One day last week, Rilla came to me with a matter of great urgency: she needed help wrapping the presents she had made for her brothers and sisters. She led me to her closet, where we keep a large storage bin full of her art supplies. “I buried them,” she said, “so the surprise wouldn’t be spoiled.”
Beneath the bucket of crayons, the sheaf of construction paper, the tin of Prismacolors: a set of toilet paper tubes, somewhat squished, each painstakingly colored in bright Crayola. Toilet paper tubes. Colored by hand. Beaming, she gave a little hop of joy.
“Do you think they’ll like them?”
“Oh sweetie, I think they’re going to love them.”
They did. Huck’s squeal was of genuine glee. Wonderboy too. The big sisters grinned, giggled, melted.
Somehow I think I got the best present of all.
“He felt he had no choice but to side with the pencils.”
This Day Last Year
Ann’s River Stones