We had gathered in the living room in Colorado to open family Christmas presents. The grandkids were all excited as children are wont to do on Christmas Eve. Santa would be coming later that night but that was another story. Gramma took a chair and parents and children gather round the tree. Grandpa remained comfortably seated on the carpeted stairway.
A rotation plan saw each child and adult take their turn opening a package. In the hubbub, no one but grandpa noted the large plastic ball that came rolling down the stairs and hit him in the back.
Engrossed in all the excitement, I absentmindedly picked it up and tossed it back up the steps to the landing. Some minutes later I was struck again. Now completely puzzled, I picked it up, when the stern teacher voice of Mrs T inquired as to why I was playing with a ball. "It keeps rolling down the steps on its own," I replied in my best dumbfounded manner. Whereupon, oldest grandchild shouted, "it’s because our HAMSTER is in it and wants to come downstairs." Sure enough, looking closely at it, for the first time, a small furry creature was inside. Setting the ball on the floor, off it went towards the Christmas tree.