A Stirling** Gift

When Granddad called to say he was bringing a gift that needed assembly, I cringed.  “Assembly Required”  from a grandparent generally means a large toy is about to arrive; a toy which children will love but which I will have to vacuum around. 

When he walked up carrying only his keys and a small package, I breathed a sigh of relief.  Small package = small toy = happy mama.  Un-wrappng time came and with it the true meaning of “assembly required” revealed itself.  A hundred or so tiny pieces littered the dining table.  There was talk of special tools and a “couple hours.”  Excited children bounced here and there examining shiny bits and baubles. “What’s this?!” “What does that do?!” “Can I help?!”

I shook my head and quietly excused myself from the room.  I could see the inevitable end … a beautiful gift ruined for lack of a single lost piece and I needed time alone for determining how best to soothe the impending disappointment.  Also, I couldn’t stand to watch the drama unfold.

But, I was wrong.  Delightfully, wrong.

Granddad had judged these children better than I.  And the finished product which they all built together is almost as impressive as the memories they’ll keep of an afternoon with Granddad.



**The toy Granddad brought was a model Stirling Engine.  It runs off the heat generated from an ethyl alcohol flame and makes a lovely put-put sound as it does so.