While this isn't a "True Story"... it could be. I just wanted to write something tonight that made me feel good. I wanted to create a "mood", one that I have experienced. This story is it. I hope you feel the mood when you read it, and I hope that makes you feel as good as I did writing it.
The fire crackled, snapped, and sparked…fires do that you know. The fire was dying down now…most of the warmth came from the soft embrace of her Dad’s arms and the jacket he had covered her with. She had her mother nestled up against her other side, with her brother snoring gently on her shoulder.
She pointed up at the stars again.
“But Daddy, I don’t see a Hunter up there.”
He smiled down at her.
“Neither do I. The Astronomers and Ancient People (she interrupted him)…”
“Ancient? You mean like Pop-Pop and Nanny?”
He could hear his wife burying her laughter in the soft form of their sleeping son.
“No. No. Honey. Pop-Pop and Nanny are just old. Ancient is a long long long time ago. So long ago that we don’t know much about them except some of the stories they told. They used to look at the Stars a lot - we know that because the stories told back then say they saw a Hunter named “Orion” in the pattern those stars made.”
She scrunched up her nose. At six years of age, Constellations, and their names and shapes, were still a bit beyond her. But…she liked looking at the Stars with her Dad and Mom. She liked being allowed to stay awake when it got dark. Especially when Timmy had to go to bed early. Timmy was four, and her little brother. She was glad he was sleeping on Mommy’s lap- she had Dad and Mom to herself.
Just then a meteor went by. A bright one with a long tail.
“Dad! A shooting star! Make a wish.”
“A wish? Where did you hear that?”
“Macy…she is in second grade and she knows everything. (He smiled over at his wife- who quietly twinkled her laughter through her eyes.) She said when you see a Shooting Star, you have to make a wish - and it will come true.”
“What did you wish for?”
“I wished I could stay up all night and count the stars.”
He looked over at his wife. She nodded.
“Okay, Honey. Just tonight, you can stay up all night.”
He could feel the shiver of joy ripple through her tiny body. She leaned back against his chest and pointed to another star.
“Daddy, how come that one isn’t twinkling?”
“Because that isn’t a star honey, it is a Planet. Like Earth, but far far away. It is called “Venus.”
“Are their people on that Planet too?”
“No Honey. We don’t know if other planets have people on them.”
“I bet they do. I mean look at all those stars. Some of them have to have people. I bet there are people around a campfire looking up at the sky too.”
Her Mother chirped up for the first time.
“I hope so. That would be lovely.”
The silence was comfortable. The fire was dying down to a flicker and some red embers. A sleepy voice rose up in the cool mountain air.
“Daddy…do you think those other people have enough marshmallows?’
His wife squeezed his hand, snuggling a bit closer to him. Both of them had shiny eyes.
“I am sure they do Honey. If they have a campfire, then they must have marshmallows.”
Even through his jacket he could feel her head nod.
A small ember crackled, popped, and then settled back down.
Two small children lay sleeping on their Mom and Dad’s laps. Two grown children- one now a Mom, one now a Dad, sat propped up by a big log, leaning back against it as their children slept wrapped in the fleece blankets draped over them.
They looked up at the sky. A shooting star went by.
They turned their heads towards each other, smiles as bright as any star echoed on each others face. The knew what they wished for…that this night would never end.
The night drew closer around them, but they were in no hurry to move into the tent. Careful not to disturb his daughter, the man put a small log on the fire. His wife shuffled her sleeping son into a more comfortable spot and leaned back against her husband. One arm of his snuck free to pull her closer.
Another ember sparked as the log caught fire.
A shooting star went by a little later, without disturbing the quiet or the sleeping children.
The campfire gave a soft glow, a little warmth, and just the right tone to their feelings.
Another ember popped…some sparks flew…the quiet returned.
A small bag of marshmallows sat on the log…waiting for the next night.