I started spontaneous storytelling during Caleb’s baseball game two weeks ago.
It was cold. Ella was cranky. Ben wanted to go home. Caleb was hitting doubles and looking generally adorable on the field. I stuck the younger three in the car and turned on the latest craze in the Jennings’ minivan: the Beatles’ debut album Please Please Me.
It is Beatlemania all over again. My four-year old son can sing all the words to “I Saw Her Standing There.”
Everyone’s favorite song, however, is “A Taste of Honey.” Every time Paul belts out the title lyrics, they laugh hysterically. Personally, I don’t get the joke. Apparently I lack their refined sense of humor.
The baseball progressed slowly, and after the CD had looped through 1 ½ times, the car battery died. I guess I only turned the ignition half way. And lucky for me, John was out of town and my cell was… that’s not really important. Suffice to say, it was not on me.
It started to drizzle.
My plan was to look pathetic and ask the parents of Caleb’s teammates for help once the game was over. In the interim, I had to find a way to amuse my demanding children with the refined senses of humor since the fabulous four had left the vehicle.
So I told them a story, one I made up off the top of my head. And they sat there, quiet, for twenty minutes, and took in every word. And the coach of the team had jumper cables. On the way home, I sang “Do You Want to Know a Secret,” and they sang the background vocals, which consist of “oooh oooh oooh” and “ohhh ohhh ohhh.”
Overall, I deemed the evening successful.
Tonight, on the way home from my dad’s, Ben demanded another story. And let me tell you, it is hard to think up a plot on the spot like that. I took inspiration from their favorite song and told a story about a world without… honey.
The population of honey bees has disappeared. A fabulous foursome including Caleb, Ben, Dan, and Ella, live at the edge of a great forest, because every good children’s fairy-tale starts at the edge of a great forest. The gist of the story is as follows: Children find the world’s last remaining beehive, and it’s as big as a Buick. It’s the middle of July, but the children need protection from the bees in order to extract honey from the gigantic hive, so they sneak into their own house as their mother is doing something domestic and important. The put on snow pants and winter jackets and buckets with holes for eyes over their head so that the bees won’t sting them. The children climb a great oak tree and successfully extract the honey without getting stung.
Little do they know that a lone bee follows them home, and when the children remove their winter gear and feel the cool breeze come in over the trees of the great forest, the angry bee stings Caleb on his hand. He is so startled that he spills some honey. The honey lands on his hand, and his wound is immediately healed. Not only is it the last honey on earth, but it’s magic honey.
The children rush into the house to tell their mother about the magic honey. Instead of being happy, she is angry they sneaked off to do something so dangerous. She tells them all to go to their rooms, but to leave the honey with her. While they are upstairs sulking, she makes herself a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and eats it alone.
I thought the ending was funny. Caleb didn’t like the ending.
“I don’t like how you got mad. It wasn’t fair. We brought you honey and you put us in time-out. Why did you do that? Did you even save honey for the rest of us?”
Daniel added an epilogue.
“I KILL all the bees.”
“But then you would never have honey again,” I said. “So I don’t think you should kill all of the bees. You wouldn’t want to run out of magic honey, right?”
"I kill them,” he whispered.
Ben fell asleep.
Ella broke out into song: “A TASTE OF HONEY! Doo doo doo doooo!!!”
Caleb sulked, Daniel schemed, Ben slept, Ella sang.
Mom fell asleep early. She had a lovely dream about 1960s Paul McCartney.