Knowing that empty feeling would hollow out the three of us as soon as we walked through the door, we considered skipping the 2015 visit to Gram and Gran’s. However, knowing a sale on the house was likely closely in January, we figured one last trip to our holiday retreat was needed to properly honor Gram and Gran.
So now you know. Back to the basement.
I went down to retrieve all of the about 50 Christmas ornaments which rested in the basement, but there was really only one that I cared about. The Gram and Gran snow globe. About the size of a baseball, the Gram and Gran snow globe displayed a cozy living room scene of an old gray-haired woman man smoking a pipe and an old gray-haired woman knitting in easy chairs in front of a red-hot fire and a curled-up brown dog. The thing looked custom made, because the two characters looked exactly like Gram and Gran doing their favorite past times with their since-deceased chocolate lab, Bart, nearby. But it wasn’t. It was just some knick-knack my step-dad found in the Duluth, Minnesota airport on a business trip in the 90s. This was confirmed by the almost completely faded-away print of “DULUTH” in red ink on the front of the thing.
The Gram and Gran snow globe was traditionally the last ornament placed on the tree each year and took on a new sadness on the December 23rd of 2015. The faded paint of the old man and woman in the raggedy snow felt symbolic now. The thinning of the fake snow which had been reduced to just a little flurry tugged at the heart as well. Time had passed. Lives were gone. Forever. Gram and Gran were now just as alive as those little ceramic figurines which were forever trapped in glass.
I felt the hot tears start to streak down my face when I yawned after putting the snow globe’s green hook over its usual spot right in the upper center of our proud Douglas Fir.