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DAD’S GOLDEN STORY HOUR


Kids Listen with their Entire Being by Clint Kelly


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“S


oon, the brave little tailor and the beautiful Princess Minnie were happily married. And to


think it all began with seven dead flies.” So ends The Brave Little Tailor, star-


ring Mickey Mouse. Whenever I con- cluded reading with those words and attempted to close the well-worn book, I was inevitably hit with a chorus of, “Aw, Dad,” as they yearned for more. Why had my offspring narrowed the book selections to so few predict- able favorites? Although the kids loved it, the constant repetition got to me. I rather empathized with the darker side of the original Brothers Grimm version of the tale. It’s not that I was opposed to pull-


ing story duty. Children take comfort in the familiarity and lasting values of classic storylines. But at reading time, temptation whispered, “What they want is your time. It doesn’t matter what you read; just read…” A brief motor racing vignette in


Road & Track, perhaps, or the latest ma- jor league baseball trade analyses from Sports Illustrated?


26 New Haven / Middlesex NaturalNewHaven.com My mind would wander. They’d


scold me. “Dad! You just said the little tailor


caught seven flies in a row. It’s, ‘Seven flies at one blow,’ Dad.” Busted. Sadly, it wasn’t long before I was caught yet again. “Dad! It was Chicken Little who


thought the sky was falling and The Little Red Hen who worked to bake the bread her lazy friends wouldn’t lift a finger to make. You always get them mixed up.” Verbal slips aside, the kids


crowded closer. They jockeyed for position against my chest, listening to the whoosh of my heart, the cadence of the words and the conviction of my voice reverberating into their inner ears, down along their spinal columns and deep into their souls. Still, given the choice between


Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or the daily stock quotations, I’m afraid that Wall Street often muscled the good woman aside. My wife urged me to persist. “The


children have me all day. If only for a half-hour every night, you’ve got a solid grip on the children. Don’t let


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