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Essay: Eating an Orange

I’m scraping the inside of an orange, not because there’s much pulp left but because my grandfather used to scrape his orange clean—each half like a little bowl with a white interior.  Suddenly he’s here with me at the table, sitting back in his chair to drink down the rest of his coffee, nodding at my glass of milk.

When I finish the milk we will color together.  In the basement, Grandpa paints beautiful landscapes of Scotland with tubes of oil paint and camel hair brushes.  But here at the dining room table, he doesn’t seem to mind coloring in my Red Ryder coloring book.  He takes the picture on right and I take the one on the left.

When he starts coloring the mountains with a red crayon, I tell him to use the purple one.  Then he shows me how to blend red and blue together to make a deeper purple with different shades and textures.  He’s not in a hurry and moves his crayons slowly, slowly, humming a little tune.

All these years later, I can see the galloping horse he colored in my book—the lovely blended colors.  And I think how it’s not the big things—expensive gifts or fancy trips—but these small shared experiences that still nourish me.

What will my granddaughters remember?