The Glass Sphere

Amethyst Rose clutched the glass sphere tightly in her hand. She had found it while digging in the garden with a popsicle stick. She rushed inside the house to wash it and her hands before dinner. Once scrubbed clean, she secreted it in the pocket of her overalls and sat down with her parents to eat dinner.

Amy stared at her plate loaded with her favorite foods. A thick slice of tender pot roast, slices of carrots, mashed potatoes with gravy, and buttered spinach. It was a wondrous array of color and flavor. She plotted her engagement with the four piles of nourishment that had been placed before her. As usual, she would try to ignore the adult conversation that her parents were having. She would fail.

Certain words caught her ear and pulled her away from her conquest of the goodies on her plate. “Sold the farm finally” bounced across the table from her father’s lips to Amy’s ears. “When do we move?” her mother crooned. “At the end of the month, before the start of school. But the two of you will go on ahead. We’ll be denizens of the beach from now on. No more digging in the dirt.”

Amy’s father flashed a smile. She found it reassuring when he smiled at her. Still, she found it disturbing that he didn’t want her to dig in the dirt. There were all sorts of wondrous things in the dirt. She patted her pocket to reassure herself that her new treasure was still there. “From now on, she’ll be digging in the sand.” Her dad winked at her. Amy smiled back and dug into her mashed potatoes.

“Ugh,” her mother griped. “Sand is worse than dirt and harder to get rid of. Luckily, she’ll be starting school soon.” Amy perked up at the word school hoping that her mother would say more about it. She would be five soon, but she already knew her ABC’s and could count well past one hundred. She knew her colors and body parts – the outside ones – and some simple science.

At the beginning of summer, Amy had watched her mother used baking soda and vinegar to clean some pots. Fascinated by the reaction the mixture created, she took a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar outside. Spying a large mound of dirt in the back yard, Amy sprinkled some baking soda into the anthill, then poured some vinegar in the hole. Angry ants swarmed out of the hole and gathered for an attack. “Well, that’s what you get for building a volcano in my backyard!”

Amy made it quite clear to the ants that she had plenty of baking soda and vinegar with which to retaliate. The ants decided that any giant that could talk to them was not to be messed with. Instead of swarming all over her, they moved as far away from the house as they could. It was that same anthill that Amy had dug into when she found the glass sphere. She was going to miss digging in the dirt and wondered if she would find treasures in the sand.

Amy’s mind drifted back to the dinner conversation. Her father was discussing his new job and how he would be able to make enough to save for a comfortable retirement and other boring adult stuff. She took her time savoring the carrots on her plate. Then after cutting up her roast beef, she started to shove everything into a crater that she had made in the mashed potatoes. By the time she was through, every forkful was an adventure on her plate. She took her time eating, taking a guess about what the next mouthful would taste like. She was still working on her edible art when her mother started to clear the table. Her parents never rushed her through a meal, nor did they make her finish. But Amy was intent on finishing this plateful of her favorite foods. And when she did, she took her empty dishes to the kitchen.

After bringing her empty milk glass to the kitchen, Amy skipped off to her bedroom to spend some time examining her new treasure. She lay on her bed and fished it out of her pocket. She held it up to the light and turned it about examining every bubble in the clear glass sphere. And when she had them all memorized, she went to her dresser, opened the bottom drawer and added it to her cache of treasures.

Amy’s treasures were housed inside a red tin box decorated with roses and other flowers arranged in bouquets. A layer of blue felt over cotton batting lined the bottom of the box. A crow’s tailfeather, a gift from a crow that Amy had befriended the summer before, lay in the center of the felt. A small piece of barbed wire that she had found just outside the neighbor’s cow pasture lay toward the hinge. The dried casing of a black walnut with the nut still attached occupied one corner. She carefully placed the glass sphere in the other corner, replaced the cotton batting that held her treasures in place, and closed the lid.

It took the Rose family a week to pack up the house for the move. She pored over the many fascinating objects that her parents unearthed from the cabinets while they decided what to keep and what to sell or donate. Amy rescued some of the items by pretending to place them in the cupboards at their beachfront house. Her parents didn’t notice that the objects had disappeared from the sell or donate boxes.

Amy made sure that no one packed her treasure chest. It sat on her lap in the back of her mother’s minivan. Her father led the way in the rented moving van. Her mother had paused for one last look at the farmhouse and sighed. “I’m going to miss that house.” Amy smiled and took out the glass sphere. She held it up to the window while her mother drove away. Once the sphere surrounded the house, Amy giggled then placed the sphere back into her treasure box.

The small beach house that they had expected to move into had been demolished by a hurricane. Their house lay on the outskirts of town, but their closest neighbor had taken care of things in the aftermath. When the Rose family arrived, they found a pile of rescued items and a trailer for them to move into while they rebuilt. Amy’s parents were up late trying to decide what to do about the house and their belongings. Amy stared out the window at the empty lot, while her parents discussed moving their old house. “If they haven’t torn it down already for the development. We could call them in the morning about it.”

Amy was up early the next morning. She was always up before her parents. She slipped out of the trailer and took a walk down the beach with the glass sphere in her pocket. When she was far enough away, she fished the glass sphere out of her pocket and held it up where the small beach house had been. She turned the little glass ball until the front door of the house inside was facing the driveway and part of the wraparound porch was facing the ocean.

Just as easily as Amy had snatched the old farmhouse, she set it free on the ground where the old beach house had stood. Smiling, she put the sphere back in her pocket and skipped back to the trailer just as her parents were waking up. She had made some subtle changes to the old farmhouse. It now had the modern kitchen that the beach house once had and functional indoor plumbing. She would have made more changes, but being a little girl, she stuck with what she knew.

How the house was moved or who made the improvements was never discussed with the neighbors, although Amy did explain it to her parents. They smiled and nodded as usual to her wild story about bringing the house with her inside a glass ball. She even showed them the sphere. Her father smiled as he examined the large clear glass marble. “I lost that shooter when I was eleven. Where ever did you find it?”

“I dug it up from the dirt.”