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Just a couple of guide-lines before we begin. Please remember I was telling this to pre-teen kids, one of just over 4 years, and the other just over 7. So, no sex of course, no cussin’, and no – to borrow from Stanly Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”, ‘ultra-violence’. Also, I had to promise to only tell the ‘real’ story when both kids were in the car, so it became necessary to come up with back-stories if I had only one with me. I’ll call them out here with the nomenclature “Back Story”, so’s we don’t get confused by the wiggles and waggles of the narrative. I’ll also try and spin it in a slightly more mature vein, taking into consideration the relative age of this crowd.
A long time ago in a land of many small villages and mountains and streams, there was a place where a tiny zoo existed. It was a real zoo, but didn’t have a lot of unusual animals. I fact, the biggest attraction was an albino warthog, with pink eyes and double tusks. His face was always dirty as the thing he liked to do best was dig deep holes to poop in. (Peals of laughter from the back seat) There was also a Mommy and Daddy Olyphant, who were just nice and quiet, and hung out so the people who came to see them could feed them peanuts. One day, the Mommy brought a baby Pachyderm (the instructive word for the day) into the world, and all around were amazed and delighted to see such a sight. He was perfect in every way, except for his ears. They were HUUUUUGGGGEEEE! He could barely stand up, and when he tried to walk, they kept dragging on the ground and tripping him into constant faceplants. His Mommy and Daddy tried to teach him how to overcome his situation, but no joy, he just kept falling down. One day, a man from over the mountain range came and bought the Mommy and Daddy. He wasn’t interested in our lad, who’s nick-name had become Dumbo, as he couldn’t even walk upright on his feets. So now all on his own, he learned to drag his butt along the ground to get to his groceries and water. This went on for a while, until one day, the zoo-keeper was bought a large cricket – who of all things could DANCE. This was GREAT. Now they could do shows, and not just be a managerie of odd creatures. He could talk too, but at first he only talked with other zoo residents, and he eventually made friends with Dumbo. He also tried every trick he could think of to get him to walk, all to no avail. One day, he was studying birds flying up in the sky, and got the idea of trying to get him to flap those giant ears and fly. So, he found a big, black crow’s feather, took it to him and together they went to the top of a hill. He set Dumbo on the edge with the feather clutched tight in his trunk, he sat on his coconut, and screamed “JUMP”. D was so scared his fell of the cliff, and began to drop straight down, gaining speed with each second.
Editor’s note. When we reached our destination, I developed a stock phrase for closure,
“And we will leave it there for now.” After a while they even began to finish it for me when they knew it was coming, and also began to berate me with “PAPA! You always stop at the GOOD part!” Of course, one has to incorporate the old cliff-hanger strategy, mostly for me to buy time to construct the next chapter.
Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.
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