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    Out of the mouths of babes and grandmothers
    by Beth Boswell Jacks

    We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that begs, “Ask me about my grandchildren.” We don’t dare, do we? This only means, of course, that those of us who want to tell about brilliant grandkids must barge right in with our amusing anecdotes.

    Beth Boswell Dowdy, one of our four precious granddaughters, has eyes like chocolate kisses and a smile bigger than Texas. She’s pretty as a speckled pup and just the most clever little five year old probably in the whole universe.

    Beth thinks I’m downright clever myself, which just goes to show you the girl understands things like adoring grandmothers and how advantageous a return of that adoration can be for granddaughters who like toys and pretty new outfits which appear magically in grandmama's shopping bags.

    I babysat for Beth and her brothers recently over a weekend and was amazed again at how precocious today’s children are. Performing bathtime duty one evening, I chatted with Beth as she played in a tub full of bubbles.

    “Bebe,” she said to me, “do you know I’m a Democrat?”

    “Well,” I replied, “I think that’s nice, Beth—“

    “But you know what?” she interrupted. “My friend Harper is a ‘Publican.”

    “Oh, she is? Well, it’s good that people can be Democrats or Repub—”

    “And Bebe,” Beth interrupted again, frowning, “sometimes Harper boos Kerry.”

    “Hmmm,” said I, “well, that’s not very nice, but you just be sweet and—“

    “Oh, no, Bebe,” she said as she blew a handful of bubbles across the tub, “it’s OK actually ‘cause sometimes I boo the ‘Publicans.”

    The girl has learned a few political lessons early on, hasn’t she?

    After I relinquished my babysitting duties and returned home on Sunday evening, I called to let the Dowdy family know I’d gotten home safely. Beth answered the phone.

    “Hey, sweetheart!” I said. “Whatcha doing?”

    “I’m on the deck with Daddy, talking,” she answered. “Bebe, what makes the stars?”


    “The stars. What makes the stars in the sky?”

    “Well, ummm,” I said, mentally scraping layers of rust off my brain where teachers over the ages had tried to embed scientific facts in reluctant tissue. “Honey, the stars are reflecting light from the sun. That’s why they twinkle. They’re just like little ol’ planets and the sun’s light is bouncing off of ‘em.”

    “Oh,” she said, and then I heard her hand the phone to her dad. “Here’s Bebe. She knows everything about stars, Daddy. She knows a lot more than you do about stars.”

    So then Beth’s daddy (Charles) and I talked for a few minutes, said goodbye, and hung up. Almost exactly one minute later my phone rang. It was Charles.

    “Bebe,” he said, “did you tell Beth that stars twinkle because the sun’s light is bouncing off of them?”


    “Bebe, that’s not right. Stars are hot, luminous, gaseous bodies varying in size from those slightly larger than the earth to those several million times as large as the sun, and—“

    “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” I said, “how do you expect me to remember all that? Just set Beth straight—“

    “But that’s the problem,” Charles said. “Beth says if Bebe says stars are reflecting light from the sun then they’re reflecting light from the sun. She won’t listen. Here, I’ll put her back on.”

    So he did and I set the child straight. Well, I did the best I could. I stumbled around for a second or two, talking about burning gas and all that, and assured her that her Bebe would bone up on stars before our next discussion.

    She said that was perfectly fine and did I know she can now stand on one foot as she counts all the way to 30?

    No, I didn’t know that--but I did know that this ignorant grandmother, over a long, long distance, was basking in the glow of the starry reflection from an exquisitely radiant little granddaughter.

    No disputing that celestial fact.


    Editor of USADEEPSOUTH, Beth Boswell Jacks is the author of 3 books (Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II) and is also a weekly columnist for a number of Southern newspapers. Readers and editors may contact her at bethjacks@hotmail.com.
    Want to know more about Beth? Click here

    Read about Beth's SNIPPETS books -- two collections of her columns.
    Want to "search inside" the SNIPPETS books for a certain subject or theme?
    You can! Just CLICK HERE.

    Here's a good one for grandparents . . . or anybody.
    Forget Your Troubles ~ C'mon, Get Older!

    For more stories at USADS by columnist Beth Boswell Jacks, click here:
    And find even more here: MORE SNIPPETS

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