It was the doctor who had come to see Grandma several days ago, and had been there several times since. His wife came with him, which I thought was kind of unusual. I wondered why he was there, since Grandma had already died. His wife was carrying a big dish that she handed to my Ma. She told Ma to just put it in the oven and heat it up whenever we were hungry.
Doc's wife then hugged my Grandda and told him how sorry she was, and asked could she do anything to help out. He just shook his head and said, "No, thanks anyway. Thank you for the food. It was right kind of you."
"Don't mention it, Shane. She's done the same for us, many's the time. Now, if you'ns need anything, jist call us, okay? We're jist a stone's throw away."
The Doc disappeared into the bedroom with Grandda, and came back out in a few minutes, shook Grandda's hand, patted him on the back, and said he'd be sending out Hanson's shortly.
"Who's Hanson?" I asked Grandda.
"He runs the funeral home, Zeb. He'll come out and pick up your Grandma's body." He began blowing his nose, and wiping his eyes again. I knew from his eyes that he had already spent a lot of time weeping for his Martha Rose. My eyes teared up in empathy for him. I was sad, too, that I hadn't been able to talk to her more about Jesus. Her time with us was so short after we got there, but I knew I had done all I could.
"Get your brother and sisters, Zeb, so we can go out to the barn. I have something to show you all."
I wondered what that could be. By this time, Marie had gotten up, too, and was sitting in Ma's lap in the kitchen. I knew she must be wondering what all was going on. Ma was whispering quietly to her, but there was no way of knowing what Marie was thinking.
"Come on, Marie," I told her, "Grandda has something to show us out in the barn. OH! And it snowed again last night, and I'll bet Ma can make us some snow cream today! Let's get our coats and boots on. Here's your cap to keep your ears warm." I knelt beside her and slipped her toboggan on her head. I wondered what it was we were going to see.
Pretty soon, we were all bundled up and trooping out to the barn, even Rosie looked interested. I was wondering how she felt about Grandma, but decided to wait till she was ready to talk about it.
When we got to the barn, we went in and waited while Grandda lit the lantern and set it up on a shelf. It was a kind of eerie light in the dark barn interior, and I don't think I'll ever forget that Christmas morning.
I thought about the story I had read the night before about Jesus being born in a stable. It probably didn't even have a lantern to light the inside of it. Instead, His was the light that would change the world.
Grandda walked over to a cupboard that rested against one wall, and opened the upper doors on it.
(To be continued)