1903-“What’s your story, child?” The old man was in a wheelchair. His name sounded like Christmas.
“My story?”
“Everyone has a story,” Mr. Chrisman said.
Kit was the only survivor of a house fire. His father sent him outside and returned for his pregnant wife. They never made it to the stairs, suffocating in the smoke. When Kit saw them, they looked like they were asleep.
“What’s your story?”
The old man gave a wide, toothless grin. “Well, my wife died and there was no one to care for me.”
They became friends. Kit pushed Mr. Chrisman around the grounds in his wheelchair so he could socialize with other residents. The nurses allowed this because it kept them both occupied and out of their hair. One day, Mr. Chrisman showed Kit a little snuff box.
“I have a treasure,” he said, opening the box. Inside was a bullet. “I should have died back in ’63. Gettysburg. But I had my prayer book in my jacket and it missed my heart. I don’t want it thrown away when I’m gone.”
Kit pulled out a marble his father found on the street. He placed the marble in the box with Mr. Chrisman’s bullet. Kit used his spoon to bury the snuff box, near the old oak tree.
Kit did not have a prayer book to save him from the bullet that entered his heart at Belleau Wood.
2013-The Home needed to come down. Between ghosthunters and teenagers, it was a lawsuit waiting to happen. A worker saw a glint in the dirt near the oak tree where the backhoe dug. “Stop!” he called out. He picked up a snuff box and brushed off the dirt. Inside were a bullet and a ball bearing. Junk. He tossed them in the rubbish pile. The snuff box, though, might be worth something.