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I sat on the couch, making my Thanksgiving grocery list, while hubby and our seven-year-old daughter laid on their bellies and colored pictures in front of the fireplace. My ears perked up when I heard daughter ask, “Wouldn’t it be weird if you could live without a head?”
One never knows what’s taking place in the mind of a child. I smiled as I heard hubby say, “Have you ever heard of…”
I thought to myself, “What a cozy memory he is about to make, sitting in front of the fire, sharing the story of the Headless Horseman.”
But one never knows what’s taking place in the mind of a man. Instead he asked, “Have you ever heard of Mike the Headless Chicken?”
She laughed out loud and exclaimed, “A chicken without a head?”
Hubby continued, “A farmer was going to butcher a chicken for dinner, but when he cut the head off, he missed the jugular vein and brain stem, so the chicken didn’t die. For almost two years they kept him alive by dropping food down his throat with an eye dropper.”
Later, as we left the Thanksgiving service at our little country church and walked into the crisp, cool night, hubby paused to look at the stars shining brightly in the sky.
I listened as he pointed out the various constellations, and shared their stories with our daughter. First he told her of the Greek mythological hunter Orion, and the constellation of Pleiades, also known as The Seven Sisters.
“Orion, the son of the sea god Poseidon, was a very tall and handsome man. He was an extremely strong hunter and had an unbreakable bronze club. Orion fell in love with seven beautiful sisters. Their names were: Maia, Electra, Alcyone, Taygete, Asterope, Celaeno and Merope. You can only see six of them though, because when the city of Troy was destroyed, Electra began to cry and turned her face away. Do you know about the city of Troy?”
“No, Daddy! Tell me!”
As we walked to the car, hubby continued regaling our little ones with the tale of beautiful Helen of Troy and the great plot behind the Trojan Horse.
Eventually, this led to an exciting narration of the life and times of Hercules.
“Hercules’ dad was a god named Zeus and his mother was a regular, mortal woman whose name I can’t remember.”
“Let’s call her Pepper!” daughter suggested.
“Okay,” hubby continued, “Hercules was the son of Zeus and Pepper.”
I smiled in the darkness. Never in a million light years would I interrupt a daddy telling stories to his little girl. Especially a daddy who is awesome enough to remember names like Asterope and Celaeno, but willingly adapts his story to include Pepper.
My daddy used to tell me stories too. Bible stories about men named Goliath and Samson, scary stories involving ghosts and demons,and funny stories about horses, dogs and his favorite pet goat named…Ginger. (All observations on the goat/daughter connection have already been made, thank you very much.)
Interestingly, one that I remember most is the story of The Five Little Peppers. I loved hearing the adventures of Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie and Phronsie Pepper. They were quite poor, but they were always joyful while working and playing in their little brown house.
Perhaps this is why I grew up and had five children of my own. You can never underestimate the power of good storytelling in a child’s life.
Hopefully, my seven-year-old doesn’t try to save our Thanksgiving turkey with an eye dropper.
Ginger is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truit-Author), Twitter (@GingerTruitt) or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.