“Ya wanna take a little ride in my doat tart?” he said.
Her curls bobbed up and down as she climbed aboard his goat drawn cart. She didn’t mind his lisp. She was just so pleased to get to ride in that cart.
A flick of the reins and a gentle, “Dit up doat” put the little wheels in motion.
They rode together in silence for a while before the young lad whispered to his companion,“can I have a little kiss?”
“Oh no!” she wailed, her curls bouncing once again. She had answered quickly, maybe too quickly, for she found the cart drawing to a halt.
“Whoa doat!” commanded the boy.
“Det out den” he said to her as she unhappily climbed out of his goat cart.
“Dit up doat,” his final words floated to her on the breeze.
It wasn’t long until he spied another pretty young lady walking along the lane.
Again he asks the question, “Ya wanna take a little ride in my doat tart?”
Again an eager lass climbs aboard.
It isn’t long before the young boy whispers his next question.
“Can I have a little kiss?” he blushes.
She blushes, also embarrassed, but maybe a little flattered . Still, what is a proper young lady of five supposed to do? She lowers her eyes and shakes her head.
“Whoa doat!” Another heart gets broken as the boy stops the cart.
“Det out den” his heart is heavy this time as he says the words.
“Det up doat”, the words send the little goat steadily onward.
He is about to turn around for home when he sees a pale blue dress at the top of the hill.
“Det up doat”, he clucks and urges the cart faster.
“Whoa doat”, he says and hurries through his next question.
She is climbing aboard before he can get the words “doat tart” out of his mouth.
A quick smile greets him as she settles herself into the cart.
This time the cart doesn’t stop.
His request for a kiss is met with a perky peck on the cheek that almost makes him drop the reins. A broad smile warms his face as he tightens his grip and sits a little straighter in the seat.
“I wish my brother was here” he sighs, and dreamily guides his little goat cart down the hill.
(I never could quite figure out why he wanted his brother to be there…)
This was the first of many stories Papa told me when I was a little girl. His stories always seemed so long ago and far away.
“Could he really remember that far back?” I thought. The 1930’s did seem like a hundred years before my time.
I guess it takes getting older to make one appreciate how close childhood really is.
It must be just yesterday that someone asked me for a little kiss in the cloakroom of my Kindergarten classroom. Almost 40 years ago. A lifetime of lifetimes to my children. My stories seem to fascinate my kids as my Papa’s stories fascinated me. It didn’t really matter when they happened. The important thing to me was that they had happened to my dad.
Somehow, ageless, stories live on. Time may fuzz the details a bit but that doesn’t really matter. It is the thought, the memory, the telling that is important.
The stories are important because they are alive. They live in the teller. The spoken word brings life to events. Firsthand knowledge passed from teller to listener. These are not merely chronological events. Not data to be stored and retrieved for information sake alone. These are happenings. Life changing, mind altering happenings. We hear and we learn. We see through the eyes of the one who’s gone before. We get to sample a piece of life not actually lived by us, yet amazingly and intricately a part of us.
Around a campfire or tucked into bed, on the boring stretch of highway or around the dinner table we tell what we know to each other. We teach one another about family and humanity, successes and mistakes, laughing and loving and living. We open up the stories of ourselves to find that we are wrapped up in the stories of others. Our common ground is found in our uniqueness. No one has our story, but everyone can tell a tale based on the one we just told. We were created decidedly different but absolutely dependent on one another. The stories we tell become our link to one another. A knowing as we are known.
An open invitation into the secret places of the heart. In open hearts we find a place of true community, pictures painted by the words of testimony. We come together to share ourselves with one another.
We learn about each other and that seems to draw us closer. Even the stories that are sad, or unlovely in some way seem to draw us in. We accept the vulnerability of the teller. We get a glimpse of who they were at that time. We also begin to recognize the similarities and differences between the teller then and now. We actually get a picture of their lives.
As we listen to the story we find that the voice imparts a color to the tale. Body language brings a depth to the story that cannot be given to a written page. Excitement or hesitation paints hills and valleys as memories draw details for the listeners to see. The true beauty of the tale emerges through the telling. We find that this picture can never be reproduced in exactly the same way. This is a precious gift. It cannot be taken back. Once spoken it is a timeless, priceless, endless treasure.
We have shared a part of one another and we find that these pictures truly are worth a thousand words.