The other night I went with my boyfriend David to meet his best friend Barry and his wife Andrea. They have two children, a 5 year-old girl and a 1 1/2 year-old boy. The girl, Gwen, is a bundle of energy and gets so excited every time David comes over.
When it was time for Gwen to go to bed, she asked if David would tell her a bedtime story. She requested Jack and the Beanstalk. David whispered to me, “I don’t know if I remember that one, do you?”
“I think so,” I whispered back.
“You’d better make it silly!” Gwen warned.
I started speaking, hoping to inspire David into taking over the story, because his versions are always much more interesting. “Once upon a time,” I began, “There was a little boy named Jack who lived with his mother.”
“He lived with his mother because he never finished college,” David interrupted. “And one day he found some seeds in his garage, but he didn’t know what they were and he was afraid he might get arrested for them. So he buried them in the backyard, and then a giant beanstalk grew up above the clouds. Do you know what happens when you get above the clouds, Gwen? You’re in heaven. And that’s where Jack found a college degree.”
About this time Andrea walks in the room, and Gwen bounces up to her and says, “Mommy, mommy, Jack was going to arrest the seeds in his garage because he didn’t know what they were!”
And oh yes, all of this happened AFTER Gwen requested the re-telling of the story David had told me downstairs about a homeless Vietnam vet he had worked with who had done a lot of recon. Gwen was especially interested in the part where his leg turns black from gangrene.
I never expected bedtime stories to go quite like that, but I must say that it was entertaining.