by Dale E. Lehman

Leaves crunched beneath Samantha’s feet as she pulled grandfather across autumn-dim grass toward the farmhouse where, Grandpa said, he’d grown up, raised his children, and lived until Grandma died and he couldn’t stay anymore.

With each step she kicked a storm of leaves for the cool wind to whisk away.

A great oak overspread the lawn and cloaked the farmhouse in mystery. Samantha liked mystery. It broke her out in tingling goosebumps.

“You never knew Grandma,” Grandpa said in his reedy voice. “She died before you were born.”

“Is she in heaven now?” Samantha’s wondering eyes lifted to the cloud of yellowing leaves.

Grandpa looked, too. “If heaven looks like that.”

“It must!”

“That’s her headstone, you see.”

“Is she in the tree, Grandpa? Is the tree her?”

Grandpa patted Samantha’s head and clumped up the steps onto the porch. His hand touched the old door, stroked it for a moment, then pulled.

Samantha’s nose wrinkled at the ancient smells from within. Grandpa tugged her hand and they entered.

For a moment all was dark, then light grew and old smells gave way to aromas of turkey and stuffing and sweet potatoes and fresh baked pumpkin pie. Samantha heard a cry of joy as old as the world, and Grandpa nudged her forward into a pair of pale, shimmering arms that surrounded her and filled her with the warmth of their love.

“Oh my child!” Grandma said, tears in her eyes. “Now I truly am in heaven!”


© October 2016 By Dale E. Lehman.  All rights reserved.  You may share links to this web page, but otherwise copying and redistribution of page content by any method for any purpose without written consent of the author is prohibited.