Fields of Laughter

The sun was warm on the sombre faces of ten-year-old twins, Holly and Steve. Their legs swung carelessly over the edge of the old rustic fence. Aunt Mary shuffled past with her black veil held tightly against her chin, barely noticing the children.

Steve’s voice was solemn and quiet. ‘Holly, do you remember last summer when Grandpa fell into the river trying to reel in that big trout?’

Holly laughed unexpectedly. ‘Yes, my sides hurt from laughing while he was explaining to Mother how he got so wet.’

Uncle Peter hurried past with his weeping wife and two protesting young children tagging along behind. He glared at Holly and shook his head in disgust before hurrying up the drive. Steve and Holly tried to stifle their giggles as they watched the small family group approach the house.

Holly laughed again as she remembered. ‘We never did get to eat fish for tea that night.’

‘Hello Holly. Hello Steve.’

The twins smiled and waved back to their cousin Gerald. His father grumbled and prodded Gerald in the direction of the house.

Quite a few relatives lived nearby and sometimes they walked the short distances between the farms and their community church but visits weren’t common. They were all busy with their own lives, their own farms.

Holly frowned. ‘Do you think Grandpa ever found out I was the one who hid his tobacco?’

Steve grinned at his sister. ‘Probably, he always said he had eyes in the back of his head.’ He threw his head back and snorted, almost losing his balance in the process and sending them both into fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Mr Snyder, the owner of the farm that adjoined theirs, drove his rattling pickup truck in the direction of the open gate and stopped almost directly in front of Steve. ‘You children should have more respect for the dead. For pity sake, I can hear you from my front door.’ With that, he accelerated toward the grass area where other vehicles were parked haphazardly under trees.

The twins were silent for a few moments before Steve spoke again. ‘I don’t think Grandpa ever liked Mr Snyder.’

Holly smiled, trying to smother another giggle. ‘Remember when Mr Snyder let our cows out of the back field and Grandpa chased him with his shot gun?’

‘Yes, that was funny, especially since Grandpa had forgotten to buckle his trouser belt before leaving the outhouse.’

The twins were continuing their banter when they noticed their father strolling up from the barn toward them. Work still needed to be done, even if Grandpa’s funeral had been held earlier that morning.

‘Hey you two. What’s the joke?’

‘Holly and I were talking about Grandpa. Sorry Dad.’

‘Dad, why is everyone mad at us?’ Holly asked sadly.

‘Because, my sweet child, no one knew Grandpa like you both did…and like I did, for that matter. Even your mother could tell you a story or two.’ He leaned up against the fence between the twins and nodded in the direction of the house. ‘Not one of these guests will miss Grandpa after today.’

‘They didn’t really know him.’ Steve said this more as a statement than a question.

‘No Son, they didn’t.’

‘That’s sad’, Holly concluded.

Their father looked up and scanned the fields.

The children turned their heads to follow his gaze.

‘I remember when I was about your age,’ he began. ‘Your Grandpa worked the farm completely on his own. One day, Mr Snyder let his cows into our corn field. Your grandfather decided from that day on, he would get revenge. It was never anything serious. They both got over it soon enough. Grandpa’s funny antics were really something to witness.’ He finished with a short, choked laugh and wiped his hand across his eyes.

Holly and Steve jumped down from the fence and walked hand-in-hand with their father back through the gate. The trio didn’t enter the house full of mourners. Instead, they headed for the corn field which was now ready for harvest, and then on to the fields beyond. Their laughter echoed across the farm.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

“Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are…”

Darkness had become Emma’s life since the accident. The impact had left her permanently blind. The loss of her only child was the greatest burden to bear. Nothing would console her aching heart. No one could help relieve her pain. Not even James, who had sat by her bed through all the weeks of recovery, could comfort her.

True, it was not her fault. Emma had pulled to a stop at the intersection when the lights had changed from amber to red. She could still hear three-year-old Kate singing her favourite nursery rhyme from her child safety seat in the back of the family car. The truck had come through the red-light opposite and swerved to miss a motorcycle. The truck had lost control and veered directly into Emma’s car, slamming it into the car behind. The collision had also crushed her car into a van parked beside her, near the kerb.

There wasn’t much she could remember of the accident itself, except for the melody of her child’s song resounding in her ears. Emma hadn’t even been aware her sweet young daughter had been laid to rest until she awoke from her coma three weeks later. It had been the same distressing morning she had discovered she would never again, gaze into the eyes of her beloved husband. Her heart ached so much she thought she would die.
It must have worried James to see her this way. Even after weeks of counseling and rehabilitation, she never smiled. One Sunday after the sermon, her mother led her to the Sunday School hall where coffee was being served. James told Emma he needed to speak to their pastor and it was some time before he returned to take her home.

The following morning James stayed home a little later than usual.

‘I’m waiting for a delivery,’ he explained to Emma over breakfast.

Emma heard the doorbell first and edged her way to the front door, using her cane along the walls to guide her. James came to her side, and with an arm around her waist, he directed her to the front door.

‘It’s here. Where do you want us to put it?’

Emma didn’t recognize the cheerful voice. She assumed it was a just a delivery man. James led her to a chair in the lounge room so she would not be in harm’s way. James kissed her briefly, preventing her from asking any questions. ‘Wait here a moment, honey.’

‘This way!’ James called.

Emma could hear furniture being dragged across the carpeted floor. Muffled sounds came closer as James gave directions into the room. It was obviously no small package.
Excitement crept into Emma’s emotions. ‘What is it James? Please tell me.’

A few moments later, James thanked the delivery men and closed the front door.

‘James?’

Without answering, James led Emma across the room to a long, flat stool and gently pulled her down to sit beside him. He reached for her hands and placed them gently on the keyboard. Her hands drew back.

‘A piano?’ Emma was puzzled.

‘Play for me?’ he asked softly.

‘But how can I see what I’m playing?’

James helped her adjust the stool so she could comfortably reach the keys. Gently lifting one of her hands, he helped her strike the keys. They both laughed and together they played a melody using two fingers. The words came easily.

“Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are…”

Emma began to cry and hugged her husband closely. She knew he had been conscious of her the pain. It would be the foundation of her healing; a healing of the heart.

Emma continues to play her piano. She is a songwriter and sings at their family church.

A new melody echoes in her heart. A melody of God’s grace and love.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

[Author of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star: Unknown… Public domain]

Archived in
Christian Reads by Chrissy at Riverside Peace