sentence to story

Sandy Foundation

NOTE: In honor of leaving for vacation today, I thought a beach themed story was apropos!


“Ronnie, slow down,” Teresa yelled out. All of her girlfriends online said she was going to love Manner Beach. The beautiful water. The great shopping. The exciting night life. And most importantly…

The guys!

Teresa had recently graduated high school and saved for this special trip. To treat herself.  It had been everything all her friends said it would be.

Her feet fumbled through the sand as she caught up to her companion. They had met two hours ago at one of the piers. They talked, he bought her drinks and the night seemed to stand still.

“I know a great spot on the other side of the dune,” Ronnie said. Tall. Muscular. Not overly handsome, but good looking. More than anything he had a great personality. He reeled her in with his easy going manner and ability to not hog the conversation.

“I just finished my first year at college.  I’m down here with some friends hoping to meet somebody special,” he had said, his eyes twinkling.  A college man…her mother would kill her.

Teresa got over the dune to find Ronnie with his shirt off and a beach towel nestled on the sand. She stopped, sinking slightly. The wind caught her hair and she moved it out of the way. The waves crashed, the stars were high, and the clamor of the crowd was muffled slightly by the tall, sporadic grass.

They were alone.

Heart pounding, she slowly walked over to him. She had never done anything like this before. Sure, she had boyfriends in high school…two to be exact. But it wasn’t overly serious. She knew them, their families…it was innocent, teenage stuff.

This!  This was forbidden, spur of the moment, emotion. The only thing she knew about Ronnie was standing in front of her.  That’s all she needed to know.

He reached out his hand as she got close. She took it and gently laughed, a warm feeling running up her spine. “I’m glad we met tonight,” he said, quietly, honestly. “I would like to get to know you more, if that’s okay?”

“I think I’m okay with that,” she said, leaning in to him. He pulled her close, put his arms around her, resting on the small of her back. They kissed. Slow, deliberate, exciting.

I can’t believe this is happening. Nobody will EVER believe me!

Ronnie gently bent toward the towel and Teresa followed. Her head gently landed on the cloth, the warm sand forming around her. Ronnie kept his balance, one hand next to her cheek and the other elbow on the towel.

They stopped kissing briefly. He paused to look at her and she held his gaze.

Maybe he thinks I won’t go through with it. Maybe he is changing his mind.

“I’m okay with this. It’s what I want,” she said softly.

Ronnie smiled and straddled her. He gently grabbed both of her hands, sliding his fingers between hers. He moved her arms behind her head. “I was hoping you would say that,” he replied. “It makes it easier.”

Wow…those eyes!

She held his gaze, waiting for him to act. But he sat there, staring at her. His eyes began to change. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice deeper.

About what?

She cocked her head slightly, trying to still smile, as his grip on her hands intensified, holding them tight against the sand. His smiled faded and was replaced with an uninterested look, a grim look. She watched in horror, her pulse rising, as his eyes turned from sea blue to savage red. Not just his eyes, the entire socket, started to glow with an unearthly brightness.

What are you doing? Let me go!

The words were present, but no sound came out of her mouth. She tried to scream, but her open lips did not impart her plea for help. As his eyes continued to intensify, she felt a pounding presence in the back of her neck, running over her scalp. She was sinking. Literally sinking into the pulsating sand that was now covering her arms and ankles.

Tears welled in her fright stricken eyes as the sand started to fill her mouth.

Please stop! Please! Her eyes pleading, choking.  The guy she knew as Ronnie was in a trance, watching her slowly fall beneath the sand. She could not hear anything, only the pounding in her head and the sand filling her ears, her nose, every portion of her body.

Finally, blackness, and she was gone.

Ronnie’s eyes slowly changed back to normal as the last corner of the beach towel made it’s way under. With some amount of effort, he pried his hands and legs out from the sand. Standing, he turned his head to the side, his neck cracking. The expression on his face returned to the easy-going, laid back, interesting guy he had been earlier.

Taking a deep breath, he set off jogging over the dune, back toward the crowd.


Technical Difficulties

NOTE: In lieu of my problems with Blogger lately (which is finally fixed), I figured this was appropriate.


Thank you for using ‘Glogle Boggler’ support chat.  Please type your first name in the space below and the Boggler site you have a question about and press ‘ENTER’.  A support representative will be with you shortly…

ME: Chris…


ROBERT: Thank you for using support chat, Chris.  How can I be of service to you today?

ME: I haven’t been to my blog in over a month and when I went today, it was all messed up and the text and pictures were wrong.  I haven’t changed anything recently and wanted to know if there is something I need to do to fix it or if it’s a problem on your end?

ROBERT: Certainly, I can help you with that.  If I understand you correctly, you are having a problem with your Boggler account?

ME: Uh…yeah, that’s why we’re chatting.  Can you check on your end to see what is wrong?

ROBERT: One moment while I pull up your website…

[4 minutes later]

ME: Hey, Robert…you there.

[2 minutes later]

ME: Hello?!?

ROBERT: Thank you for your patience, Chris.  If you could please verify a working email address for our records.


[3 minutes later]

ME: Did you find anything?

[6 minutes later]

ROBERT: Thank you for your patience, Chris.  That email matches our records. Could you please also verify a working phone number in case a representative needs to talk to you directly?

ME: 804-777-6666

[4 minutes later]

ME: I don’t mean to be rude, but I only have a certain amount of time remaining.  Can you please help me with my website problem?  If not, is there a number I can call.

[2 minutes later]

ROBERT: Thank you for your patience, Chris.  That phone number matches our records. Please hold while I connect you to a live customer service representative.  They will be able to better assist you with your account.

ME: What!?!  I’m talking to you live.  Are you kidding me!!!!

You have been pre-qualified by ROBERT (Robotic Online Boggler Evaluation Resource Technology) to have a genuine Boggler service problem.  


Sticky Situation

“Where did you get that candy bar?” Danielle asked her five year old son, Thomas.

Thomas looked up from his car seat, chocolate lining his lips, and slowly placed his hand with the wrapper behind his back.  He did not answer.

Danielle stood in the opening of the van door, the sun beating down and the groceries getting warm.  A drop of sweat ran down her cheek.  “I asked you where did you get that candy from?”

“It’s mine.  I found it,” Thomas said, wide eyed.  His grip on the candy tightened as it started to squish in his hands.

“You found it?  Right!  Come on,” Danielle said, picking him up and putting him on the pavement.  Thomas held on to the candy tight in between sobs and screams.

As the automatic doors opened, the realization set in for Thomas: he wouldn’t get to finish his candy bar.  With his mother dragging him to the customer service desk, he was able to cram the last bit of chocolaty goodness into his mouth.

Danielle found a manager sitting behind the counter.  Thomas’ hands and face were covered in chocolate.

“May I…help you,” the man said, reluctantly, noticing the messy boy.

Flipping the hair out of her face and still trying to hold on to Thomas, she said, “I am so sorry, but while I was shopping my son took a candy bar without paying for it.  I am really so sorry.”

The manager looked down at Thomas, covered in goo, and then back to Danielle.  “Well that is very honest of you.  I am sure the young man meant no harm.”

Danielle ignored the manager and prodded Thomas, “Thomas, you look at the manager and tell him you’re sorry.”

Thomas put his best frown on for the man behind the counter, though he didn’t feel bad for taking the candy. “I’m sorry,” he said meekly.

The manager smiled and beamed at Thomas,  “Thank you so much young man.  I imagine little ones take things all the time, but it’s not often anymore they come back to apologize.  You are a very good little man.”

Thomas’ demeanor changed at the praise.  It felt like he had done the right thing in taking the candy, at least that’s how the man made him feel.

“How much do I owe you?” Danielle asked.

“Don’t worry about it,” the man replied.  “I’ll take care of it.”

“That’s very kind of you, thank you,” Danielle said, grabbing Thomas again and heading for the restroom to clean him up.

Once inside, she lowered the diaper changing station and sat him on it.  “Don’ touch anything, you’re a mess.”
She got some paper towels and ran them under the water.  She turned back around and saw Thomas sitting happily on the changing station, taking a bite of another candy bar.

Mouth agape, she searched for words, but none came.  Thomas took another bite and smiled, saying with a mouth full of sweetness, “When I finish, can I go say sorry again?”

Danielle sighed and started cleaning up her little boy.

Check the Box

Henry wiped his palms on his jeans a couple of times to clear the sweat.  He slid the paper from off his desk and held it in his lap while the teacher was still teaching.  It was secret.  Very secret.

The better part of a week had been spent ditching cartoon time, basketball with his friends, and even a trip to the ice cream store when he brought home good grades at the end of first semester.  Being in the third grade, it was his first time getting real grades – which were all good – but it didn’t matter.  Henry only had two things on his mind recently.

Valentines day.

Jennifer Markson.

The time had come.  Sure, he had brought the mandatory cards and treats for all the other students in class, but he had a special surprise for Jennifer.  In a matter of minutes it would be time for lunch.  He had it all planned.

“Okay everybody, put your books inside your desk and go to your cubby and get your lunch bags,” the teacher said.  There was a flurry of activity.  Henry tried to remain calm.

He walked slow, maneuvering to be the last to leave the class.  Holding his lunch sack, Henry watched as the class lined up for the door.

“If you are the last one out Henry, be sure to turn the light out and close the door,” the teacher said.


Pacing himself past Jennifer’s desk, he slipped the note inside; not too far in where she couldn’t see it.  Taking a deep breath, he turned off the light and closed the door.

Thirty minutes later from the back of the line in the hallway, he watched everyone hustle into class, still rambunctious from the lunchroom chatter.  He failed to spot Jennifer, who was towards the front of the line and had already gone back into the room.  As much as he wanted to watch her open it, he would be too embarrassed.  It was better if he lingered behind to give her time to find it.

Once inside, he made his way to his desk, head down.  Why was his heart pounding?

“Okay everyone,” the teacher started, “get your books back out and open back to the same page.”

Henry reached inside for his book.  When he pulled it out a piece of paper fell to the floor.  It looked just like his note to Jennifer.  Maybe he waited outside too long.  Maybe she already found his note, read it, replied, and stuck it back in his desk.

He wiped his palms on his jeans, again, slowly opened the note, started to read and then…stopped.  Confused, he looked down at the note again:

Will u be my valentine?
Check the box…
YES ___    No___
Luv, Jennifer

It must have been a joke.  One of his friends must have seen him writing his note to Jennifer and was playing a prank.

He took a breath and slowly turned to look at Jennifer.  She was looking right at him, holding his note.   Henry couldn’t breath.

Finally, she smiled the smile he had grown to love and nodded her head, then giggled a little.  Henry felt like he would explode.  She then pointed to him, or at the note he was holding, and seemed to want a response.   She had left the note for him.

Henry looked away, back toward the front of the room, and gave a quick nod, blushing.


I am fairly certain mirrors are supposed to reflect reality.  But mine must be broken.  It’s been broken for a while now.  Every morning I see the same thing – fiction, fantasy, pretend…whatever you want to call it.  I haven’t seen anything resembling reality since…

“Hurry up,” comes the loud voice through the speaker above me.

I close my eyes to try and find some peace – anything resembling peace – but it never comes.

I turn, looking over my shoulder, right into the camera on the wall.  It stares back, lifeless.


One day, I will know the truth.

One day, I will fight back.

One day, it will all make sense…again.

“Thirty seconds,” the voice says, impatient.

I reach my hand – or what used to be my hand – to the side of the mirror.  My metal finger presses the button on the wall, which starts to blink.  I take a step closer onto the round, painted circle on the floor, closing my eyes.  I think my eyes are real.  They told me they are real.

A tiny beeping begins and I feel the pinchers (what I call them) coming in around me, wrapping and covering, pulling and twisting, all at lightning speed.  I forget where I am for a moment, trying to remember the time I was not inhuman, when I did not need some type of skin to feel human.


I open my eyes and see me, or what’s supposed to be me.  Maybe the only reason I give in and don’t fight – why I let them do this to me day in and day out – is because it does help me feel real.  I know it’s not, but looks can be deceiving.

My looks also only last for the day.  Long enough to let them study and probe, prod and evaluate.  Then I am brought back here, de-skinned, powered down and rested for the night.  Do I even need rest?

“Time to go,” the voice calls.

One last look in the mirror and I know it’s only a matter time before I grow impatient.  Only a matter of time before I decide to make my own reality.

A Better Understanding

Eric reluctantly walked into Mr. Walker’s class.

“I’m glad you decided to stay for detention instead of making it worse,” Mr. Walker said, looking up from his desk.  Eric walked past his seat in the front row to the back of the room and sat down, not responding.  Mr. Walker looked at Eric, as if to say something, but he went back to working on his papers.

“Well, I’m here,” Eric said, throwing his hands up.  “You won.  Give me some work or something.”

Mr. Walker put his pen down, picked up a stack of papers on his desk, and stood up.  “I’m just trying to help you, Eric.  It’s not my…”

“Look, I don’t need your help,” Eric said defensively.

Year after year, school after school, teacher after teacher, that’s all he was…someone that needed help.  Another project.  Another young man from the streets that some stuck up, well bred, college educated teacher could help in order to make themselves feel better over dinner conversations with their friends.  Only four weeks into school and Eric had already been suspended once for fighting and a handful of detentions for tardies and mouthing off.

Eric knew he had problems.  They were his problems.   He didn’t need anybody to fix him.  He didn’t want anybody to try.

Mr. Walker stopped at the front of the row.  “Look, Eric.  I’m not sure why you went off today in my class.  I didn’t push Vice-Principal Harmon to give you a suspension, cause missing school doesn’t do you any good.  I think you are capable of the work.  I just want to try and understand a little more what I can do…”

“You don’t need to understand anything,” Eric snapped.  “All you need to do is give me my work and leave me alone.”

Mr. Walker looked, again, like he wanted to say something.  It seemed Mr. Walker always wanted to say something.  Like there was something on his mind that he needed to share with Eric, but never did.

Just give me the stupid work, Mr. Walker.  Don’t try to figure me out.  You don’t know me.  You don’t know nothing about me.

Mr. Walker took off his glasses, wiped them on the back of his tie and put them back on.

Don’t say anything else Mr. Walker.  Just let me be.

“Look Eric, I just…”

“Damn it, man,” Eric said, standing, pushing the desk aside and starting down the row.  “Why can’t you just let me be.  I told you, I don’t need your help and I don’t want your help.”.

Mr. Walker stood his ground at the end of the row, but made room so Eric could pass.

“I can’t let you be Eric, because I care.  Why is that so hard for you to believe?” Mr. Walker asked.  Eric felt a hint of sincerity, but his anger let it slide.

“Ain’t no way you have any clue what I’m going through.  You can’t even pretend to know anything about me,” Eric said, stopping short of the door, moving closer to Mr. Walker.  “Just leave me…”

“Sorry to drop in on you honey, but we…” a lady said walking into the classroom.  “Oh my goodness, I am so sorry.  I didn’t know you would have a student with you.”

“It’s no problem.  Pam, this is one of my students, Eric, we were just talking about some assignments he is working on,” Mr. Walker said.  Eric stood, speechless.  He looked at Mr. Walker and again at Mr. Walker’s wife.  It didn’t add up.

Pam reached out her hand, “Oh, so this is Eric.  My husband has mentioned you a few times.  He’s excited about teaching you this year.”

Eric extended his hand out of reflex.  What was she talking about, ‘Excited about teaching you this year?’  As Eric shook her hand, feeling the touch of her skin that was the same as his, he felt a ping of guilt.  He had felt a lot of emotions in the recent past, but he didn’t remember feeling guilt.  It felt different, real.  “It’s nice to meet you,” he replied, letting go.

Pam turned to leave, “I’ll let you guys get back to what you were doing.  I’ll wait in the faculty lounge for you.  Sorry to interrupt.”

“It’s no problem.  I shouldn’t be too much longer,” Mr. Walker said.  “Besides,” he added, looking at Eric, “I think your visit was the pause our conversation needed to help us…refocus the discussion.”

Eric looked at Mr. Walker’s wife and then back to Mr. Walker, nodding.  After his wife left, Mr. Walker turned to Eric and waited.

After a short pause, Eric quietly made his way to his seat in the front row, Mr. Walker handed him the stack of papers, and Eric started on his work.

Happy New Year?


The sound slowly woke Hunter.  

It echoed in his ears, his head pulsing with pain.  He tried to open his eyes, but couldn’t.  Sweaty and fully dressed, he lay in his bed on top the covers, the sun beating in through the windows.

“Ugh,” he moaned, reaching up to the nightstand to grab his phone.  His fingers searched the dirty shelf, locating it.  Slowly, he brought the screen to his face.  Why did his head hurt?  Why was he still dressed?

“Ow-ow-ow,” he continued, rolling on his back, pulling the blanket up over his face to shield it from the light.   His eyes blinked open to bring the small screen into view.
“What the…?”
Hunter sat up, burped, and felt like he would be sick.  The waft of alcohol and vomit coming off of him was strong.  Fingers pushing buttons furiously, he started reading through the messages.
From his friend, Steve…haha – just saw you on the news…way to go!

From a girl in his class, Kara…Seriously dude, I knew you were crazy, but you should win an award for THAT…
From another girl at school, Melissa…didn’t your mom teach you any manners…one thing to be funny, but that was just gross…AND ON TV.  Good luck getting into college, moron!

His mind raced – last night, last night, last night…what happened?  His parents were going to a work party for his dad.  He was going to Brent’s.  At least that’s what he told them.  They wanted him home by 1am.  He didn’t go to Brent’s.  He was sweating even more.
A few more messages, from his best friend, Kyle…I told you not to do it.  so don’t come blaming me.  have your parents seen yet?  CALL ME!!!

From Steve again…NICE, someone has it up on Youtube now.  You are lagit man, for real.  already at like 2k views, and it’s only been a few hours.  #rockstar

There was a link.  Hunter pressed it.  He turned his phone sideways and waited for the the video to load.  He looked at the view count; it was now up to 10,000.  When it loaded, a news reporter stood on a busy street corner, people all around her.  
She started the broadcast, “This is Holly Madsen in downtown with other revelers waiting for midnight to arrive in just under a minute.  Everyone around me seems in high spirits and ready for the New Year.”
“Holy crap,” he whispered, some memory coming back.  They went to Brent’s, but then they took his car, picked up some friends and went downtown.  His parents had told him to stay away from down town.  Brent took some booze from his parents house and they partook to celebrate the New Year.  
Then he saw himself in the video.  Standing right behind the reporter.  He was right there, next to his buddies.    The reporter continued, “Everyone around, help me count down the New Year.”  
The crowd cheered behind her…”10…9…8…7…6…5…4…” 
Hunter watched in horror as he pushed his way up through the crowd, closer to the reporter. 
She continued to smile and yell with the crowd around her.  On the video, Hunter’s mouth wasn’t moving, but his eyes were fixed on the reporter.
“…and one.  Happy New Year!” she shouted, and as soon as she did, Hunter lunged in and gave her a sloppy kiss on the lips.
The reporters face turned quickly to disgust as she stepped back.  The crowd around screamed, egging Hunter on.  Hunter smiled and whooped back to the crowd.  
“Oh no,” he said as he watched himself go in for another smooch.  As he leaned in again he puked all over her.
“Noooooo!” he screamed from his bed and put his hands to his mouth.  The reporter screamed and some in the crowd laughed, others looked ill.  His friends grabbed him quickly and they raced off screen before the video went black.
He lay in bed, helpless, unsure what to do.  There was a knock at the door.
“Hey, Hunter, you okay?”
“Uh…yeah, mom.  Just,” he stammered, wiping his brow, “not feeling so hot.”
“Okay.  Well, Dad and I are going to get breakfast made.  Come on down when you feel like it and tell us about last night.  If it was anything like ours, I bet you had a blast.  Happy New Year!”
“Ha-ha…okay,” he said, dropping his phone in his lap, and putting his head in his hands.

The Best Present

Daddy, you are so silly!

As she read the words, a shutter of remembrance caused a chill, then a tug at her breath.

Then tears.

Wiping her cheek on the back of her sweater, she repositioned herself.  She had been huddled on the couch for two days, wearing the same pajamas.   No work, no calls. no going out.  All she had time for – all she wanted to do – was to go through the box of belongings her father had left her.

There had been moments of deep sadness, wonderful laughter, and curious uncertainty.   It had been a week since since she got the call and three days since the funeral, yet she still wouldn’t admit that he was truly gone.

She picked the diary back up and began again.

December 18th

Today is my little girl’s birthday.  She is so cute.  I love getting up for work in the morning because I’m usually up before anybody else, but by the time I’m out of the shower and dressed and back in the kitchen…there she is.  In her fuzzy jammies, waiting for a hug.  That tangled hair and bright smile.  It makes my day.

When I saw her this morning she was so giggly and I grabbed her and said, in a monster voice, ‘Why are you so giggly?’

‘Daddy, you know why!’

Hmm, I pretended.  ‘Is it because you have frogs in your breeches?” 

She laughed and laughed and I tickled her.

‘Daddy, you are so silly!’

She stopped and, though she was laughing, the tears fell even harder than before.  It was coming back.  Not the exact images, but flashes, glimpses.  Little presents to help her remember.

The phone rang and she wiped her eyes again.  She knew it was her mom checking in on her.  She closed the diary and held it close.  “Thank you,” she whispered, before placing it next to the other memories that her father had taken the time to create for her.

This story is dedicated to my little Jordan (who is not quite so little anymore) on her 6th birthday.  She always likes to tell me just how “silly” I am.  I love you fluffy girl!

Pit Stop (Sentence to Story #17)

It had been a long drive with plenty of time and solitude in which to contemplate his next course of action.  

The two lane road seemed to go on forever.  As soon as Tom would speed up, another small town would appear, bringing him back to a crawl, and then back to full speed again.  He was low on gas and
needed to stop, but even the small town stations had too many eyes.  Passer byers impatiently pumping gas and locals sitting on newsstands talking about last night’s football game.

Last night.  

Thirteen hours and six hundred plus miles later and it already seemed like forever ago.  No sleep, no food, and not a clue what to do next.  It was time to stop.

Pulling into the mom and pop, one pump store, dust filled the air behind him.  He opened the door to see the corn fields sprawled out on the other side of the street.

A clerk looked out of the window and waved.  Tom ignored him, uncapped the tank and put the hose in the hole.  The clerk tapped the window and pointed to the pump.  Tom turned and looked at the pump: ‘Must pay before pumping.’

He sighed, left the hose in the car, and slowly walked into the store.

Howdy stranger,” the middle-aged man behind the counter said.  “For a while I didn’t know if I was going to get any business today.”

Tom smiled at him and headed to the snack aisle.

Just shutup and let me get my stuff and leave.

“Been pretty weather we’ve had lately.  Usually we have more travelers on a Saturday.”

Tom ignored him, grabbing a bag of chips and a soft drink.  He took a deep breath and reached inside the jacket he was wearing for the wallet.

“How much gas you need today?” the clerk asked as Tom opened the wallet.  

No cash.  Dammit.

“Uh, I guess about thirty bucks worth,” Tom said, fumbling in the wallet, looking for a credit card, trying to hide his hands and wrists as much as possible.

The clerk nodded, rang up the gas, chips and soda.  “That’ll be thirty-three thirty-three.  Huh, that’s pretty funny,” he said, with a slight chuckle.

Tom tensed.  “What’s so funny?”

“The numbers,” the clerk said pointing, “they came up the same at the front and the back.”    Tom took another deep breath and leaned in to hand the credit card over.  When he did, the light shining through the front door glared off the metal on his wrist, into the clerks eyes.

The clerk squinted and raised his hands to block it.  “That’s some bracelet you got there, jeesh.”  Tom dropped the card on the counter and quickly put his hands in his pocket.  

“Sorry about that,” Tom said.

The clerk took the card and ran it.  


The clerk pulled it through the machine again.


The clerk looked at the card and back at Tom.  “I’m sorry Mr. Wayne Nelson, but it’s declining your card for some reason.  You got another one I can use.”

I need something to eat.  I need gas to keep driving.  I need something to go my way.

Tom tried to smile it off and thought for a minute, considering the options.

“Look, I’m really sorry mister, it happens sometimes.”  

I’m not going back to prison.

There was only one option left.  Tom reached into the inside of his jacket, slowly.  “I think I might have another card or some money, just one second.”


“Oh, wait,” the clerk said, peering down at the card machine.  A strand of yellow paper spit out of the top.  “Huh, it worked, how about that.  Must be running slow.”

Tom grabbed the food and the card quickly.  When he did, the handcuffs that had been cut in half were exposed on his wrist, just briefly.  He looked up at the clerk, who was still shaking his head, amazed at the credit card machine.

“Man, it’s never waited that long to run a card.  Must be your lucky day, mister.”

“No, it’s yours,” Tom said, and left.

First sentence of this story submitted by Toni S.  

Tough Sell (Sentence to Story #16)

“Give me the remote, honey,” Will said to his young daughter.  She did not hear him over the drowning noise of cartoons a foot from her face glaring off the television.

“Gracie…Gracie,” he said, sitting down on the couch.

She turned around.

“I said hand me the remote please.”

Her face fell.  “Oh please daddy, don’t change it.”

“You’ve had all morning to watch cartoons.  It’s time to turn on the parade,” he said, motioning for her to bring him the remote.

“The what?” she asked, crawling to him with the remote.

“The Thanksgiving day parade.  It started a few minutes ago.”  The television flickered through the channels and finally landed on the right station.  Gracie looked at it curiously.  “Daddy, what’s a parade?”

“What?” he said with a chuckle of disbelief.

She looked back at him.  “What’s a parade?  Is it fun to watch?”

Is it fun to watch?

His mind quickly raced to Thanksgiving’s passed.  Did it matter if it was fun?  It was part of Thanksgiving.  As much a part of the holiday as turkey, or football, or leaves.  It was tradition.   Did it really matter if it was fun?  It was the Thanksgiving day parade!

Looking at his daughter he tried to assess the best way to approach it.  Listening to the two broadcasters talking about the lineup for the day’s events, he realized it wasn’t going to be easy.

“Come here, Gracie,” he said, pulling her up into his lap.  “You don’t remember watching this last Thanksgiving?”

She shook her head.

“Okay, well…a parade is a bunch of people that get together on floats and they dress them up with neat stuff and they go down the street and…”

He could tell he had already lost her.

“Um…” He kept thinking, trying to figure out how to explain it and then finally it came.  A wide smile of satisfaction came across his face.

“I know, Gracie.  A parade is just like a cartoon.  It has silly things in it and lots of colors and different characters.  Sometimes it even has music or songs.  But only it’s a cartoon that has real people in it.”

She looked at the screen and then back to him.  “Will you watch it with me?”

He gave her a nice, big hug.  “I certainly will.”