Howdy Friends,

We had drifted to the back yard, Grandpop, Lisa and me. Grandpop wasn’t up to riding, or walking very far, so the chairs just off the porch seemed a good place to rest. The view of the mountains, not so far away, but far enough to paint a glorious scene stretching across the horizon, offered a spectacular backdrop for morning coffee. Grandpop and I settled into our chairs, Lisa stomped about kicking leaves, not quite ready to sit and relax. It had been a big breakfast and perhaps her fourth helping of Grandpop’s buckwheat flapjacks, smothered in butter and maple syrup, had her running on a full tank.

She bent and picked up a long yellow leaf, held it skyward to peer through. “It makes the sky all yellow,” she giggled. Grandpop and I smiled, it was a good thing to watch that short, blonde haired little girl giggle. Something she needed more of. Her stay with Grandpop was coming to an end when evening rolled in, and too soon this little princess would return to a world too many children live in.

We sipped our coffee and allowed Lisa to entertain us with buckets of smiles, grins and out-loud laughs as she dashed here and there from oak to maple, capturing first one leaf and declaring it to be the most marvelous red she’d ever seen, then holding another high while praising its bold pink or yellow. “Even the speckled ones are beautiful!” She sang thrusting a ragged faded yellow and brown leaf on Grandpop’s lap. “See how all the colors mix?” She pointed to the torn leaf and peered into his eyes as if insisting he agree. He leaned down, hugged her. I saw the wet in his eyes, felt mine burn.

Lisa wrestled free, as she is wont to do when hugged, fell back to the ground rolling in the leaves and giggling, grabbing great handfuls of color and tossing them high. “They even smell beautiful!”

Suddenly she stopped, sprang to her feet and pointed to the mountain. “See all the colors there? I wish they could always be those colors. Isn’t it just beautiful? Why must they ever change?” She ran and dove into Grandpop’s lap and hugged him. “I wish this day would never need to change too.”

Grandpop brushed her hair from her eyes, kissed her forehead, and methodically studied the torn, battered, faded leaf he still held in his weathered hand. “Well little lady, I reckon the leaves change once a year just to put on this grand show for us. If they were this spectacular every day we might not remember to take notice. We might forget their beautiful show. This way you see we never fail to recognize all the effort they go to just for us. I suppose in life it takes a bunch of what some folks call ordinary to make the very special, extraordinary.”

“Well, I like shiny green leaves too.” Lisa carefully pressed out a few multicolored leaves on Grandpop’s thigh. “I’m keeping these so I can always remember our very special day and when I get sad, they can remind me to be happy.”

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

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