“Papa, I love it!” Celeste hugs her grandfather with all her might, and for the first time in a long time, she feels loved.

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In the few days Celeste stayed with her grandfather before Christmas, she was free and feeling fabulous. Henry realizes his little girl is growing like a weed, but her face told him another story the hardship she has endured living without her mother’s care. He didn’t need to ask her how things were going, he could see clearly the sorrow seep out of her pores.  Usually, Henry was not a nosy person, but when he views his granddaughter everyone of his nerves were begging him to ask Celeste what was troubling her, and in reality he knew it was her living circumstances that was causing her stress.

When Celeste arrived he made her go take a bath and get herself pretty.  He was upset to see her long beautiful hair matted and ratted, and clothes that were too small in size for her.  After the little one bathed she immediately went to bed in the afternoon and slept the day away.  Henry went into town while Celeste slept and bought her clothing for her to wear. He picked up several pair of jeans, tops, and undergarments, along with a lovely furry jacket of rabbit fur.  When he arrived back home, he quickly wrapped the clothing for her to open on Christmas day.  

Henry was happy to have Celeste stay with him.  His home was lonely without his wife and Dovanna in his life.  There wasn’t a day that passed him by thinking what happened to his daughter in Alabama, and why no one has found her; even the private detectives he hired.  The holidays were always the worse for him until Celeste came over, and filled the home with love and life. Part of him wanted to take his granddaughter away from her father, but the other half knew he couldn’t bare to cause Celeste anymore heart ache. He was beginning to worry about her life when he overheard a man in a restaurant talk about a little girl in school he was helping to catch up with her studies.  He overheard the small book worm tell the group of people that he worried she was on train wreck between bullying and parents. Henry smiles a little when he heard the man say what a beautiful brave child the little girl was, and told the story in detail of the day she made a slingshot out of a rubber band, and shot the boys in his library from disrespecting him. He knew it was his granddaughter the man spoke about the minute he said slingshot. Henry wanted to join in with the conversation, but then it would have exposed his shame in family hood.  So he lays quiet and listens to the man’s stories about his granddaughter until the man spoke about the time he witnesses her mother slapping the half-breed in the head. 

Henry went home unable to listen to anymore of the man’s story, and sat for many hours at his kitchen’s round table till the next day worrying about his little Celeste.  The next day, Henry found himself carving a beautiful wooden slingshot for Celeste’s birthday present.  It was the best slingshot he had ever made, and knew the little girl would gladly give up the baby version of a slingshot he made her several years back.  Since he hadn’t seen Celeste on her birthday, the slingshot laid under the Blue Spruce Christmas tree him and Celeste cut down in the woods waiting for her to open it up.

It was a treat to decorate the tree together, to Henry life was perfect when Celeste was around.  It never ceases to amaze him how tickled pink she became when he pulled out the hand made ornaments his wife made with her crochet artwork of snowflakes.  His heart soars on Christmas day watching his little tornado open her gifts.

“Thank ya kindly papa for the clothes, I really like them and needed them too.” Celeste gratefully announced on Christmas day.  “This is the best day ever!” Celeste said while holding her rabbit fur coat and caressing the object with love.  Henry was happy sitting in his chair eating his favorite cookies pumpkin spice, with a cup of coffee Celeste made just for him while he observes his granddaughter’s happiness. 

“There is one more gift inside that tree for you if you look closer.”  Celeste raised her eyes with glee at her papa, and quickly took on the search for the gift. “Papa, I ain’t seeing it?” Henry smiled and said look inside the tree.   Celeste scans the branches and in no time at all finds the gift.  “Papa, I have enough gifts, ya didn’t need to be so generous.” Henry’s heart melts with her being humble and states, “This is your birthday gift, not Christmas.” The look on his granddaughters face was priceless.  A tear escapes her eye duct and before she opens the present up, she gets up off the floor and sits in Henry’s lap.  “I love ya papa, you’re the best person in my life forever and ever.” Henry feels overwhelm and chuckles out loud to her while holding up his two huge fingers in a peace sign. “You’re my peaceful baby!” Celeste smiles and opens the beautiful slingshot.  Her mouth opens wide in surprise as she examines the wooden slingshot.  She gawks to see the etching of her name on the handle.  “Papa, I love it!” Celeste hugs her grandfather with all her might, and for the first time in a long time, she feels loved. 

 

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