Mrs. MacFallon sat slumped in her couch
staring at her husband, who was asleep in his chair in front of the
fire. She was tired too, but couldn’t move. Her mind wandered to earlier
in the day and a tear ran down her cheek. It had been one of the most
wonderful days of her life. Her whole family had been together - sons,
daughters and grandchildren.
It was about 9:00 A.M.
and Mrs. MacFallon was scrubbing a big, black kettle in the sink. Mr.
MacFallon was out tending to the sheep. She was thinking about how
peaceful it was and how much she loved living in the glen. There was no
traffic, no noise at all. Suddenly the door burst open. Their daughter,
Gweneth stood, as her four children, Bridget, Isabel, Torin, and Cedric,
ran into the house. "Gran, we’ve come to visit," Torin shouted as he
grabbed her leg.
"My, oh my, what a
surprise!" Mrs. MacFallon said.
"Happy Anniversary, Gran!"
wee Cedric grinned, barely able to say the words correctly.
"Why, thank you, Cedric,"
she smiled, patting him on the head. After he’d finished squeezing her
leg, Torin took Cedric’s hand and led him into the living room.
"Happy Anniversary, Mum,"
Gweneth said, kissing her on the cheek. "I’ve got to back into town and
pick up Alexander. I’ll just leave the children here and be back soon,"
she said, rushing back to her car and driving off.
Mrs. MacFallon stood with
her mouth agape, but not for long. Soon the squeals and shouts of the
children caught her attention. "Now children, stop fighting. Go outside
and find your granddad. He’s with the sheep," she urged. The four
children went off to find him.
Mrs. MacFallon wiped the
black kettle dry and put it under the sink. She swept the kitchen floor
and had just put the broom away when the back door suddenly burst open.
There stood her son Jamie, his wife Catriona, and their six children,
Ashley, Amber, Alicia, Andrew, Adam, and Aidan. "Go in kids," Jamie
said, pushing his way inside. "Hi, Mum!"
She stood there watching
the string of children rushing into the kitchen and then into the living
room. "Hello, Jamie and Catriona."
shouted Adam, smiling a huge grin.
"Thank you," she said to
her grandson, surprised that so many were in her home.
"Mum," Jamie said, "Catriona
and I are going to town for a while. We’ll pick up some food. We’ll
leave the kids here with their gran, as they love to be with you and
granddad." They shut the door and ran to their car, before she could say
a word, leaving her with ten children to watch.
She heard them running
about in the house and went into the living. "Children, go outside and
find your granddad. He’s with the lambs," she called. The children ran
out the front door into the hills to look for him.
Mrs. MacFallon sat in her
chair. She hoped that Jamie and Gweneth wouldn’t be too long. What was
she to do with ten children? She walked over to the window and looked
outside. Andrew was chasing a chicken around the garden. Ashley and
Isabel were picking flowers from her flowerbeds. Each held a bouquet of
light purple and yellow iris, bright red tulips, and sunny yellow
daffodils. She was just about to go and speak to them about picking her
flowers when the back door burst open once more. "Thank goodness," she
thought, hoping it was Jamie and Catriona.
"Hi, Gran," shouted
Bonnie. "Happy Anniversary!"
Behind her came her
brothers, Kenneth, Ryan, Douglas, and baby Keith. "Oh, Mum," said her
son, Bruce. "I hope you don’t mind me bringing the boys and Bonnie out
to visit. We heard it was your anniversary."
"Not at all," she said,
not sure she believed what she was saying.
Bruce walked over and
placed baby Keith in her arms. He was fussing and soon started
screaming. She bounced him around. "All right, Mum, I’ve got to hand the
car in to be fixed. Thanks for watching the children," he said and ran
out the door, leaving her with five more children to watch, including a
Mrs. MacFallon sent the
other kids outside to find their granddad and sat on the couch with baby
Keith. He screamed and screamed. No matter how much she bounced him.
Finally, after a good half an hour, she got him to settle down. She laid
him on the couch and tiptoed into the kitchen. Just as she did this, the
front door burst open and fourteen children and their granddad came
rushing in, giggling, crying, pushing and whining. Baby Keith woke up
with a fright and started screaming again.
Mrs. MacFallon looked at
her husband and they both started laughing. "This is some anniversary,
isn’t it?" she asked. "Well, since all of our 15 grandbabies are here,
we might as well have some fun."
The first thing she did
was have the girls put all the pretty flowers they’d picked from her
garden into a large crystal vase. She filled it with water and put it on
the dining room table. She got out some paint and some paper and asked
Bridget, Isabel, Ashley, Amber, Aidan, Kenneth and Ryan to paint a big
banner to go across the fireplace. "I’ll help," said Granddad. The
children started calling hooray and they went outside to paint.
Mrs. MacFallon stayed in
the house with the wee ones. "Do you want to help Gran fix biscuits?"
she asked them. "Alicia, you take care of Baby Keith. Adam, you bring
wee Cedric in here and we’ll get started.
For the next two hours
Mr. and Mrs. MacFallon had fun with their grandchildren. They baked
biscuits and a big anniversary cake, painted a banner and played with
When Jamie and Catriona,
Gweneth and Alexander, and Bruce came back, the house was decorated in
festive party style. Streamers were strung across the ceiling; the
banner was in place above the fireplace. Each of them had brought back a
bag of food. They spent the rest of the day playing games and eating
sausage rolls, meat pies, cheese and onion bridies, shortbread, cakes,
biscuit and all kinds of pastries. The best part of all was when the
anniversary cake candles were lit. The children all helped blow them
As the night grew near,
the children started getting tired. "Time to go," said Jamie and
"Oh no you don’t," Mr.
MacFallon said. "Not until we take a picture!"
Mr. and Mrs. MacFallon
gathered all fifteen of their grandchildren around them and stood in
front of the fireplace. The Happy Anniversary banner, which was written
in Celtic, at the children’s request, was strung behind them. Bruce got
out his camera.
"Say cheese!" he said,
ready to take the photograph. Just as he snapped the shot, Bonnie and
Douglas came running right up to the camera. Everyone started to laugh.
That night, Mr. and Mrs.
MacFallon lay silently in the living room, she on the couch, and he in
his chair asleep. It had been a long day, and a tiring one, but the best
anniversary they could ever have asked for, with their family around
A week later, Bruce came
by, alone, and dropped off the photo he took at the anniversary party.
Douglas and Bonnie’s face were right there at the front. Both of them
loved it. It was hung on the wall above the fireplace, under the banner,
which was still hanging.