Maybe you would like to read how this bedtime story began. You could check here –
Gran and Grandpa
“Aww, please Mum. Won’t you tell us a story for a change? Mum, it’s always us reading to the Knitty Gritty Kids–and we love that. We do.” Gran’s sweet old face looks anxious, screwed up with worry, as Grandpa chimes in, “Yes… what about us, Mum? Isn’t it our turn yet?”
How should I resist my old/new darlings? I’m putty in their hands and so I begin–THEIR story.
Despite their aged faces, Gran and Grandpa were only born a few years ago—with knitting needles, various balls of wool, a pattern and myself, a dedicated knitter eager to breathe life and character into them. I left the soul bit to a Higher Authority. With wisdom and grace Gran and Grandpa accept this end of Life.
“Age before Beauty,” they say. “The Spirit is Willing, but the Flesh falters somewhat these days.”
“We don’t want to ‘snuff it’ before fame comes our way… and that’s why we must be first,” they say. (And who am I to disagree?)
From Day One, Gran and Grandpa saw their role in Life to be watching over the Knitty Gritty Kids; teaching them wisdom and patience and respectful manners, too. Gran is The Good Manners Goddess. Every single mealtime (even at breakfast while the kids are still getting their eyes), you will hear Gran say…
“Sit up straight at the table, young lady. Do I have to put a ruler down your back?”
“Hand over the mouth when you yawn, dear. We need not see what you ate for breakfast.”
“No arguing or whining at the table–it curdles the milk.”
“DO NOT talk with food in your mouth–it’s perfectly disgusting.”
One memorable time in a flustered moment, she said, “DO NOT eat with food in your mouth!” The Knitty Gritty Kids first gasped – then giggled. Gran blushed that time!
Any elbows seen on the table while eating? Gran would say, “Elbows!” and point. Luckily the kids all have short, straight arms, so it’s one less ‘good manner’ to worry about.
And where is Grandpa while she teaches all these table manners? All he has to do is smile and pass them more of Gran’s delicious cooking. This gives him an excuse to have another helping himself. Gran pretends not to notice.
An adage says – ‘Be careful what you wish for… you just might get it’. With Gran’s dedication to Good Table Manners, she started the Knitty Gritty Kids off on the right path, requesting they give thanks for a meal, and ask permission to leave the table. She believed this would ensure small folk wouldn’t leave the table and return for another mouthful, and be off again and back again, and so forth and so forth. So Gran reasoned.
But the Knitty Gritty Kids (led by that rascal, Clarence the Clown) won this round. Every meal, they all wait for each other to finish, and then chant, in the most boring, sing-song way –
“Pl-e-a-s-e can we leave the t-a-b-l-e? And th-a-n-k y-o-u for t-e-a” (or break-f-a-s-t… or l-u-u-n-c-h).
And Gran and Grandpa have to sit there and grin through gritted teeth, and bear it – because this WAS what Gran wished for… wasn’t it?
Ahh dear! Here in bed I have to stop reading for a minute. Even though I only had one ‘voice’ to do I made it a funny sing-song one in a boring little up and down rhythm, and rolled my eyes in time. And now Jonjon and I laugh so much we almost fall out of bed. I’m not sure who’s getting the most fun out of this story.
Our Granny did such an impressive job creating these two characters. Don’t tell anybody, but I believe she used a pattern for a Mother and Father Christmas and combined it with a pattern for Humpty Dumpty – and sewed all the pieces back together again!
I take two deep breaths and deliberately DON’T meet Jonjon’s eyes. I will lose all if I do. The laughing will start, and we may not be able to stop this time. With great difficulty I continue the story. And we’re only in the middle of Chapter Three, the one about the dear little Gran and Grandpa characters she knitted!
Just because Gran is in her Sunday best, don’t be mistaken, don’t be misled. Gran is a marshmallow under her well-mannered outer face. A favourite place, doing an especially favourite thing, is reading to the most needy of the Knitty Gritty Kids – Sally and Sammy. But that’s another story.
Gran reads because she makes the best voices. Big, deep, growly ones (for wolves and bears and dinosaurs), and pretty, high, squeaky ones (for butterflies and princesses and fairies), and gruff, mean ones (for monsters and crooks and other grubby characters). Grandpa turns the pages so nobody misses even one word.
Gran and Grandpa love to cuddle the kids. It’s most important when each one first arrives–always in need of so much Tender Loving Care. All will need a wash, many require some repair, and for others, total replacements are necessary–even of essential body parts. It’s all part of the gentling these precious kids deserve after the horrors they’ve endured.
Gran interrupts my writing. As always, she’s keeping a most careful eye on everything. “We don’t enjoy thinking of their time before us,” she says and her chin quivers.
“We ONLY look FORWARD — “ says Grandpa, as Gran interrupts him. Her chin is firm now as she finishes his sentence for him. (She often does that these days – reckons he’s too slow!) “… to the best and happiest FUTURE that caring and kisses and cuddles—”
“…and reading cheerful stories out loud,” Grandpa rushes in to add that bit.
Gran frowns, but only for a moment and then she continues – “… can heal their worst wounds and fill their hearts with happiness once again.” And she nods.
Humph! Is it possible I somehow filled them with Love, instead of soft toy stuffing?
I close the book amid protests and growls and pleas. And bribes?? Really? I ignore all and tell Jonjon this is the perfect place to stop. Gran and Grandpa are such a wonderful example of the saying –
‘NEVER EVER OVERLOOK MATURE EXPERIENCE’
Because I know for a fact that Granny made these two many, many years ago especially to be the ones to look after the Small Knitty Gritty Kids in the ways they needed most… even when the Kids didn’t realise it themselves. That’s what ‘grandies’ do – all the time, all over the world. They have more time to spare when all their years of hard work are at an end. And there’s nothing ‘grandies’ love more than to spend as much time as possible with their children – and their grandkids. There is so much these charmers have to give.
Jonjon and I talk about this until I can tell, despite his hugest efforts, his eyes are drooping, his tongue beginning to stumble. Finally he gives in when I promise that tomorrow night he will hear about a brave little clown who has an amazing escape from danger – out of the darkness of a most unexpected place. It all sounds scary, but I hasten to reassure him it all comes out happily in the end.
Finally he gives in to his body, snuggles down, and drifts off to his Dreamland. In my imagination he is holding the hands of Gran and Grandpa. And they are chattering and laughing as they disappear into the mists of the improbable.