The Crystal Catastrophe
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“The Crystal Catastrophe,” New Era, November 2015, 23

The Crystal Catastrophe

Zachary Boyd lives in Montana, USA.

A basketball, a broken mirror, a scarred table, and a bunch of smashed dishes. Grandpa was doomed.

Illustration by Roger Motzkus; photograph courtesy of Zachary Boyd

My great-grandma’s candy dish doesn’t hold a lot of candy these days. Instead, it sparkles under the display lights in my grandpa’s cabinet, and the lights reflect off the grooves of the crystal in the dish. Most people save things to remind them of happy memories, but my grandpa has saved this candy dish to remind him of an important lesson.

When my grandpa was 10, his family had a rule against playing ball in the house. But he loved basketball, so one day when it was raining outside, you can guess what he decided to do. Instead of following the rules, he went into the living room to play basketball, and it quickly got him into trouble.

He threw a pass, and the basketball hit the bracket of an antique mirror, causing the mirror to fall onto a grand piano where his mom displayed her crystal collection. The mirror shattered onto the piano and broke all the crystal dishes except one single candy dish.

When his mom came to see what had happened, she sent him to his room. He felt awful; he knew she loved those dishes. His dad came to his room and they discussed a punishment. Then, his mom entered the room with a wrapped box. Inside was the surviving candy dish. His mom said, “I’m giving you this dish to remind you that I love you more than any of the dishes you broke.”

One day that candy dish will be passed down to my mom and then to me, but we could never sell it. In our family, the candy dish represents how much love a mother has for her children. Even though Great-Grandma lost nearly her entire crystal collection, she gained something even more important—a stronger relationship with her son.

Material possessions can be replaced, but families are worth a lot more than crystal. Family members are the most important people. My family, including my mom, dad, and brothers, mean more to me than anything else. I’d give up a million crystal dishes to be with my family forever.