Volume 21, Number 1

Anything You Want

Leanne Ryan

The thin pink paper crackled as the gray-haired woman slid it off the present on her lap. "Weighty for such a little box. Feels like something of substance." She looked up and smiled at her granddaughter, teasing her with the delay.

"Hurry up, Grandma, open it!"

With a sly wink at the girl's mother, she shook her head in mock consternation, "A teenager for one week, and already giving orders."

The girl linked her hands behind her neck, under her wild, frizzed, ash blond hair, and, pressing her head against them, she exhaled with frustration. "Ahh, Grandma. You're driving me crazy!"


"Well, she is, Mom."

"You're right, Samantha. Too much of me, and you could go crazy. Why, just look at your mother."

The girl's eyes went wide, and she covered her cheeks with her hands, checking out her mother's reaction, before joining in the laughter.

Then with one deft movement the old woman opened the box, her face immediately brightening with recognition. "Oh my goodness. Moonstone." She reached in, freeing a small glass bowl and gently domed lid from the tissue. "I can't believe it! A puff box. I've looked and looked for one of these." She fit the two opalescent pieces together, admiring the play of light on the hobnailed surfaces.

The girl and her mother exchanged smiles over the older woman's head.

Then, with a piece of glass in each hand, she rose and pulled her granddaughter and daughter into an embrace, "It's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful." She released them and moved toward the elegant curved-glass china cabinet across the room. "Did I ever tell you how I missed getting one of these in 1973?"

The girl rolled her eyes behind her grandmother's back and got a stern warning look from her mother, who answered, "Yes, Mother, you've told us."

"Well, I wanted it so bad, but we didn't have the money. Three dollars was all it was, but I didn't have three dollars to my name."

"I know, Mother, you've told us that story."

"We'll just make a little room in here," she said as she carefully moved pieces of the same milky white glass closer together. She used the handle of a miniature slender pitcher with a delicate pour spout to slide it nearer a plate. "You know, I found this little creamer just after your mother was born, Samantha. It was the winter of 1975, and we were in Minnesota for Christmas. Her little cheeks were scarlet with the cold. I only slipped into that shop to get warm, but found my first little treasure there." She then lovingly touched the rim of a fat round piece, without moving it. "And this sweet little bowl. It's from our trip to Canada." She then placed the puff box in the space that she had created. She closed the door and admired the new arrangement. "I found them all, one by one, each with its own story." She turned to face them, "But I never saw another puff box. Not one. Where on earth did you find it?"

"Samantha found it."

"You, Samantha? You found it?

"I did, Grandma. I'll show you." She slipped her iPhone open, her fingers tapping and sliding as she concentrated on the tiny screen. Finally, in triumph, she sidled up next to her grandmother to share her discovery. "Look, Grandma." And there, on the elegant little instrument, was a column of tiny pictures of Hocking Moonstone. Glasses, cups, plates, vases. As the girl swiped the little screen, more and more came into view, a seemingly endless array.

The old woman stared in disbelief, her shoulders sagging and, finally, her eyes straying toward her little collection.

"Anything you want, Grandma, I can get you anything you want."