The Music Box Lesson
Of all gifts, gifts of the spirit are the best gifts. This was my grandmother’s final lesson for me. A lesson which took half of a life time to learn, long after she was gone. I call it the music box lesson, since in these later years I have begun giving names to life’s lessons, there now being so many to keep up with. It is the most important lesson.
As tiny it is, the little music box, which once belonged to my grandmother, can still fill a room with song and stir memories of a childhood long ago. Cradled in her arms, as she rocked me in her big rocker, I fell asleep to its sweet sound and the sweet sound of her voice as she hummed along. When I was old enough she taught me the words to its song which we would sing at the end of our long days which she said were flying by.
I was always close to my grandmother, closer than my brothers, sisters, and cousins. I was the one she rocked to sleep, the one she told Bible stories too, the one she switched when I sneaked and ate half of her German chocolate cake and then lied about it. She switched me for lying, not for eating the cake. She said she could always make another cake, but I only had one soul and I didn’t need to go blighting it with lies.
She cried after she switched me, and so did I, even though she didn’t hurt anything but my feelings. I remember listening to her music box that night and how she insisted on hold my hand as we both wiped away our tears. That was after we made another German Chocolate cake. It was for homecoming at the church. She always took me to church, every Sunday, and on Wednesday nights too.
Even in the summer when there was plenty of day light left for playing in, she would roll up in our driveway and I would climb in her big Plymouth, the one with the Batmobile tail fins. Off to church we would go.
I hated church, but I would go, mainly because my grandma wanted me to. She wouldn’t let up. Now, I Understand.
On the way home she never failed to ask me what I learned from the service. This was not easy since I spent most of the service; daydreaming, counting polka dots on Mrs. Florine’s dress, Mrs. Florine sat in front of us, or thinking about what I could be doing if I wasn’t at church.
Nevertheless, I would do my best to tell her something I learned, recounting the names I heard like Jesus, David, Adam, Mary, Daniel and the woman at the well. Then we would talk about it.
I was with her the night she passed. Out of the blue she asked me to come visit her, and things worked out that I could. It was a Saturday, and I took her to get her hair done, helping her in an out of the car, and driving the big Plymouth. Then when we got home I cooked our supper while she told me how. She was tired out she said, while from sitting the kitchen table, she step by stepped me through every detail, even the German Chocolate cake.
We listened to the music box play its little song together our last time that night, after I did the winding. She was too tired. By then we had laid out her clothes for church and sleep was calling us both.
In the night I woke to the sound of the music box, its sweet little melody spilling out of her room and down the hallway. When I woke next, the sun was coming through the window, the house was quite, there was no smell of bacon frying, or sound of singing from the kitchen, only silence. She was gone.
“This morning Heaven got another angel,” the preacher told those who filled the church for her service, all of us doing our best to hold back our tears. None could, especially me. Part of me was now gone.
“On ahead,” is how my grandmother would say it.
When her things were divided up and passed out according to her wishes I was last in line on the list she made.
My cousin got her car. It was the one I drove her in, to the doctor’s office, to the grocery store, to put flowers on my papa’s grave. I loved that old car. Another cousin got her old house, the home place, as she called it. Many were the memories I made in that house when I was growing up. It was my second home. My brother got her furniture, which I had helped her arrange and re-arrange with the change of every season. My sister got my grandmother’s jewelry which included the earrings I bought her one Christmas with my grass cutting money. Her dresses and shoes, all old-timey she donated to the clothes closet at church as she did with the money in her savings account.
In the end, all that remained of her earthly treasures was her music box, which she left to me.
My grandma’s house is gone now. A shopping center is where it stood and I played as a child. Where her old car is, the Lord only knows. We still sit on her furniture though, when we all get together for the holidays at my brother’s house and my daughter makes sure to wear the earrings I bought for my grandma. Those are happy times.
The music box still plays, as sweet as I remember. I listen to it more these days, which seem to fly by, and sing along with its sweet melody, just like my grandmother.
I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
This is a work of fiction for those who have decided to follow and Jesus and for those who haven’t, that they will. -Edward Reed 2020