Everything Is Possible

Everything Is Possible

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: A Tribute to Moms

Everything Is Possible

Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.

Josh Billings

Everything is possible. How many times had my mother told me that? She could say that. She had never tried to get a hit off Mongo, that fire-balling lefthander from Morristown, or attempted to get a perfect score on one of Mrs. Bach’s spelling tests. Mrs. Bach always put in a couple of tricky words that were actually spelled the way they sounded.

We were sitting on the front steps of our old farmhouse one warm summer night. This was something my mother and I did a lot when the mosquitoes would allow it. We had no air conditioning, so it was a little cooler on the steps, and I guess we just sat there waiting for my father to build us a front porch—a place where we could sit and watch the world go by. Dad never did get around to that, as he was too busy milking cows. The steps were a great place to talk. We would listen to the birds getting in their final songs before darkness fell. We would listen to the frogs and toads romancing their mates. This particular night, we watched a large airplane fly overhead. We wondered where the occupants were headed while we sat on our steps.

“I sure would like to fly in one of those things someday,” I said.

“Everything is possible,” my mother replied.

Ha! A lot she knew about it. Neither my mother nor my father had ever set foot on a plane, let alone flown in one. It was then that I saw the fireflies blinking along the edges of our yard. The flashes of the lightning bugs demanded that they be watched.

“Get the jar!” ordered my mother enthusiastically.

I got the large jar from my upstairs bedroom. It was a jar meant for collecting and holding insects. It was equipped with a lid with air holes poked into it in order to make the fireflies’ short stay as comfortable as possible. We would normally observe captives for only a brief time before releasing them unharmed. I presented the jar to my mother for her approval.

“Let’s catch some fireflies!” she said.

We chased and we caught. My mother was much better at chasing than she was at catching. We laughed a lot. The fireflies may have done some laughing, too. Who knows? After a bit, I had caught a number of the elusive fireflies. I placed the jar near the steps where we sat. The jar glowed in the night. Mom and I smiled. We watched in silence until another airplane flew over, its lights blinking across the dark sky.

“Yup,” I said, “I’d sure like to fly in an airplane one day.”

“Everything is possible,” my mother said once more.

“Do you really think that’s so?” I asked as I picked up the jar and prepared to release its luminescent prisoners.

“How can someone holding a jar full of stars believe that anything is impossible?” asked my mother.

I have managed to fly on a number of airplanes, but I still chase fireflies.

Al Batt

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