Some parents can’t make up stories for their children no matter how hard they try, while others realize that the story doesn’t have to be good—it only needs to keep going. Morris used to tell his three boys long stories about animals. There were dialogues between horses and cats, dogs and rabbits, and monkeys and birds. The animals spent a lot of time visiting each other. Sometimes they met new animals, and they might go to the playground or build a snow animal together. Each story was different but all of them ended with Morris asking: “And what do you think the little bird said? ‘Good morning merry sunshine!’”
Later, Morris told them stories about his own father, who was called a ne’er-do-well—a name they gave people in those days instead of irresponsible or unstable. This father was a contractor who would start a job and then disappear, leaving fifteen-year-old Morris in charge, and the boss of men twice his age. Morris told his own boys how much he’d adored his ne’er-do-well father, who always told an interesting story about what had happened to him when he finally returned. Morris never held anything against him.
When Morris’s sons were grown, they went off on adventures. Morris didn’t approve of adventures because of his ne’er-do-well father, but he tried to understand when one son built a cabin in northern British Columbia while another volunteered in a dangerous inner city. He did like hearing their stories when they came home for a visit. One year on Morris’s birthday, two of his sons were away. Without consulting each other, and almost at the same moment, each son sent him a telegram with a long animal story that ended: “And what do you think the little bird said? ‘Good morning merry sunshine!’”
Copyright © Leora Freedman 2016
***If you have something to say, or a story to share, our comments page is the place to leave it!