daily prompt: Show and Tell

You’ve been asked to do a five-minute presentation to a group of young schoolchildren on the topic of your choice. Describe your presentation. 

Last month, a close family friend passed away.  Our families were neighbors.  We celebrated holidays together. I grew up  with his children.  We walked to school together.  We played kickball together in the street on those long spring evenings when it seemed the night would never fall.  I lounged on the gold shag rug in the basement of his house as his daughter and I shared stories.  I split my lip open after a fall on the “ice” (really just frozen swampland filled with twigs waiting to be tripped upon) in his back yard while attempting to skate at night.  In his kitchen I sat and enjoyed Italian cookies fresh out of the oven, coated in quickly melting powdered sugar.  I trusted him like I trusted my own father, and he will always hold a special place in my heart.

This post is dedicated a family friend and neighbor who will always be thought of with a smile and a chuckle.  A man who was happy on the day I was born, simply because I arrived.  Thank you for the memories Mr. Farina, we will miss you dearly.

 …

As time passes, and I am living through the losses of people from my childhood, I have found myself thinking, “Was he/she happy on the day I was born?”  It’s interesting really, to think back to a day that you can not humanly remember, and yet know that your presence brought joy to someone who has life here on Earth has ended.

I chose to use a book for “Show and Tell.”  On the Day You Were Born, by Debra Frasier.  The quotes that I use are from this book.  Who doesn’t like to hear the story about the day they were born?

As I look around the room at all of your young faces, I notice something interesting.  Something that we may take for granted every single day.  Something really cool.  That something is this:  Every single one of you is different.  You don’t look like anyone else.  You don’t sound like anyone else.  You don’t “feel” like anyone else.  You are the one and only you!  And that, my friends, is a very special gift.

As different as we all are, we all have something in common.  We all have a special day of the year that we celebrate our very own event.  That day is our birthday.  What a fun day it is!  It is the day you remember the moment that you came into this world.  The moment that so many people were joyful because of you.

“On the eve of your birth word of your coming passed from animal to animal.”  Your mom and dad, your grandparents, your brothers and sisters…all of these people (and more) learned that you would soon be born and could. not. wait to meet you!

The earth that we live on and all of its wonder and beauty was doing the same thing it does every day; everything from the sun’s rising to the ocean’s waves hitting the beaches, to the moon’s appearance in the nighttime sky.  On your birthday these things happened just like they do every day, but you made it a special day.

The minute you were born, all the people who were expecting you cried with joy.  “Welcome to the green Earth,” the people sang, … And as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear, “ We are so glad you’ve come!”

I read you this story today because you may have times when you feel sad inside, or feel left out, or you just don’t feel great.  At these times,  I want you to remember how happy you made so many people on the day you were born.  Remember that no matter how old you get, you should always celebrate your birthday.  Just like all of those people did on the very first birthday you ever had!  Remember the people who smiled because of you on the day you were born.  I think that will make you smile too!

Cover of "On the Day You Were Born"

Cover of On the Day You Were Born

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Daily prompt: Fantasy.

“The Tooth Fairy (or Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus . . .): a fun and harmless fiction, or a pointless justification for lying to children?”

Here’s how I see it:

Fantasy.  It is necessary to be able to deal with Reality.

I believe that the “magical” parts of childhood were created for parents, teachers, and anyone who works with small children.  To put it matter-of-factly, they were created to break up the year into manageable parts.

Valentine’s Day.  Sparkly red decorations and stories of cupids and endless love.  Definite fantasy, but created to aid adults in making it through the cold (and sometimes snowy) winter months, and the “letdown” after the December holiday season.

St. Patrick’s Day.  Leprechauns and shamrocks.  Parades to celebrate the approaching start of Spring.  Imagining that leprechauns live among us and reading stories about them works wonders for the imagination.  By the way, who really knows for sure that leprechauns don’t exist?  They’re kinda cute little people!  There’s decorating with green and wearing green and eating green.  That’s donuts, ice cream, and candy of course.  Getting through March.  A cinch!!

Easter.  The Bunny.  The candy.  The colors. The baskets filled with eggs and chocolates and jelly beans and bubbles that promise us outdoor fun is on its way… After the Easter Bunny comes you’re good till at least mid June ’cause then it’s SUMMER!

Fourth of July. Although it is not fantasy, I felt the need to add this one because it fills a gap between fantasy holidays.  We celebrate in red, white, and blue.  We exude national and hometown pride with parades and fireworks.  There are  barbecues and flying flags and beaches and just plain old fun.

Halloween.  This holiday always started in September in my house.  Planning and wondering, “What should I be.”  The lure of the darkness and houses decorated with graveyard scenes…and candy of course.  Whether you believe that ghosts are fantasy or not, children usually like to believe they are.  I know I did.

Christmas.  Fantasy at its best – at least for children.  It’s simply magical.

As far as the tooth fairy goes, our house’s fairy is extremely unpredictable.  Sometimes she comes, then I guess sometimes she forgets or  falls asleep.  Either way, when you are a little person, and a part of your body falls out or off (depending how you look at it,) I think you should have something to look forward to.  A fairy coming for your tooth sounds great to me!  It’s definitely better than a lecture from your parents on the way the human body works.

You see then, my hat is off to the creator of fantasy.  For me, fantasy made those days of  living with toddlers easier, and lots more fun.  It’s just my theory.

Besides, I still believe in magic.  (and Santa.)

magic!

It’s magic!

weekly writing challenge: truth is stranger than fiction.

The truth behind a photo:

As far as photographs go, this one is famous in our family.  These people are smiling for one 4-letter reason.  L-O-V-E.  My father knew how to make his grandchildren laugh like nobody else.  We had just finished dinner at his beach house,  ready-ing ourselves for a trip to the ice-cream store for the group favorite…’Dinosaur Crunch.’  When asked to describe what Dinosaur Crunch ice cream is like, here is the response:

“It’s blue, and it has chocolate chips and pink swirls in it.”

 “It kind of tastes like cotton candy.”

 “There’s like pinkish in it.”

If being with your grandfather, after a day at the beach, on your way to get ice cream doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what does!

smiles