My thoughts are spurred by a Tweet from Roger Ebert, referencing this blog post:
Reading this blog post brings back pleasant memories of my Grandfather, who I call Pop. I remember him telling stories to my sister and me. Not stories of ancestral heroes, no tales of ancient tribal battles and victories. Sadly, those stories faded during the Middle Passage. Pop tells us funny stories, scary stories, sometimes funny scary stories. There are jokes, but mostly stories that have us laughing and crying.
I remember how he acts out the stories, sitting in his chair and gesturing and moving and mimicking the action as he talks. My favorite, really the only one I remember the most details about, is about this bad-ass brother who is either the devil or a zombie – I really wish I can remember the details. Devil or dead, he is a Spook, and I do remember he shows up unexpectedly at a campsite. Pop becomes the characters. His eyes open wiiiidddddeeee as he and his friends see this devil. Then Pop becomes The Spook. He grabs the frying pan off the fire and dumps the food right into his mouth, hot grease and all. He grabs the hot coffee and does the same. He wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and in a low, gravelly voice asks the frightened campers for “More!” Then he reaches into the fire, grabbing a handful of hot coals.
And a little boy and a little girl can’t stop laughing with Pop. I know now how much fun he has telling us these stories. I see his face, and see how much he enjoys making us laugh.
I don’t remember when he stops, probably as I get into my teens. At that time in my world twelve is the cutoff for “childish” games and innocence. As damn near every adult reminds me, it’s the age that Jesus assumes His ministry. Thus, on my twelfth birthday my sins are now my own! I have to stand before God and account for them, can’t blame it on being a kid anymore! I’m pretty sure the stories ends well before then.
I do get a chance to be Pop as I become a substitute teacher after my first retirement. I have an absolute ball reading “Two Bad Ants” to a first grade class. It’s not on the lesson plan for that day, but once I see the title all bets are now off – I know I HAVE to read it, for me a much as them. I can’t act out like Pop, but I read with all of the fun and enthusiasm like him, hoping they are enjoying it as much as I am.