The Prelude, Song 1: The Little Girl and The Unknown Melody

  • Having my first set of crayons, those with the round bases and pointy ends.
  • Jumping out of swings
  • The first bonfire I remember, the smell of the leaves.  Back when I loved autumn and it didn’t seem sad to me.
  • Hearing the story about how my grandmother’s charm necklace she’d lost years before was found one day hidden in some cranny of the kitchen.  It was the charm bracelet my grandfather had gotten her in Germany.
  • Learning the Knock/knock/banana/orange joke.
  • Valentine’s Day, and especially the year my dad had a gift basket for me of treats and red-and-white-and-pink toys
  • Winning an art contest.  I was maybe 9, and we had to make something out of paper.  I won.  (I didn’t tell anyone it was my mom’s idea for me to make the tissue paper flowers, and that she thought they’d be a success, and I doubted big time.)
  • Climbing trees with Sarah and Gill
  • Honeysuckles and their smell
  • Petting my African frog, Frishy.
  • Painting the dollhouse my grandfather had built for me.  It was sky blue and white.
  • Sitting next to Gordon.  The Gordon.  Gordon from Sesame Street!  And there was a huge statue of Burt and a huge state of Ernie, and they were wonderful and frighteningly gigantic.  And Gordon smiled at me, even though I didn’t smile at him and was petrified.  And I was in a dress, and he put his arm around me and another kid on a park bench, because we both won a coloring contest.  I won because I drew an extra sun and extra flowers on my picture.  I did not want to.  I wanted to color inside the lines.  (But my mom said it would be a good idea.)
  • Hot Sam’s pretzels on sticks, dipped in hot authentic cheddar cheese.
  • Going with my grandmother to work and playing with highlights and even a permanent marker at an age I knew most kids weren’t allowed.
  • Winning bracelets at the carnival, seven I think.
  • My aunt telling me the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as “Red” “Blue” and “Green”, which was much easier for me to say.
  •  Barkley from Sesame Street, even if I forgot what his name was and called him Rover.
  • The way-long glider my grandfather made that was even better than the one in the magazine.
  • Going house shopping with my grandma–house shopping for Cat’s Meow houses.
  • Getting a Lion King candy bar, milk chocolate, before the movie came out.
  • Winnie the Pooh Saturday mornings cartoon, and my dad watching them with me and singing the theme song in his gorgeous, untrained tenor voice.
  • That little girl who sat at a table closer to the teacher than I did who colored inside the lines and had blonde tight curls and had soda pop crayons instead of regular old crayons . . because she taught me that I wouldn’t always be in the spotlight.
  • The My Little Pony dance studio my grandfather bought me.
  • Skee-ball
  • The letter I got from Geoffrey the Giraffe and examined under our glowing Christmas tree when I was too little to actually read.  Geoffrey invited me to visit our new Toys R Us.
  • My dad impersonating characters from Gummi Bears.
  • My baby book that my grandparents drew in.
  • Patiently golden-toasted marshmallows
  • My grandmother spoon feeding me when I was way too old (she was being silly), and me feeling so loved and wanted
  • My Christmas stocking overstuffed
  • Overdoing makeup with Brianna with her mom’s old makeup.
  • The skit on Sesame Street where the little girl gets all messy eating a giant chocolate cookie as Cookie Monster narrates (and tries to talk her into letting him help her eat it).
  • My grandmother’s 24 Advent gifts each year of my childhood.
  • Getting to take George the white rabbit home for the weekend in kindergarten.
  • My first visit to Toys R Us, and meeting Cherry Merry Muffin.
  • Snowball fights
  • Dairy Queen’s chocolate-dipped cones, with my dad
  • The doctor-on-call who sewed up my head when I was six
  • Baking Christmas treats in the kitchen–a downpour of Christmas cookies–with my mom, aunt, and grandma.
  • All the great cartoon voices my dad could do
  • My handmade doll from my mother that I watched her make (but I could only partly see, from my vantage point on the floor)
  • Chex Muddy Buddies.  Making Muddy Buddies, sticky chocolate fingers, cloud dust of powdered sugar (well, a “cloud dust” in my imagination anyway), and deliciousness of snackyness after.
  • Making a Care Bear necklace for my mom out of magazine cut-outs and gold pipecleaner with my grandmother’s help.
  • My parents buying me both the white seal and gray seal in the museum gift shop when I couldn’t make up my mind.
  • Pogo balls, even though I could never balance on them.
  • After getting laughed at for writing “T.T.” at a sign-in for an event rather than “T.J.”, my grandfather taking me off to the side a day or so later and telling me how to fix my name if I ever made that mistake again so I wouldn’t be embarrassed again.
  • Crispy Critters cereal
  • Finding out that getting stung by a wasp was not the nightmare I had feared it would be.
  • Roosevelt (from Sesame Street), and the little character I had of him, and how my aunt found him after searching
  • The sticker book I stuck all my special stickers in as a child (and I got a lot from allergy shot visits).  Note: I didn’t realize the pun in getting stuck with a shot and stickers until proofreading, but I really did get a sticker every time I got allergy shots.  😉
  • Sailing . . garage sailing . . with my grandparents.
  • Baskin ‘n’ Robbins 28 ice cream flavor shop
  • My green Glo-Worm, and how his face lit up at night as I hugged him
  • The bear with the chipped paint on the carousel at Silver Dollar City
  • All the Hallmark ornaments my grandmother bought for my Christmas tree, one each year, but especially the glass Grumpy.
  • Rehearsing storytelling Chicken Little by Steven Kellogg over and over again for a drama project in elementary.
  • My battery-operated Christmas candle I used after a power outage
  • Joy: honey-sweet joy . . parading me to her father to meet him, wild proud to see me, always clinging to my arms, holding hands, extravagantly loyal, always in joy to see me.  (How I wish I knew her now, but I have not seen her these 21 years after she moved!  I love you, Joy, wherever you are, and pray God pours His extravagant joy out on your life always!)
  • Skating in my socks
  • Finding my blue plastic kitty after a long time of losing her, in the grass even!
  • The sock monkey’s tail
  • The day all the ice and snow came, and my dad had to stay home from work, and we sledded for hours.
  • The smell of vanilla
  • Freefalling backwards in an object lesson about faith, and one of the young adults (who to my young ears was an important person) calling out something like, “Now here’s someone with big faith!” as I fell without fear from the platform–and that free-air plunge without any fear, knowing, knowing they would catch me–and they did.
  • The fish my father struggled to get off the hook, and finally did, and threw back in the water.

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