This is a continuation of last Saturday’s story and illustrations. You can read it here if you’d like.
“So which one of the snowchicks we made for you was your favorite?” asked Gracie.
We were enjoying a warmer and more comfortable afternoon in the winter sun.
“They were all special in their own way.”
“Yes, but that’s not what I asked.”
“Well, it’s hard to say. Especially if each of you girls made a different one. You know I don’t like to pick favorites between you.”
“How about this then. Which two were your favorites? Imagine we were having an afternoon tea party. Which two would you invite? Bessie and I have always wanted to have a tea party anyway.”
“Gracie, you know you shouldn’t have a tea party for snowchicks. They would melt.”
“You are evading my question again.”
“To be honest, picking two is much easier. It would be the two I named Splat and Tumble.”
“I knew you would pick them!” she said, looking pleased at how well she knew me. “But tell me why.”
“Splat reminded me of when you were all little baby chicks and would play until you would ‘splat’ yourselves. At least that’s what I called it.”
“At first you thought we were weak and sick when really we were just exhausted from trying to explore everything in the world all at once.”
“Yes, all of you, and especially Bessie, would run and run until you couldn’t run any more and had to take a nap. Sometimes you would go ‘splat’ while you were still running to discover something that had caught your attention. The first time, I thought you were all having sun strokes or something.”
My face flushed slightly as I remembered not knowing hardly anything about raising chickens back then.
“Oh, don’t be embarrassed,” she said. “You didn’t know any more about baby chicks than we knew about the world we had hatched into. We all learned it together.”
I had to chuckle at my own lack of knowledge. “Yes, I thought there was something wrong with all of you and I wanted to take you back for a refund!”
“I am so glad you didn’t.”
“Me too, Gracie. Me too.”
“And what about the one you named Tumble?”
“That one reminded me of all the times Bessie tried to coach you to fly up to the next higher roosting spot.”
“And I took a tumble time and time again.”
“Yes, but that never stopped you from trying, did it? And that never stopped Bessie from helping you either. She never gave up on you, and you never gave up on yourself.”
Gracie looked over at Bessie who was scratching and digging in a corner with earthworm potential. I watched Gracie’s body relax as she thought back to those long ago days.
Gracie had been the most timid of all the chicks. She had that lump on her side almost from the time she hatched, and she shielded it and herself from the others for safety. She only trusted Bessie. I remember how I had promised them both I would keep them together no matter what. I have broken many promises in my life, but my promise to them is one I must never break.
Gracie turned back and looked into my eyes.
“I know you have had your own splats and tumbles. Even though you have never told me about them, I know you have had them. I have seen them on your face.”
I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I just listened.
Gracie looked more deeply into my eyes, never blinking.
“But I have also seen how you have a piece of Forever in your heart.”
Gracie turned, leaving me to think about what she had said. Sometimes the simplest words hold the deepest meaning.
She went over to where Bessie was resting after her digging adventure. She lay down beside her and then nudged her head under Bessie’s. In a moment, Bessie was resting her head on the soft comfort of Gracie’s neck and back. It was just like how they had done so often as little chicks when their lives were filled with countless splats and tumbles.
Surely they have a piece of Forever in their hearts as well.
And perhaps, when it snows again, Gracie and Bessie can have their tea party with Splat and Tumble, only we will make it an iced tea party instead.
My Life With Gracie taught me sometimes life gives us splats and tumbles. Both simply mean we are alive and growing with a precious piece of Forever in our hearts.
Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! May you find a piece of Forever in your own heart.