Value: Be yoursel
We always suspected Granddad was unusual. There always was a bit of a mystery about his past. But when we got on his lap and he told us about things that happened when he was a little boy, well, somehow we knew it was all true.
“Let me just tell you about when I was your age,” Granddad would say.
“Things were much different when Granddad was a little boy from how it is now for you children.”
“How, Granddad? How?” I begged. I loved Granddad’s stories.
“Well, Steven, in a lot of ways, but for one thing, when I was a child, all the animals could talk.”
“No way, Granddad,” Susannah complained.
“Yes, Susanna, and the animal that seemed to have the most to say was Rex.”
“Your dog, Rex, Granddad?” Harrison asked.
“That’s the one. Why, I remember one day when Rex came to me and told me he wasn’t satisfied being a dog.”
“Was it the dog food, Granddad? Didn’t you give him good things to eat?” I wondered.
“No, it wasn’t the dog food. Seems Rex had been looking around, at other animals, at humans, even at
other dogs, and he just wasn’t satisfied.”
“What did you tell him, Granddad?” Jenny asked.
“Well, I didn’t tell him anything, Jenny. I learned that Rex does better if he learns lessons for himself. Just like you children do. Seems Rex had been to the circus, snuck under the tent and had seen the high wire act. That’s what Rex wanted to be — a high wire trapeze artist, walking on the wire.”
“But dogs can’t walk on wire, Granddad,” Susanna noted. “It’s hard for them to hold the balancing pole in their paws.”
“Well, that’s right, and when he tried it by walking on the back of the couch, well, he fell right off and yipped and yipped and yipped.”
We all laughed.
“Well, that didn’t seem to teach him his lesson, children, so he tried something new. This time he had been in the garden and it seems he had been chatting with a snake.
Apparently, the snake bragged a lot and convinced Rex he should become a snake.”
“Granddad!” Harrison spoke up. “Dogs cannot be snakes!” He poked Granddad as he lectured him. “They would have trouble making that hissing sound.”
“Yes, and Harrison, when Rex practiced his slither, he accidentally wrapped himself around the toilet and could not get out for a while.”
“What did you do, Granddad, did you leave him there?” wondered Jenny.
“Well, no, your Grandma was pretty crafty with her knitting needles. No need to go into details, but after some additional yelping we got him out. He was pretty embarrassed about that episode, I can tell you that. Rex told me later that he felt that the snake project was poorly planned, but he knew for sure what he was going to be.”
“What did he decide, Granddad?” Harrison wanted to know.
“Well, Rex had been watching TV, and he decided he wanted to be Miss America.”
“MISS AMERICA???” Jenny objected. “But REX is a boy dog!”
“That was a drawback,” Granddad admitted.
“But Granddad,” Susanna interrupted, “does he know about the swimsuit competition?”
“Well, children that was a problem. When we got it on him, Rex not only looked silly, it slowed him down when he chased squirrels. Finally, it was Grandma who talked some sense into him.”
“Grandma could speak dog?” Harrison was amazed.
“Oh, fluently. She finally sat him down, got him a cup of tea and explained to him what you all know, don’t you children?”
“Yes, he has to be himself. That’s how you get people to like you – be yourself, Granddad.” I instructed. “Did she teach him to use his natural talents?”
“Yes, Steven, she did. She showed him that we loved him for what he was already good at.”
“What was Rex good at, Granddad?” wondered Susanna.
“Oh, scratching himself, barking, frightening squirrels. He was a very talented dog.”
“A talking dog? Can that possibly be true, Granddad?” wondered Harrison.
“It could possibly, Harry. Just possibly.”
“I wish Rex and Grandma didn’t die, Granddad,” said Jenny sadly.
“Oh, they are together right now Jenny,” Granddad said whimsically.
“In Heaven, Granddad?” She brightened up.
“Oh, no, Jenny. Not in heaven. Grandma and Rex aren’t dead. They are just together. In another place. And it isn’t far from here, children. Would you like to go see them?”
“YEAH!!!!!!” All of us cheered. And we meant it, too.