recess radio program

02/14/07
Mistletoe and Valentines
    by Lola Haskins

Valentine's Day this year brings back memories of our last holiday season, when my five-year-old granddaughter found out that if she went around the house holding a sprig of mistletoe over her head, she'd get kisses. Now since Ava likes her kisses, and this was the most sure-fire way yet to get all she wanted, she wasn't about to give them up just because her mother threw the mistletoe away after Christmas, especially not when she knew where it had come from -- a wild plum growing a ways down the pasture from her house. So she decided to get more, first mistletoe, then kisses.

She started by drawing herself a map, so she wouldn't get lost on the way. The map consisted of a picture of the back door, two more or less parallel lines, and a tree at the bottom. She made a copy of it so her little sister would have one too, in case they got separated, and she tucked one into her pants and the other into Lydia's diaper. And the two of them got ready to set out on the road to high adventure.First, of course, she had to tell her mother, D'Arcy, who was sitting on the front porch at the time.

Having announced where she and Lydia were going, Ava turned to go back inside. D'Arcy said you don't need to go inside, why don't you just go around the house? But Ava wasn't having any of that. Her map started at the back door, and so would she. D'Arcy was curious about this latest show of independence. If they made it to the plum tree, it would be the farthest from home Ava, who usually demanded grown-up company, had gone alone. So D'Arcy went inside and watched out the window to see if the children would turn back. They didn't.

Every few steps though, Ava would drop Lydia's hand and consult the map. Finally, she seemed to have determined they were on the right track and they started marching (and toddling) downhill. D'Arcy thought all this was sweet, as you can imagine, but she had her doubts as to whether they'd be successful because the mistletoe they'd found at Christmastime was growing well beyond Ava's reach, even if she climbed the tree. And since Ava, like most five year olds, tends not to be philosophical about defeat, D'Arcy was bracing herself for a meltdown. But she needn't have worried. In a few minutes, the two of them came triumphantly back, each of them holding a good sprig of mistletoe over her head, and D'Arcy and the rest of us have been happily obliging them with kisses ever since.

Copyright 2007 Lola Haskins

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Friday, 02-Feb-2007 20:15:44 EST


"Recess!" is a co-production of the University of Florida's Center for Children's Literature and Culture and WUFT-FM, "Classic 89."