My five year old was disappointed. He sat on the small elf chair at the Christmas worktable,
“Mine’s not good at all. See? All the colors are mixed up.”
“It’s beautiful, pal.” I held the clear, plastic baseball up and wondered if I could rearrange the sand. I twisted the cap, but it was hot-glued and tacky to touch, “Your dad will love it!”
“No, it isn’t good, Mom. Look at Cal’s.” He kicked his leg back and forth and picked at a glob of glittery glue on the tabletop.
Cal, my son’s cousin and best friend, sat at the workbench and poured a scoop of florescent green sand into a funnel. He chose a football instead of a baseball, and worked with elfish attention to detail.
He mapped out the design in his mind, picked his colors deliberately, and in long slow intervals added layer after layer of dyed sand. He squished his cheek on the workbench, and fixed an apprentice’s eye on the shiny specs that drained into the hourglass.
He overheard our conversation, but continued his work. He selected snowy white for the final layer and looked at us. His best buddy sat with his chin in his hand.
Cal completed his endeavor and handed the football to the silver-haired lady elf. Her apron had two red-striped pockets. She holstered candy canes in one and her hot glue gun in the other. She adhered the top of Calvin’s handiwork, “Nice job,” she chirped, “you would make a fine helper for Santa.” Calvin smiled and joined his cousin at the sticky table.