Lies My Father Told Me  

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Chapter XVIII

   Outside Uncle Benny's house the children are
jumping from a balcony into a huge pile of snow
   I am frightened. But I finally jump. Down, down,
down, I fall. The soft snow covers me.
   I emerge from the snow triumphant, and start to
run up the stairs again.

   But here are my father and Benny approaching.
   I run toward them excitedly. "Did you come to
take me home?"
   "Not yet. In a few days."
   "But Grandpa will be worried. I told him I'd be
home last Saturday. And I'm worried about Ferdeleh.
Is Mamma giving him enough water? He gets very
   "Mama is taking care of him."
   "When is Grandpa going to be better? When am
I going home?"
   "I'll be taking you home in a few days."
   "Why can't I go home today? I have to get
Ferdeleh ready. Grandpa is going to be very disap-
pointed. Please take me home today!"
   "I'll take you home in a few days. . . . Here!
Grandpa told me to give you this." Papa takes the
glass snowstorm paperweight from his pocket, but
first he shows it to Uncle Benny, ignoring me.
   "The old man probably paid a nickel for it. It could
be an antique. If it is, it could be worth forty, fifty
dollars." I study the swirling snows again, the little
white horse and sled, and Grandpa and Ferdelah are
with me for a moment.
   I place the snowstorm in my pocket. Harry and
Benny have gone into the house. I go to take my turn
on the balcony, and jump, down, down, down into
the snow.

   Benny and his maternal-looking wife. Auntie
Bertha, are seated at the table with Harry. For a long
time they are silent. Bertha sighs.
   Harry takes a deep breath, feeling that enough time
has elapsed to bring up the subject he wants to dis-
cuss with Benny. He takes out another glass paper-
weight and places it on the table.
   Benny stares at it.
   Harry points proudly to the object on the table.
   "Do you know what this is?"
   Benny and Bertha stare at each other.
   Harry turns the object as he talks, so Benny can
get a better look. "I found it among the old man's
junk. He probably paid a quarter for it. If it's a real
antique, it could be worth a hundred dollars, at least."
   Bertha is embarrassed. There is a long and awk-
ward pause.
   "Let's talk about it another time," says Benny.
   "Okay, but there's a fortune in antiques. I
checked. This really couldn't miss."
    I enter the room, interrupting the silence. "When
are you gong to take me home?"
   "Soon. Soon. When Grandpa gets better."
   And for once I am willing to believe.


Chapter XIX