A little girl came out of school into the bright wind, running into the breeze, delighted with the freedom and the prospects of meeting her Mommy for lunch at her favorite restaurant---the one with the big playroom with all its colorful slides and stairs and big windows and fun things to do.
She got into the car with her grandparents, and they all met at the restaurant, ordered, and ate their lunch. As they sat, they saw several children go in and out of the doors to the playroom, and once, a beautiful little girl in a black leotard and tutu came out, her face streaked with tears, and ran toward her Mother. She pointed back at the doors, was comforted, and stayed with the others at her table.
Our own little girl finished her lunch, and asked to go inside and play. Her Grandmother got out the washcloth, washed her face and hands, and they went into the playroom, at that time filled with a loud tangle of little boys and girls. Grandmother sat, and little one went into the staircase-tube to climb up; she reached the little balcony, and began to turn the big bright cogs of the wheel on the window.
“Listen to my MUSIC!” she said, the words muffled a bit by the plastic shield. Her Grandmother nodded and smiled, as our little girl’s Mommy came in the door. “Please go finish your lunch,” she said, and Grandmother responded, “In a moment; I’m enjoying this.”
They sat for a few moments, as Mommies called their children out for Time to Go, and other kids wandered in and out. In just a bit, the Grandmother noticed that our Little Girl was still up HIGH on the balcony, along with a couple other children---two little silvery-haired boys, perhaps four and five. Another minute and there was a wail from Our Girl, then a full-out CRY, as Mommy and Grandmother jumped up from their bench.
Mommy called out, asking what was wrong---answered by more and more loud crying.
Mommy shouted at the biggest boy to let Our Girl get by onto the stairs, and at the other one to stop blocking the slide so she could come down. It took quite some time, and quite a few loud words from Mommy, but they finally moved and Our Girl finally came down the slide, tears dripping and her cheeks pink with the crying, and was taken gently out the door by Mommy.
Grandmother remained behind, placidly sitting on the bench, as the two little boys slid down and halted at the bottom of the slide, turning their backs to her. “Oh, My,” she said, in her soft, kind voice, with its southern accent still apparent despite her long years in the North. “Do you not know who that IS?”
She pointed out through the glass at the Little Girl, sitting on the lap of a round, jolly fellow, with kind eyes and twinkly glasses and rosy cheeks and his red shirt setting off his snowy hair and beard, as he wiped away Our Girl’s tears.
The little boys peeped, then looked at Grandmother with WIDE eyes. “He’s her GRANDDADDY,” said the round lady softly, her own rosy cheeks and small gold glasses twinkling beneath her little bun of pale hair.
The boys took another look, eyes big as plums, and did not move as the Grandmother turned and left the room, gently closing the door behind her.