Thursday, May 14, 2009
Ping Pong Balls in a Rubber Room with Some Dirty Parts
Do I have your attention? Oh, good. Life’s been crazy, and the inside of my head feels like a rubber room full of ping pong balls: lots of ideas bouncing around in random, pointless directions without rhyme or reason, purposeless, confusing and confused, rattling around without going anywhere, hollow, rambling….See what I mean? So after last week’s lengthy comedy of errors, I offer you a short story with some dirty parts. I hope you enjoy it.
Yesterday, I volunteered in Jack’s kindergarten class, which is celebrating Right to Read Week. His teacher asked parents to share their favorite book from childhood with the class.
Regular readers of Questioning know I don’t have favorite books. As far as I am concerned, the whole idea of “favorite books” is simply silly. The world of literature is rich and full and beautiful. Picking favorites is cruel, and I’ll not do it. Instead, I picked a random book off the shelf that I remember loving as a child—A Harry the Dirty Dog Treasury—and dashed off to kindergarten.
I bought this modern reprint a few years ago. Nick loved it, but Jack found its complete lack of Thomas the Tank Engine disappointing and never paid attention when I read it at home. I didn’t care. There were twenty-two other children in his class. Some of them were bound to appreciate the likeable white dog with black spots.
Sitting on a rocker in front of twenty-three children, I pointed out the title of the book and explained to the class that the book had three Harry stories in it, and that we were not reading the Dirty Dog story, but the story called No Roses for Harry.
The reading went well. Even Jack sat riveted by the wonderful illustrations and my dramatic reading. When I finished, Jack asked:
“Mommy, can you read the dirty parts.”
Laughing hysterically at your son in front of twenty-two of his friends is NEVER a good idea. I bit my lip and then asked, “Do you want me to read Harry the Dirty Dog, Jack?” He and the other children said yes.
I looked toward the teacher for permission. She smiled and said I could read another story. Then, in an aside to me, she added, “Just skip the dirty parts.”