Hotstuff: Seeing through a kid's eyes
Having a holiday once a year that reminds all of us in this country to be thankful for our many blessings is a good thing. But it’s really not hard to find something to be thankful for every day. Some days, it’s something as unexpected as a story our second-grade granddaughter wrote about a good deed she witnessed or a friend describing how her autistic 3-year-old is able to “read” this magazine by recognizing words and images he is learning in pre-kindergarten that top my things-to-be-thankful-for list.
When our granddaughter Sarah’s class at Union Christian Academy recently was assigned to write about something interesting or fun they recently had enjoyed doing, she wrote about her mom and dad, Sunday and Greg Leding, taking her to the Sebastian County Fair in Greenwood. Sarah readily admits animals are “pretty much” her favorite thing and her favorite TV channel is Animal Planet. So, I wasn’t surprised she wrote about some of the animals she saw and got to pet at the fair, including a rare panda cow and a beautiful young bull his owner named Frosty – “because the grayish-white markings on his brown coat look like frost,” Sarah informed me.
Although Sarah enjoys a good steak as much as anyone else I know, she was sad to hear that Frosty’s young owner was upset when it came time to let the bull he had helped raise from its birth be auctioned at the fair to be turned into steaks, roasts and hamburger. But then ... well, you can read the happy ending to Sarah’s short story below, which she gave me permission to print:
Mom and dad drove me to the Sebastian Fair. I saw a Panda Cow. There’s only 25 left! And they’re short. Then I saw goats. One was short, really short! Then I petted it. Then somebody asked me to ride their bull but they sold it and it was going to be killed. I rode him his name was Frosty but we saved him! Somebody else bought him that wouldn’t kill him! And you can ride him like a horse.
I am delighted that most of or our 11 grandchildren like to write and that all of them enjoy reading. And, so does the son of my good friend and neighbor Vanessa Fry.
Garon, the very bright, active 3-year-old son of Vanessa and her husband, Dustin, has an autism spectrum disorder. But he is always eager to read and learn something new with his classmates at Kibois pre-K classes in Arkoma.
“We read at home together every day, too, and he especially enjoys reading ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ – a book he reads every day at school and never gets tired of,” Vanessa told me. “One afternoon last month when I had to quit reading with him so I could start dinner, I saw him pick up the ‘E’ magazine you had given me that day. To my surprise, he started calling out names of animals he had been reading about in his ‘Brown Bear’ book.”
So, she grabbed a marker and started circling the images Garon was pointing out in our magazine’s stories and ads.
“He found a red bird, yellow duck, white dog and goldfish. He also spotted a horse and a cat, even though they weren’t the same color as the blue horse and purple cat in his book,” Vanessa explained. “He also found several women similar to the moms with kids pictured in his ‘Brown Bear’ book, except his picks all had short hair like mine. He forgets nothing, which can be good or bad. I think he may be turning Entertainment Fort Smith into his own ‘Where’s Waldo.’”
The only images Garon couldn’t find in our magazine similar to those in his favorite book were a black sheep, a green frog and a brown bear. If his mom keeps letting him “read” us, he may even spot those in future issues.
Sometimes its takes noticing the little things our children, and grandchildren, enjoy to remind us of how blessed we still are to live in America – and how much we have to be thankful for. My blurred but happy memory of Thanksgiving Day last year is getting to visit briefly with my husband and some of our children and grandchildren during the earliest days of my battle with multiple myeloma cancer at UAMS hospital in Little Rock.
This year, being alive and at home with my husband as I regain my health with the help of loving family members, friends, co-workers and care givers tops my things-to-be-thankful-for list – which is a very long list, indeed.