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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1772162-When-I-Was-Your-Age
Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #1772162
A bedtime story for a child age 2 - 4
"Lets play checkers, Grandma!"  Sugar climbed up to the table and spread the game.

"Great idea, Sugar!" Hazel stood up slowly.  She wobbled a bit as she painfully stretched her back into an upright stance.  Once erect, she stood for a moment before taking a first step. She walked slowly, with a definite shuffle, across the room. With just as much stiffness, she sat at the table with a checker board on top. 

Her great granddaughter was ready to play. Dark complected with large brown eyes and a definite bounce in her attitude, Sugar smiled and held out her chubby fists, palm down. "Pick Grandma." Her hands were just big enough to hide the checkers for the ritual.

"Your right hand, Sugar... No, your right hand.  That's it.  What color is that?"

"Black!"

"Good... then I get black.  Do you remember how to put the checkers on the board?"

A petite child, Sugar was on her knees on the chair so she could reach the checker board.  She started right, but then couldn't remember the rest.

"Look at mine and see if you can do yours the same way... That's it.  Good Girl!  Who goes first?"

"Smoke before fire... you go first, Grandma."

And so, the game began.  The Grandma was very patient and often reminded the child to stop and look and think before she moved. She would prompt the child "do you think my checker can jump your checker if you stay there?"  In this way, she made sure the child won, and when she did, Hazel gave her a high five. 

"Time for ice cream!"

"Chocolate?"

"Is there any other kind?"

They visited while they finished their snack. Grandma smiled as Sugar told about finding a stump full of red ants.

"They were so busy and quick, Grandma!  They carried great huge pieces of leaf, and walked all in neat rows."

When their snack was finished, they each put dishes in the sink, and Sugar asked for a story. 

"Wash your face and hands, brush your teeth, and put on your nightgown.  When you are in bed, I will tell you a story."

The child hurried and got ready.  Every Friday night,  Sugar visited her great grandmother for an overnight.  They both enjoyed the familiar routine.  Sugar ran and climbed into Hazel's big bed and played with a well worn Teddy bear while  Hazel washed her face and prepared for bed.  When she was ready, she got in bed, and the two snuggled down facing each other. 

"Tell the story about Rex, please, Grandma."

Hazel began:

"When I was your age... How old are you now?"

"I'm 4 years old."  She held up four chubby fingers in front of Hazel's face."

"When I was 4 years old, I visited my great grandmother's house for overnights. We played checkers, ate a snack and climbed into bed together.  Then we would turn out the light and she would tell me about when she was a girl. She had a voice like a growling dog, and the smile of an angel. That was a long long time ago.  She was 80 when I was 4 years old, and I am 78 and you are four years old.  So, that means when she was 4 years old, it was 154 years ago.  That is so long ago there is no one alive who lived then. 

"Back in those days, everyone had a horse because there were no cars.  Everyone had a barn for the horse.  At her house, they also had chickens and ducks, and pigs ...."

"I know! and they had cows, and a big collie dog named Rex."

"Yes, and a dog named Rex who took care of all the babies in the barn.  He stayed with them until they were big enough to take care of themselves"

"Rex was a very good dog, wasn't he, Grandma!"

"He was the best.  One day, my grandma got sick and had to stay in bed and couldn't go see Rex in the barn."

"I know, I know!  So Rex went and barked and whined and carried on to go in the house and see her."

"That is exactly right.  You are a smart Cookie, little one! And he did bark and whine until someone let him in the house.  He had decided he was going to look after Grandma, and he did.  He stayed by her bed until she was well."

"Yes, Grandma.  And, she would rub and pat his head when she felt too sick to sleep."

"Yes, Sugar.  And she would rub his head until she fell asleep.  Rex wouldn't move from her bedside until she wakened."

"Why don't you have a dog, Grandma?"

"I have had many dogs.  When the last one died, I decided I didn't want another.  It is a lot of work to take care of a dog.  It's time for your prayers, Little One."

Sugar said her "Now I lay me" prayer.  When she was done, she yawned a big yawn, turned over and fell almost immediately to sleep.  Hazel watched her a long time with a half smile on her face before turning over to sleep herself.



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