© 2008 Candance
and stopped hopping. He hadn’t known his granddad was behind him.
“Where’s Albert at?” Granddad asked, as he began stacking the wood.
Jimmy’s smile disappeared. “I don’t know and I don’t care. Ever since we’ve got here,
all he’s done is talk about the stuff he’s such an expert on. Rocks and maps and falling stars.”
Granddad stopped stacking. “It
doesn’t sound like you’re having too good of a time.”
“That’s for sure.” Jimmy sat down on a big log close by and loosened his shoe to give his hurt toe
some breathing room. “This is about the worst summer ever.”
Granddad sat beside Jimmy.
“I did what you said, Granddad. I prayed to God to help me out this summer. But He really let me down.”
Granddad nodded. He stood stiffly and walked back to the woodpile. He carefully laid one log upon the other.
“Sometimes it’s not easy to be happy with God,” said Granddad. “Even for grownups. When your
grandma’s cancer kept getting worse no matter how much I prayed, I was angry at God.”
“Not you, Granddad!” Jimmy frowned. “You go to mass every day, and you’re always taking flowers
to the sick people. Aren’t those things you do because you love God?”
“I only started growing the flowers as a favor for your grandma," said Granddad. "She loved gardening—especially
the flowers. She was always trying to get me interested, but I never helped her until she got sick.
While I gardened,
I prayed. I asked God to make Grandma well again so she could be with me."
“God didn’t listen to you either, did he?” said Jimmy. He walked back to the woodpile.
Granddad sighed. Jimmy laid his hand on Granddad’s shoulder. A pair of turtledoves fluttered onto a nearby branch.
The pair snuggled close. Their soft coo’s awakened a memory for Jimmy. He pictured his granddad and grandma holding
hands as Grandma lay resting in her hospital bed.
on his granddad’s sleeve. “Don’t you remember that time in the hospital when you brought Grandma a bunch
of flowers from the garden? She was so happy to see all her beautiful homegrown flowers. Especially one big white rose. She
said it was her favorite.”
Granddad paused. He nodded. “It
was a peace rose."
"Yeah!” Jimmy agreed. “And Grandma said, ‘God has finally answered my prayers. He’s made you
into a gardener after all!’”
In a soft voice he said, “And now when I’m in the garden, I feel Grandma Beth is right there beside me.”
Jimmy clapped his hands together. “There! Don’t you see? God was listening.” He helped Granddad to
his feet. “I think I understand it now. God plays like he’s in the big league.”
“You think so?” Grandpa’s
eyebrows arched up.
“Yeah.” Jimmy grinned.
“Sometimes God throws us a curveball just when we were expecting a fast ball.”
on his baseball cap brim as the words to the hymn floated into his head again. Rejoice
in the Lord always… He breathed in the fresh forest air as a joyful peace
spread through him. He fell into step with his granddad.
you think maybe Albert might be one of God’s curveballs?”
his arm around Jimmy. “Might be.”
said Jimmy, taking a deep breath. “I’m ready to take a swing at one of God’s big league pitches. I’m
going to find Albert. He told me if I helped him hunt for rocks he might play catch with me.”
fun,” said Granddad.
He pulled a baseball out of his pocket. “Yeah, maybe. Curveballs and all.”