This is just an excerpt from the book I wrote for my granddaughter, Alexis. It was her Christmas letter to Santa that inspired me to try and give her some answers. I rewrote the bedtime poem because , if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take, seemed to dark and scary for a child. It is very hard for small children to understand the finality of death. She knew daddy went to work every day and came home, but then why couldn’t he also come home from heaven? Where is heaven?
Good question, I have asked myself that many times.
English is an interesting language. You can say things in a few words, like most people, or you can stretch your sentences till everyone is exhausted.
Idioms, we all use them. They are figurative words used as common, everyday expressions. Take for example, you decide to take a walk in the park and all of a sudden there's a downpour, you are sure to exclaim, it's raining cats and dogs! Well, it literally doesn't mean cats and dogs are falling out of the sky, it’s just a heavy rain. Young children are very literal. When they hear certain words or phrases, they conjure up images in their heads, like the dogs and cats falling from the sky. Adults take these phrases for granted, but we don’t realize the confusing mixed messages we are sending. Kids really do get scared, for example, the image of falling to sleep, or catching a cold. Some kids haven’t quite mastered catching a ball, let alone a cold.
What, No Horse?
When I was about 5 or 6, I vividly remember times when my father would get up from whatever he was doing and proudly announce that he was going to see a man about a horse. Can you imagine my excitement? I was sure I would be getting a pony any day now. I thought about what to call him and wondered if he could stay in my room. I asked my mom to buy extra carrots at the store the next time she went shopping. I waited and waited, but no horse.
"How could this be?" I thought. I imagined my dad just couldn’t decide on which horse to buy. Over and over again I witnessed this performance. Apparently, I was the only one that noticed this behavior. But I was certain that any day now I would be getting a horse. Again, my father stood tall and proud and made his announcement. I no longer could contain my anticipation. I blurted out before I could connect my thoughts with my words, "Where is my damned horse?" The room instantly got quiet. Oh no, what did I say? My mother just smiled and said, "Just wait a minute and your father can explain." This was it. I was doomed. If there was a horse coming, he wouldn’t be now. A few minutes passed and my father returned to the room. "Tell her," mom said. "Well," said my dad clearing his throat. "You see, when a daddy has to use the bathroom it is his way of politely saying where he is going without really saying the bathroom."
Are you kidding me? Wow, talk about a huge disappointment.
Mom, never mind the extra carrots.
Kids Say The Darnedest Things
The show aired on radio for years then went to BOTH radio and TV before it ran exclusively on TV. Opening Line; COME ON IN, IT'S TIME FOR ART LINKLETTR'S HOUSE PARTY. The opening shot was a rectangular sign that said ART LINKLETTER'S HOUSE PARTY with "traveling" lights around the perimeter. I remember thinking that it was so small because it filled my entire tv screen at home. I guess it didn’t need to be any bigger since it was directly in front of the big camera. The last 5 minutes of the program featured 5 primary school kids, whom Art asked questions, usually designed to embarrass their parents.
I was one of those lucky 5 kids. I was five or six years old when I was selected with four of my classmates to be on the show. I had long blonde fine hair that I usually wore in braids, but the night before the show, my mother rolled up my hair in rags so I would have Shirley Temple curls. As I left the house the following morning, feeling like a princess, her only advise to me was … DO NOT LET THEM COMB YOUR HAIR! Once we assembled at school we were taken in a small van to the TV studio and put in the green room. I thought that was an odd name since it wasn’t green at all. Before the show started, it happened….a lady came in and COMBED and BRUSHED my hair. Now I looked like I had a mop of frizz. I just knew my mother would be upset, but I still looked beautiful in my new pink party dress and black patent leather Maryjane shoes. Minutes before we were to go on stage, Mr. Linkletter came by to talk with us and say hello. He asked each of us several questions. I remember thinking he looked just like my daddy. When it was time, we were escorted to the stage where there were five chairs. We all sat down, the music started to play and the show began. Mr. Linkletter began his questions and I was the third one he came to. He asked me:
"Do you have a dog?" "Yes ", I said
"Does he have a pedigree?" "No", I said "My mom took him to the vet and fixed him."
Then he asked me if I was an only child. "Yes", I said
"Did you ask your parents for a brother or sister?"
"Oh yes" I said smiling.
"Well what was their answer?" Mr. Linkletter said. And I proceeded to tell him exactly what my parents had told me. "They said that my mom was just too tired and my dad was just too old."
I received a Brownie intstamatic camera,a tiny tears doll ,and several boxes of Carnation instant milk.
Every parent or Grandparent has a funny story about something their kids did or said I am no exception. I clearly remember a time when my sweet little four year old daughter had gotten in trouble for something and it must have been something big because her farther decided he should be the one to handle it. Having daddy give the "you are in big trouble" speech was the worst. He must have talked to her for maybe 15 minutes. She stood there, looking up at him, wide eyed and serious. "Well", he said "Do you have anything to say for yourself?" There was a pause and she said "Daddy, do you know you have hair in your nose?" Really? Now how does anyone keep a straight face with that response? All we could do was laugh.
Writing humorous short stories, or poems has always been something I have enjoyed, especially when they are based on my own life experiences.
If You Believe
It was dark outside when Santa arrived at little critter’s bedside. Critter was just saying his nightly prayers,
"Now I lay me down to sleep
Where Angels gather at my feet
They fill my room with golden light
And keep me safe throughout the night
and God bless my Daddy. Amen."
Santa waited a few minutes and then lightly touched Little Critter’s shoulder and said" Little Critter, where is your daddy?" Little Critter slightly opened his eyes and still half asleep said" My daddy is an angel. I think he lives on the moon." "Oh, is that why you asked Santa for the biggest ladder ever?" "Oh yes," said Little Critter. "If I had the biggest ladder ever, I could climb up to the moon and be with my daddy on Christmas."Santa knelt down beside Little Critter and softly whispered in his ear "Daddy angels are very special angels. They are always with you. You can visit them in your heart or your dreams whenever you want. Just close your eyes and believe." And with that, Santa disappeared as quickly as he had arrived, and Little Critter fell into a deep sleep.
Early Christmas morning Little Critter looked under the tree and there was a special little box that only said Believe. Littler Critter closed his eyes for a moment and then carefully opened the box. Inside was a beautiful golden ladder. Little critter gently removed the ladder from the box and ran outside. It was still dark out and the moon was sitting high in the sky. Little Critter held the ladder tight to his chest, closed his eyes and said" I do believe, I do believe, I do believe." In that moment a peaceful feeling washed over him. He opened his eyes and looked up at the moon. "Merry Christmas Daddy", he said."I love you." Little Critter thought he heard a familiar voice say "Merry Christmas, I love you too." But when Little Critter looked again, his daddy angel was gone. He felt so happy and loved inside. He knew his daddy was always watching over him. Little Critter kissed his thumb and blew the kiss up to the moon, just like he did every night before he went to sleep.
Little Critter went back inside his house and placed the ladder carefully back inside the box. He took the box to his room where he put it in his special memory place; the place where he kept his daddy’s pictures and mementos. Little Critter knew that now he could always see his daddy angel because he believed it in his heart.
A small preview from the Little Critter Book
Kids Say the Darndest Things
What No Horse?
If You Believe
I Found A Penny today