Poppy's Gift

Poppy's Gift

A Story by Caleb



With the old, fuzzy bristles of his goatee pressed softly against the cold metal of the weathered harmonica, the old man prepared to play a song. He gripped each end of the instrument with hands that smelled of freshly rolled tobacco and the staleness of the morning news. He then took a long, solid breath just before his lips pressed against a rectangular hole engraved with the number seven. Then, quite suddenly, a strong, raspy breath escaped from his lips and was transformed into a beautiful, low hum of gorgeous music. He closed his old, tired eyes and tapped his foot lightly as he slid his mouth rhythmically from number to number. And in this moment, as the music tingled his very bones, he forgot all of his mistakes, all of his shortcomings, all of his sins and the things that had been taken from him. In a sense, the man was whole again.



In the midst of it all, the sound of loud, thumping footsteps echoed up the stairs, and the man’s song was put to a halt. He sighed with a crooked smile as he lowered the shiny harmonica into a tan case with the words, “Marine Band” scribbled across its top in fiery red letters. He clicked the case together just as he saw a blur of brown hair that was scorched with a beautiful, red tint. The young, freckled child ran to his grandfather, smiling with two very loud gaps where his two front teeth had once been. “Poppy!”, yelled the child as he embraced the man that was his hero.



“Hey Bubby!”, greeted his Grandpa, smiling as the golden necklace of Christ dangled from his neck. The boy and his Poppy talked for quite a while when, at last, the boy had to leave. As the boy turned from the man, the man began to think of the great joy that the harmonica had given him. He thought of all the beautiful music that he had played throughout his life, music that would never be heard by anyone but himself. Just as the boy began to descend the stairs, the man yelled, “Caleb, come here, I want to give you something”. The boy ran back up the stairs and stood facing his Grandfather, waiting for a surprise that was sure to come. The man ushered the boy to his side and then tossed him a case that rattled with treasure. The boy looked puzzled, so he opened the case to find a shiny harmonica with finished wood on either side. The boy’s mouth curved into a wide, holey grin as he said the words, “A Real Harmonica!”. The man told the boy to take care of the harmonica and not to lose it. Caleb smiled one last holey grin as he said, “Thanks Poppy!”, and darted down the stairs to tell everyone of his real harmonica.



The room was suddenly quiet and no music filled the air. But the man held a firm faith that the boy would one day finish his song, and he, too, might bask in the spoils of its peace.




Years later, after the man was gone from the Earth itself, the boy was asked to write about his greatest treasure. He thought of all the things that he was fortunate enough to have in his life, and one stood out more than the rest. The boy thought of the soft rattle of the small tan box that sat on his desk and the strong, fiery words that beckoned to be read - “Marine Band”.

© 2008 Caleb

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


Oh my gosh, what a beautiful heartwarming story and so very heartfelt, Caleb ... The imagery was amazingly vivid, that I felt as though I was there ... The love you both shared was very beautiful and the memories you have will always be a part of you and the gift from your Poppy, is priceless ... You touched me deeply with this beautiful story, Caleb ... hugs

Posted 14 Years Ago

Just lovely! The intensity of the words are what makes it. I found this very moving, and not in a lifetime-channel-movie sort of way, but in a "wow". Very stirring tale, gorgeous description of the relationship between the two.


Posted 14 Years Ago

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


2 Reviews
Shelved in 1 Library
Added on July 31, 2008
Last Updated on July 31, 2008



Williamson, WV

�Twas once upon a night of which I roamed about the land until I came across a town that gleamed with ghouly beams. and I stood there upon the hill with courage at my hand, yet chains of f.. more..

Two Two

A Poem by Caleb