True Stories: A Penguin and a Troll
A couple of our best pals, Steve and Sandy, met us for a late dinner out Saturday night. Sandy is a great person and a wonderful friend, but if you met her, you might be surprised that we get along so well because we’re so different. For example, she’s a northerner, while I’m Southern born and bred. I’m a moderate-conservative republican; she’s a liberal democrat. I’m fat, and she’s skinny. I guess our biggest difference is that I’m always laughing and joking, while she’s much more serious and subdued. So when she said she had something to tell me at dinner and was laughing about it so much that she could hardly relate the tales, I knew it was going to be good!
Sandy’s neighbor had called earlier that day to tell her of two strange events that had happened on the same day, though they were totally unrelated. The first involved the neighbor’s grand-nephew. I’ll call him “Jim.”
Jim, a seven-year-old boy, and his parents had made a visit to the Georgia Aquarium. He had somehow gotten separated from the adults and was missing for almost two hours. They were greatly relieved to find him safe and unscathed in another part of the facility. At that point, the parents were so shaken that they decided to end their visit and make the drive home.
As soon as they arrived back to their abode, Jim was instructed to go upstairs and take a bath. His baths were usually short affairs, but this time it seemed to his parental units that the boy had been in the tub for an unusually long period, so the dad decided to check on his offspring.
Jim was fine. In fact, he was having a grand old time playing in the bathtub…with his baby penguin!! He had somehow managed to kidnap the bird and stash it in his backpack! The parents, of course, were mortified and immediately called the aquarium. The animal experts told them how to care for the baby until the next morning, at which point the family made the trip back to Atlanta to return the stowaway, safe and sound. By the way, Jim was not allowed to leave his parents’ side this time.
The other story involves a “troll.” Sandy’s neighbor has a grandson who lives in the Midwest. We’ll call him “Brandon.” Brandon has Down syndrome, but he’s high functioning. He can read and be left alone while his parents work. He’s in his early twenties, and he’s a very large young man. Brandon entertains himself largely by reading, and he’s especially fond of magical stories about dragons, fairies, and trolls.
Last Friday, Brandon called his mom at work, which is nothing unusual. He often calls her several times during the day. His question this time, however, was a little out of the ordinary. He asked, “If I find a troll, can I keep it?” His mom was in a meeting at the time and didn’t really have time to fully consider her response. She told him they’d discuss it when she got home.
When she got home, she was greeted by an exuberant Brandon, who was grinning from ear to ear. His first words to her were, “I kept it!!”
Her response: “Kept what?” Obviously, she had forgotten all about the earlier exchange.
“The troll! I found one, and I kept it!”
Brandon happily led his mom to a large walk-in closet, and there was the “troll.” It was a very unhappy little person – a midget. This poor guy was a census-taker, and when he’d made the mistake of knocking on Brandon’s door, the overly-imaginative boy-man had thought a real live troll had come to see him. The diminutive government worker had been no match for the powerful young man, so into the closet he went.
Needless to say, the man was much relieved at the mom’s arrival. He was worried about getting into trouble at work, though. He was supposed to visit 20 more houses that afternoon, but obviously, he wouldn’t make it. He requested that the mom call his boss and explain the situation, which she gladly did, of course.
I was in stitches from both stories. Real life is so much more fascinating than fiction. You just can’t make stuff like this up!
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