Whiffle Sniffles, a Little Lad, and a Thanksgiving Tale



It wasn’t much of a tale, the story I told a tearful little tired-out almost-two-year-old as I rocked him to sleep for a nap on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

A little nap and a little sleep were what little Garrett’s parents and grandparents had in mind for my wee grandson, though he didn’t think much of the idea. Mom and Dad are quite capable of getting the job done, but I don’t get a chance to rock this little guy nearly as often as I would like, so, although I could have wished that the lad was somewhat quieter and less tear-stained at the hand-off, the rocking chair beckoned and I asked for the task.

Since he was crying already, I figured the worst thing that could happen would be continued or ramped-up crying. And I like rocking.

Come to think of it, one of my sweetest memories from last Christmas was holding that same sweet munchkin (smaller but in the same tired-out and teary condition) as we both rocked to sleep in the glow of the lights from the Christmas tree. (I was soon 90% asleep and almost faded out before he did. When PawPaws rock little grandpeople to sleep, that’s always a real possibility.)

So . . . I launched into a story about Gar-Bear’s tree house.  (We often call Garrett “Gar-Bear,” “Gar” rhyming with “Bear.”)

It seems that in Garrett’s yard was a beautiful tree with its spreading leaf-draped branches open so wide that it was crying out, “Gar-Bear, put a tree house in me!”

Sniffle! Pause. Yowl! Sniffle! Howl! [Breath.]

“[Breath]” seemed like a good time for me to describe the hammer and nails, the wood, and the tools used in building Gar-Bear’s tree house, so I did, and as we got started building the floor, howls and yowls tapered off a bit.

Sniffle! Sniffle! [Breath.]

From the “in the air” ground floor, we moved on up to the walls, complete with some nice windows (not much point in a tree house you can’t see out of), a roof, and a railed observation deck [Sniffle! Pause . . .] with a working non-toy telescope.

A whiffle sniffle just as I was beginning to describe how Gar-Bear’s tree house can morph into a ship at sea, a castle on the moor, and more fine things.  But then . . .

Silence. Gentle breaths with an occasional tiny post-storm mini-shudder. Then complete calm and “all is well” as our rocking chair rounded the outer banks and sailed into the land of Nod.

In future stories, I’m pretty sure that Gar-Bear’s tree house will indeed become a vessel at sea. We’ll see. (Possibly crewed by Garrett and eight or more cousins.) Or it might be fun to have the tree talk and give suggestions to the little builder about the magic house being built in its branches.

But writing this story about that story and my sleeping grandson is making this grandfather sleepy again. I love the way the little guy settled down in my lap. I think I’ll take a page out of his book and plot a course toward my pillow and my Father’s arms, in deep gratitude for some sweet rest following a really sweet Thanksgiving.

Who knows? My Father may tell me a story while I’m snuggled down into his warm embrace.


     You’re invited to visit my website at http://www.CurtisShelburne.com! Stop by and listen to some Christmas music!


Copyright 2016 by Curtis K. Shelburne. Permission to copy without altering text or for monetary gain is hereby granted subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

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