Saturday, November 24, 2012

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time ...

I love those words.  To me they represent the great joy of story telling. And if anything is forever & intricately woven into the fabric of my childhood, it's story telling; when slipper-shod feet would scurry up the stairs for a nightly tuck-in & bedtime saga. 

On the heals of my scamper was my dad.  Often he'd give me a head start in order to hide (in one of my usual 3 or 4 "secret" places).  Then, with great flare & drama he would woefully call to me ... "Where is she?  Where is my Kathy?  I can't find her anywhere!"  He would then proceed to look in the most unlikely places for me - a dresser drawer, or out the window, or beneath the floor rug.   

His was a father's method for making our bedtime ritual fresh every night.  Upon discovery, he would overly fuss about having finally found me, all the while scooping me up to the sounds my giggles.  Fun as it was, I always knew the best was yet to come.

Once upon a time ...

As he nestled me into my bed covers, we'd settle down for a story - -either one he'd make up on-the-spot (with amazing antics, details & drama), or from a book of tales.  I adored Uncle Wiggily & Brer Rabbit.  In fact, I can still feel the heft of the large book that contained their stories. 

Once upon a time ... became the breathless segue to a world made vivid and real by my father's intonations - complete with facial expressions, sound effects & convincing assurances.

It has been said that I have a vivid imagination.  That is true.  On the positive side, it means I can readily envision goals, or easily craft plans & agendas & solutions to an array of challenges.  In my former business life, they called it creative problem solving.

On the negative side, it means I see bogeymen where none exist; or calculate trouble that never arrives.  I dream in color.  Mostly it's called fretting, or worry.

I suppose all of that has something to do with why I love being a mother & gandmother.  Each in turn, the babes born to our family have allowed me to practice & play out the scenes from my childhood; to utilize the vivid imagination that was - no doubt - born in the drama of my Father's storytelling.  I keep a stash of books for that very reason.  On occasion, when they're old enough to listen, I craft tales of my own design, just like my father did so long ago.  

Even today, a quiet hush comes over me when I hear those words:
Once upon a time ... far, far away ...

... God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth,
a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be
married to a man named Joseph,
a descendant of David.
The virgin’s name was Mary.
The angel went to her and said,
“Greetings, you who are highly favored!
The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and
wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
But the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary;
you have found favor with God. 
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you are to call him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called
the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give Him the throne of
his father David, and he will reign over
Jacob’s descendants forever;
his kingdom will never end.” 
~ Luke 1:26-33

I can hardly wait for the rest of the story ...


myletterstoemily said...

the first CHristmas post, and i love it. my
favorite story of all time! you had me at
"once upon a time . . . "

Debbie Petras said...

Oh, I loved this Kathleen! I am so glad you have a vivid imagination. It's great for story telling and good blog posts. :)

You might enjoy a movie I watched yesterday. It is called "The Magic of Belle Island" with Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen. A theme in the movie is imagination. I think you would enjoy it.

I can hardly wait for the end of the story too...


NanaNor's said...

Hi there dear friend, I didn't have quiet the same experiences you had with your dad reading you stories but I too have a very vivid imagination-like you often get scared easy. In fact a week ago my hubby was gone on a trip and I took our Hunter out to water the lawn, so to speak, and was talking to him and heard a very loud whistle that sounded like it was in my yard. In actuality it was probably on the street behind our homes but it scared the pants off me-I quickly ran inside and locked up all the house. Took me awhile to calm down. I too long to see the Lord's ending to His story.
Hugs today.

manthano said...

You make me want to be a kid again.

RCUBEs said...

Once upon a time...Just never ends, does it? Exciting post for a special time of the year...I love the ending though!

Denise said...

Would love to be a kid again. said...

Yet another reason our fathers would make fantastic friends. I spent many a night being tucked in with the most fantastic stories ever told by my daddy. When Nick and Colton were young, my daddy recorded many of his stories onto cassettes, affectionately entitled "From the Land of Nicholas" (volume one) and "From the Colton Mountains (volume two). Honestly, I'm not sure where they are, but I'm going on a hunt for them and making sure they're preserved for generations to come.

The greatest story-teller I know gave me my love and hunger for the greatest story ever told . . . ever believed!

And so we journey on toward Bethlehem.


Janette's Sage/Simply Your Decor said...

Amen...yes the greatest story ever told and yes, children's stories that ignite our imagination and I believe show us a piece of heaven...God with all his imagination created us and this world...may I never not enjoy the stories

Saleslady371 said...

What a great childhood memory and I love the Christmas Story too. I can just picture you reading it to your grandchildren!

Cheryl Barker said...

What wonderful memories you have of your dad and your bedtime rituals. He sounds like a very wise and loving man. What treasure he gave you!

Sonja said...

I'm smiling just picturing that 'young Kathleen'... along with your memories of your precious Father! How blessed we are to have been given the gift of homes with mom's and dad's such as yours and mine.

I hear your childhood being re-lived in your today world, and your dad was such a strong influence. I think I would have had a list of his words too! :)

beBOLDjen said...

What a joy that you are able to pass on to your grandchildren as you "play out". I smiled as I read your words, knowing your beloved grandchildren must feel the same way as they snuggle into your side for story time. I'm not sure there is anything sweeter. Well, except their spiritual heritage. God is good!

I didn't have those childhood experiences with my dad, and unfortunately sometimes that means I have to be a little more intentional about things I wish would come more naturally, but this post inspires me to gift more wonder to my children!

Just a little something from Judy said...

What spoke out to me as I read this post, is that our God knew Mary's heart and told her to "fear not". What a loving gesture to her, from a all-knowing God. He is still telling me that today, because He knows how easily we have fear over the unknown. I love this life-changing Christmas story, told beautifully in your unique way. It is a season filled with wonder and true joy.