By Trudy A. Martinez
Today is not my birthday: that day passed weeks ago but here stood Elijah and Charity, wishing me happy birthday, handing me a present, asking me to open it, gleaming with joy from anticipation.
The package handed me was a work of art: personality spilled from its hand painted design; each stroke told a story, filling my heart with joy; each color depicted a mood, an emotion sprang from it, leaping at my heartstrings.
There is a cake waiting to be eaten so I had better get along with my story.
“I painted this.” Elijah exclaimed, smiling as he pointed to his design. “Charity painted this,” he continued as his words sprang to life in the ears of his little sister standing next to him, waiting her turn to speak.
“Open it Grama”, her words rang out, sprinkling the air with the soft tones of her voice.
“Do you know what it is?” Elijah queried.
“No,” I replied, “Can you tell me?”
“Can’t tell Grama, Elijah!” Charity’s reprimanding voice rang out.
“No-O-O-O-O-O.” Elijah answered, dragging out the one syllable word, lingering it in the air momentarily before he added, “You have to open it, Grama”.
My fingers had already begun to carefully undue the paper from one of the packages. The paper was unique as it was homemade; the designs were drawings made by Elijah and Charity. The pictures would make a perfect addition to my refrigerator door that was adorned with such treasures.
My two-prized possession hang from a looped chain that is attached to a magnet on that door: pacifiers, one blue one and one pink one. The blue one was given to me by Elijah a few years back. The pink one was reluctantly given up on Charity’s second birthday. She was not forced to give it up; she did it willingly but it was difficult decision for her to make. I remember. She stood at a distance from me, covering her eyes. She knew it was her birthday; she knew she was going to give up her infancy with the passing of her prized possession to my refrigerator door and thereafter, ‘patsy’ was to become my prized possession. My thoughts were suddenly brought back to the present with the sounds of voices:
“Come on, Grama, hurry up–Open it”, Elijah said.
“Open it,” repeated Charity.
“Here,” Elijah added, reaching for the other end of the package, ripping the paper quickly off. Charity in the meantime, picked up the other package and quickly opened it for me.
“Here, Grama, here’s your present.”
Thanks honey that is a pretty cup. Why it even has my name on it: Grama. It’s a Grama cup. Elijah just finishing the unwrapping of the other present, proudly held it up for me to admire.
“Do you know what it is, Grama?”
I looked it over. It looked like a milk carton, but windows had been cut out of each side. There were also two small holes in each side. In addition, it had been painted all over with paint, different colors of paint. There was a stick that was separate but that went with it. On the top of the structure, a rope like twine was attached to it on both sides. “Hm mm,” I thought,” I wonder what this beautiful creation is?” Elijah and Charity eagerly waited for a reply. I was taking too long to guess and they were extremely anxious to tell me.
“It’s a bird feeder, Grama!” Charity exclaimed.
“You put seed in here,” Elijah explained“, and then you put the stick through here,” he continued, “And the birds come and eat the seed”.
“They come and eat the seed.” Charity echoed, smiling.
“It is beautiful”, I said, “I know just the place to hang it.” We went to the patio, hung the bird feeder, and then, came back inside to watch and wait, but no birds came.
“They’ll come”, Elijah and Charity assured me. Nevertheless, the birds did not come and Elijah and Charity went home.
A few days later, Kit, my cat, started jumping, running, and acting real crazy. She would sit at the patio door, swinging her tail back and forth, faster and faster her tail went back and forth. She was trying to get my attention so I would let her outside. I opened the blinds and saw that there was a bunch of little visitors in my backyard: birds were perched on the bird feeder on the little stick that stuck out from the side. Birds were walking on the ground, picking up the seed that their friends up above were dropping on the ground from the pretty bird feeder that Elijah and Charity made for me.
I immediately called Elijah and Charity on the telephone to tell them about the little visitors. They were not home. I left a message. Here is what I said:
“That beautiful bird feeder you gave me for my birthday has brought joy. I have lots of birds in my backyard where before there was none. The birds have been eating the seed and I keep filling it up with more seed because they are very, very, hungry. Have to go now–just wanted you to know–love you.
Oh yeah, Kit likes it too. She jumps, runs, and acts real crazy. She wants to go outside with the birds. She wants to catch them, but they fly away when they see she is coming out. Love you–Bye.”
Love Grama Trudy