the snow. It is gone forever.

The next morning, Christmas morning, the boy goes downstairs to see if Santa has brought him some gifts. There is a package with his name on it and a note from Santa. " I think you left this behind. Mr. C.", says the note. In the box was the silver bell.

"Read that part again, Grammie,": Ethan pleaded, sitting on the wide arm of the big, retro-green club chair. But, I couldn't. I was trying to not let him see my eyes well up. I pulled out a tissue from my sleeve, just where my mother had kept her tissues before me.

Ethan crawled off of the arm of the chair and went over to the tissue box. He pulled one out, and, with a big puffed out chest, his red head cocked to the side, he brought it over to me.
"Here, Grammie. This is for you."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely story, Mary. I bought the book for my grandson when he was just three months old. I signed it with, "may you always hear the ringing of the bell."
P.S. My mother and grandmothers also kept tissues in their sleeves, as do I.

Love, Betsy