You see, I've developed a bad habit--one which I keep doing because it's so, so fun to do. Even my very upright, very conscientious wife thinks its funny. And then, when my eldest daughter finds out the truth, she glowers at me in serious indignation. And if you've never been glowered at in indignation by a six-year old, let me tell you, it's a real hoot.
Thus, the confession.
Here's what I've been doing. You know those retellings of world history, in which they restate, slice up, and remix the stories to humorous effect? You know--"Magellan circumcised the earth in a 100-foot clipper", and "Queen Elizabeth exposed herself to her troops, who all shouted, 'Huzzah'!" and that sort of thing?
(In case you are interested, here is the exemplar of this genre.)
Well, I've found myself doing this with Bible stories. (It makes them much, much more memorable, don't you know.)
Here's one example from today. The girls were talking about some stories they learned in class while we were coming home after morning services. Specifically, they were mentioning things that sounded vaguely like the Parables of the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep. However, their narration abilities are still only partially formed, and so their description sounded a little like they were hunting for money and food.
Hey, we all can understand that.
So I got this little devious idea into my head, and began relating the Parable of the Lost Caper. Basically, it involved a diner who had ten capers on his dinner plate, and lost one, and so dived under the table looking for it...
I had my wife laughing well before my little story was done. And it became even funnier when we realized that neither of us actually knows what a caper is.
(For the record: it's an edible bud used in Mediterranean cooking, often either salted or pickled. It's also a species of North American snail, but you don't eat those.)
So I changed the story. Truffles! We shall now have the parable of the truffles. Tonya said she could do that, so long as they were chocolate truffles instead of the real thing. Great! I said; after all, if you had ten chocolate truffles, and you lost one, wouldn't you dive under the table to search for it? And when you had found it, wouldn't you wipe the accumulated dust and cat hair off of it, and joyfully call your friends over to celebrate (presumably by sharing your truffles with them)?
(Um, if you don't mind, I'd like to pick one of the other nine, please.)
Somehow, my daughter didn't get the joke. So over lunchtime, she decided that she finally understood the Parable of the Caper, and so she spontaneously narrated it to us. She narrated it quite well, I'm afraid, and had mommy and me practically in stitches:
So here's the parable of the Caper. The kingdom of heaven is like a diner in a restaurant with ten capers on a plate. And then the diner sneezes, and one of the capers rolls off the plate onto the floor under the table. Which of you, upon losing his caper, would not climb under the table to try to find it? And upon finding the caper, the diner jumps up and down in the restaurant, yelling, "Eureka!" The explanation of the parable is this: God is the diner, and we are like the capers; when one of us is lost on the floor, God leaves all the others on his plate and climbs under the table to look for us....(Sigh...) that's my beloved daughter, in whom I am well pleased.
So that was that... until this evening. After my girl came back from class this evening, she walked right up to me with furrowed brow, darkened countenance and pursed lips; and under her withering, glowering stare, she firmly stated, with righteous indignation:
"It's not capers, it's coins!"
Oh, man, am I going to H-E-double-toothpicks for that one, or what? I suspect it'd be better for me to have an upper millstone tied around my neck....
So remind me to tell you sometime about the Plague of Wedgies.