A starry, starry night

One of the things my family loves to do on a crisp fall evening is to head out to the fire pit. Sweaters, blankets and quilts are rounded up, fire wood gathered, coffee brewed or hot chocolate made. Someone usually digs through the pantry in the hopes of finding ingredients for s’mores or make a mad dash to the store if necessary.

When everything is ready, we circle the chairs around a blazing fire, sit and talk. No television and no electronics. We actually spend time communicating with one another. Even the kids.

It’s always a good opportunity for story telling. I love to share the stories my grandparents and parents passed down to me while spending an evening on the front porch swing or one of those old metal gliders that squeaked. I liked to stretch across the cool concrete and listen to them talk about things that happened long before I was born.

We have lots of family stories to revisit, whether it’s camping trips that flirted with disaster or one of the unplanned road trips taken through the years. Someone might even bring up the one about the year two cats got into a fight…in the branches of the Christmas Tree. And we laugh no matter how many times we hear the same story.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to make a very special memory, one I find myself revisiting often. It happened on a cool, clear night in October when the ground fog crept across the fields beyond the house. The moon was yellow and full. My grandson, Caleb, was seven at the time and full of energy. He was twirling around in circles beside the fire, dancing freestyle. And he kept insisting that I join him.

“Oh, honey,” I said. “It’s really dark out here, and I can’t see what I’m doing. I might fall down and break my ankle.”

“Take my hand, Granny,” he said, reaching out for me. “I won’t let you fall.”

How could I refuse? That’s how I ended up, dancing with my grandson under the stars on a beautiful fall night. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

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