Chris is meeting this grandmother and grandfather, Al and Sarah, for the first time. This is also the first time he’s flown all the way from Hawai‘i to the Midwest.
The family parks in the driveway, and before Chris’s father can ring the doorbell, the door opens wide, and an elderly man and woman, both smiling broadly, reach out their arms to hug everyone.
“So this is Chris!” exclaims Sarah, bending down and smothering him in her bosom.
When she finally lets Chris up for air, Al sticks out a big hand. “Good to meet you finally, young man,” he says. Chris’s little hand disappears in the handshake.
“Come on in,” says Sarah, “we were just sitting down to breakfast.”
They all head into the dining room.
“Chris,” says Al, “you come sit right here next to me.”
Chris does so.
“Dig in folks,” says Sarah.
Plates of toast, bacon, ham, eggs, and a variety of fruits and cheeses begin to travel around the table.
“Would you like a boiled egg?” Al asks Chris.
Chris sees the fried eggs making the rounds. “Not those?” he asks.
“Well,” says Al, “you can have those, too. But I want to give you a hard-boiled egg.”
“Okay,” says Chris. He likes eggs cooked every way, so this will be a double treat.
“How about this one?” suggests Al, picking one out of a bowl of half-a-dozen. “Yes, this one is a good one.”
They all look alike. “Okay,” says Chris. He’s expecting Al to pass it to him. Al does not.
Instead, reaching over to a side table, Al grabs a pen.
“Here we go,” he says to Chris. “I’m going to take this pen and draw a line around the egg, like so.”
Very carefully, the elderly man draws a black line around the middle of the egg.
“Now,” he continues, “I need to know how to spell your name.”
Chris spells it out. Each time he says a letter, Al repeats it as he writes in on the line. When Chris has spelled his whole name, Al has written it along the line.
Putting down the pen, Al says, “Now here’s what I’m going to do. You see the ceiling up there?” He points at the ceiling.
Chris looks up, nods.
“Take a good, long, look at it,” says Al.
Chris continues to examine the ceiling.
“What would you say it’s made out of?” asks Al. “Take a real good look.”
Chris stares at the ceiling thoughtfully. “Maybe wood?”
“That’s right,” says Al. “It’s wood. Would you say it’s pretty hard?”
Chris keeps up his serious perusal. “Yes. I think it must be real hard.”
“Good,” says Al. “It is. It’s very hard. It’s so hard, that I’m going to toss this egg in the air, have it hit the ceiling, and that hard wood is going to crack the egg right along the line I drew with your name on it.”
Chris stops looking at the ceiling and stares at Al. “Really? You can do that?”
“Oh yes I can,” says Al. “Just watch.”
And with that, he tosses the egg in the air. It doesn’t hit the ceiling hard, but there is a soft thud. Then the egg falls back, landing in Al’s open hand.
“There you go,” says Al, handing the egg to Chris.
Chris stares at the egg in disbelief. The line is perfectly cracked all the way around. Chris’s mouth hangs open.
For some reason, everyone is laughing.
“Whoa!” exclaims Chris. “How did you do that?”
Everyone continues laughing.
“It’s magic,” says Al.
“Do it again,” says Chris.
“Oh, not this morning,” says Al. “Doing magic makes me very tired. But maybe I can do it again tomorrow morning.”
“Oh,” says Chris, “get lots of sleep tonight. I can hardly wait.”
And still, Chris is not sure why, everyone keeps on laughing.