At our house, Benjamin is the great negotiator. When I say he can have one sip of sweet tea, he asks for two. When I explain that the game is over, he wants just one more turn. And when itís bedtime, itís the number of stories that we haggle over. Books are fine during the […]
At our house, Benjamin is the great negotiator. When I say he can have one sip of sweet tea, he asks for two. When I explain that the game is over, he wants just one more turn. And when itís bedtime, itís the number of stories that we haggle over.
Books are fine during the day but at night he wants stories ďjust from your mouth.Ē Often, he wants a loose rendition of The Three Little Pigs. (The building materials are changed from straw and brick to things like bubblegum and marshmallow, and sometimes Star Wars characters make cameo appearances at the pigsí houses.)
But itís the story of the three little girls that he asks for the most, a story that has remained structurally unchanged since my daddy started telling it more than 40 years ago, when there were fewer daughters to tell it to.
In the beginning, Daddy notices a pretty girl on the school bus. Sheís so shy that she rarely talks, but Daddy convinces her to go out with him on a date. And then another. Soon she asks Daddy to marry her Ė although, in fairness, Mama says it was Daddy who did the asking that cold December day in 1956.
Regardless of who asked whom, they decided to have a baby so they went to the hospital to get one. This is the place in the story where it gets really interactive. The listener must first guess the gender of the baby, then the name and then act out some of the things that babies do. This is repeated baby after baby until you wind up with me and what I consider a happy ending.
Iíve tried telling the story of the three little boys, complete with how I met my husband, but somehow Benjamin always goes back to Daddyís version. Maybe itís the cadence. Maybe itís the charm of taking a date to a drive-in movie theater. Or maybe Benjamin instinctively knows the power of a story told the way its author intended for it to be. Maybe, like the rest of us, heís being carried by the twists and turns of a good parable to a place where he can touch the unseeable.