One of the books Jet likes to read contains two plotlines: the right-hand page combines colorful drawings and text while the left side uses only in sepia-colored drawings. I typically read the text to her without embellishment, but I tell the second story from my own point of view. This time, when I began the text in the usual way, Jet put her hand on my arm. “Use regular words, Grandma.”
As Jet learns to share her own experiences with others, she has become increasingly interested in the art of storytelling, so I understood that she wanted me to tell both sides of the tale about the family of bears in my own words. Later, as we played a round of the Candy Land game, she asked me to tell her another story, so I offered one that was fresh in my mind:
Papa and the Chipmunk
One day, a little chipmunk climbed a big tree and looked around. And what do you think he saw? He saw our roof! It looked like it might be fun to run on, so the chipmunk jumped off the tree and right onto our roof.
After awhile, the little chipmunk saw something sticking up out of the roof. “What in the world can this be?” the little chipmunk wondered. So he climbed up to see. At the top, he found a hole! He looked down in the hole. The little chipmunk could not see very well, so he leaned over farther and farther. And what do you think happened next? He fell in that hole!
The hole was the top of a pipe that went down through our attic all the way to the bottom of the dryer! The little chipmunk went down that hole so fast he didn’t know what to think. When he got to the bottom everything was dark and he couldn’t find any way to get out. He bumped and thumped against the sides of the pipe, but he couldn’t find a door or even a crack big enough to squeeze through. The little chipmunk was scared.
When your Papa heard the little chipmunk thumping and bumping he knew just what to do. He got a flashlight and peeked behind the dryer. He could just barely see the little chipmunk’s stripes through a teeny tiny crack. Papa went to the garage and got a bucket and a fishnet. He shut the door and moved the washer and dryer until he could get to the pipe where the little chipmunk was trapped.
Then Papa loosened the pipe, and what do you think happened then? The little chipmunk jumped and tried to run away as fast as he could. He didn’t understand that Papa wanted to help him! He found a place to hide behind the toilet, but Papa pushed him out and tried to catch him with the net. But guess what! The chipmunk was so tiny he went right through the holes in the net! Your Papa was smart, though and he had the bucket ready to put over the little chipmunk just in case. And what do you think Papa did next? He took the chipmunk back outside where he belonged and he ran down in his own hole to be with the rest of his family. The End.
Jet wanted to hear this story again and again. She told me her own story about how something similar had happened to her stuffed Kitty and her imaginary sister. When she asked for more animal stories, I searched my memories of the pets in my life. Jet heard the one about the rabbit in the woods that found a new home with my family; the time Biscuit the dog was snared by a fishing hook; the tale of the bold little mouse that walked right over the paws of Katie the dog before lying down to get toasty in front of the heating vent.
Jet has just started telling her own stories about what she did over the weekend or how she got her most recent boo-boo, but she’ll soon have many, many more. And you know what? I’m looking forward to hearing every single one of them!