Looking for Elves

“So where are my favorite grandchildren?” a voice said from the hall.

Jenny jumped off her bed.  “Grandma!” she said.  She put her book down and rushed out into the hall.

Flora wandered in from the living room, a hand on her hip.  “Grandma, we’re your only grandchildren.  Well, at least until Aunt Mindy’s baby is born.  Then what will you say?”

Sally toddled in behind Flora.  “Gamma!”  Her hands were raised up, making grabby motions.

Grandma scooped Sally up and set her on a hip.  “Well, then I’ll have one more favorite, won’t I?” she said.  “Now, who wants to go on a drive?”

Dad peeked around the doorway from the living room.  “So where are you going today?”

“Looking for elves,” Grandma said.

“Yay!” Sally said.  She waved her hands in the air.

“Oh, of course,” Dad said.  “Be home in time for dinner.”  He ducked back out of the hallway.

“Shall we go?” Grandma asked.

Soon, they were all buckled into grandma’s old car.  The seats were worn and warm, and there was enough room for everyone to have a window to look out.  That was important for these trips.

When they went looking for elves, it never really meant looking for elves.  It meant they were going to drive around looking for whatever was interesting without having a particular destination in mind.  It was a chance to laugh and talk and sing and look.  They all loved these trips with Grandma.

Once, they saw a giant metal dinosaur statue in a cornfield.  It looked like a dinosaur skeleton, towering over a metal stick figure caveman.  Jenny had no idea what it was doing there, in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere.  But it was amazing, and she hoped they’d see it again someday.

Flora still talks about the drive where they were able to stay out late enough to see the fireflies.  They’d driven through a grove of trees that was dense and dark.  The little blinking sparks of light were like seeing magic made visible.  Flora was always asking for late night drives now.

Sure enough, once they were out on the road, it was the first thing Flora asked.  “Grandma, can we stay out a little late and see the fireflies?”

“Your dad said we needed to be home in time for dinner,” Grandma said.

“If we had dinner while we’re out, we could stay out later,” Flora said.

“Hmmmm,” Grandma said.  Flora sat back with a sigh.  Grandma would think about it, probably, but she wouldn’t say anything more about it for right now.

“Fowers,” Sally said.  Last week, they’d seen a house with a flower garden on the roof.  Sally had seen it first, and spent the rest of the drive exclaiming about the “fower woof.”  Sally loved flowers, maybe a little too much.  If they kept them all on the roof at home, they’d probably last a little longer.

Jenny looked out the window.  The meadows were full of white and yellow and purple flowers right now.  It was really pretty.  Jenny sighed.  She hoped they’d see the dinosaur again soon.

Just then, Grandma stopped the car.  They all lurched forward as the car jerked to a stop.  Frozen in surprise, they looked through the windshield and watched a tiny person, less than a foot tall, cross the road in front of the car.  No one spoke as the tiny person disappeared into a bush covered in little purple flowers at the side of the road.  No one said anything for several minutes afterward, either.

“Was that an elf?” Jenny asked.

“I think so,” Grandma said.

“Ewf,” Sally said and waved her arms.

“Does that mean no more drives?” Flora asked.  Sally stopped waving her arms.  No one said anything.

“We could always look for unicorns,” Jenny said.

“That’s a great idea,” Grandma said.  “We’ll have to look all over.  You never know where one could be hiding.”  She started driving again and Sally cheered.

“I’ll look out this window,” Flora said.

“I’ll look out this one,” Jenny said.  And they were off, on their first trip looking for unicorns.