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by Ian Curtress

They say I was five years old when Grandmother gave it to me to play with when visiting. Grandma had taken it from her desk and gave it me on the rug.
It was magic. Nice and round and when I moved it about beautiful snow floated around I have made the snowfall on every visit since then. Almost a ritual. Thirty two years!
The last time I visited she said please keep the snowball in the family, never part with it. She had a far away look in her eyes and I wondered if she knew she was failing
Grandma passed away two months ago. I have the “snowball” but the snow doesn’t appear anymore. I have rolled it shaken it, even talked to it but it remains still and perfectly clear.

I was emptying an old box from her attic. Just old newspapers and magazines which were interesting and I found myself reading some. I realised they had a value and should be handled with care and kept.
When I reached what I thought was the box bottom I touched a cloth of some sort.
It disintegrated in my fingers but revealed a picture in a lovely carved wooden frame.
I wiped the dust off carefully and I was looking at a portrait of my very young Grandmother and with her was a handsome young man in uniform.
Not my Grandfather!
As I lifted it out I realised something was taped to the back. A letter. I felt compelled to read it out loud

My Darling Elizebeth
This will be my last letter for sometime as I think we are approaching the “Big Day” There’s not enough time to look into those eyes and read the whole story.
A story of a love not of this world. A world where all is honest, innocent and not diluted by convention. Love as we were gifted. If we were to be honest, say what we know is true. If only to ourselves a new life would open up and the mist of imitation be washed from our eyes.
There’s not enough time to feel the warmth of a smile so intoxicating it throws you off balance and yet grips you in rays of pure affection. Where, whilst in those rays, you are as one, suspended between a Blue Sky and Sea in an Angels gossamer hammock.
There’s not enough time to hear a voice which calls your name. A voice whose dulcet chords played on ethereal harps keep rhythm with your joyful heartbeat
One can but dream of having time to be embalmed with these virtues, but that is not my destiny.
I have been blessed only to have the curtain slightly raised and view what might have been……if it had been the right time…..
What a heartwarming ending it would be to know the time of ones passing. Where there would be time to speak the unsaid words to those you love.
To smile a smile which says it all. To reaffirm your everlasting commitment which will live on To join at last that which was intended.
If the worst happens we can but hope to meet in another place.
When you are sad Elizabeth, think of the wonderful weeks we enjoyed. The laughter, the plans we made, the memories. Shake our snowfall, I will hear and be with you in spirit
To say I Love You is not enough. You will understand Goodbye my Sweetheart until the end of time.
Your beloved Frederick xxx

I couldn’t wait to get to the “snowball”. Almost dropping it in my haste, I shook it very gently. I felt like an intruder as I watched with misty eyes …….
The brightest snowfall I had ever seen.