Yesterday, my day off, I closed the shop early, climbed into my truck and pointed its nose towards Little Bit's school. Arrived early. I sat in line with the windows down and listened to the wind. My Kindle sat in my lap, the power off. I wanted, needed, a few peaceful hours with my grandchild.
She got in the truck, all smiles and giggles. I asked, "So, Little One, what's on our agenda for the afternoon?"
"Ice cream, Papa."
Should have known. We drove slowly along the marsh of the river and counted geese and ducks. We spoke of school and her activities of the day. Played 'spell the word.' I asked if there was anything besides ice cream she liked to have or anyplace she'd like to go or do before we drove home.
"Yes, Papa, I want some new books."
Me, all proud, my heart filled with joy at her reply. There isn't a doubt in my mind she takes after my side of the family....
There is a Salvation Army adjacent to the local Dairy Queen. I formulated a plan. Said, "Hey, how about we check out the Salvation Army for used books."
She glances over at me, said, "Papa."
"Nana always makes me wash them off before I can read them. How can I reads them before we eat ice cream?"
"Don't worry about it."
I replied, "Nana's strange, Honey."
Inside the Salvation Army she picked out about seven books. She selected each as if it were a treasure (and they are) then she'd walk over and gently place it in the basket, one at time...back for another, a Garfield here, a Strawberry Shortcake there, each carefully carried as if they were breakable. Me, all smiles.
Across the street at the Dairy Queen.
"Papa, I wants a chocolate sundae and you wants a banana split."
"Are you sure that's what I want?"
"Yes, I get half."
She turned around and took a seat with her new/used Garfield book.
I placed her ice cream on the table. She ignored it. I sat and watched this child, a girl of six, absorbed in a book as her sundae melted. Try and tell me there isn't hope for our future generations.
"Sweet Heart, eat your ice cream before it all melts."
"I will, Papa, just a second." She looks over at it, then mine. "Just make sure you save me some banana split."
We had a great afternoon.