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Hidden Pride

2. The Early Bird

 

I looked at my watch. It was 2:15 PM. I only had another 45 minutes until the kids were scheduled to arrive, and I was almost finished with the shrubs. 

 

Then, I heard a very familiar voice, “Hi, Grandpa.  Aren’t you finished with the shrubs, yet?“ 

 

I responded, “Oh, Hi, Larry.  You are a little bit early!”

 

Larry said, “Well, just a little bit. Have you got your story all figured out, yet, Grandpa?“

 

It was getting hard to finish trimming the bushes while responding to Larry’s silly questions, but I didn’t want to get him upset with me.

 

I said, “I wasn’t quite sure I had it all together, but I do now!”

 

Larry questioned, “What’s that supposed to mean? Are you saying that I’m part of your story?“

 

I responded, “Do you want to be?“

 

Larry was getting irritated with me. It was going to be hard to single him out, but I thought I might have to.

 

I continued, “Larry, why did you arrive a little bit early?”

 

Larry paused.

 

Larry, finally said, “Grandpa, you have to tell me some of the story. Surely you must like me enough to do that!”

 

I realized this was getting harder by the minute.  I decided I would just address the issue directly.

 

I said, “Larry, you tell me why I did not look for the wasp nest at my other house before I started trimming the bush, even though it was very likely there might be a wasp nest there.“

 

Larry was caught off guard by that. He said, “So, Grandpa, is it because you haven’t figured out your story?  Is that why you’re trying to get me to write your story for you!?“

 

I stopped trimming the bushes.

 

I said, “Larry, you are getting a little bit anxious, or irritated, or something. It seemed like you really wanted to help me write the story. So I decided to see how you would write it. What’s your answer about the wasp nest?“

 

Larry became surprisingly quiet, again.

 

Larry finally tried to respond, “I think… No… I’m not really sure… Well… It must be because you were just so sure there was no wasp nest in the shrubs. I don’t know why… But I’m sure you are gonna tell me.“

 

I starting to sense a little bit of humility in Larry.  Not that that was really absolutely necessary.  But I did not want to have to make a direct reference to him in my story.

 

I decided to tell Larry about the wasp nest.

 

I said, “The company that was taking care of the insect and rodent problems in our yard did what they were supposed to do. However, I had not considered the fact that the wasps could build their nest so quickly. I think I was having a problem with pride. But the problem with pride is that it starts out very, very small. And sometimes it grows very quickly to the point that it becomes a real issue for you, and the people around you. Do you think you’ve ever run into that kind of a problem yourself?”

 

Larry realized that I was starting to identify something that he was trying to avoid thinking about himself.

 

Larry was quiet, again.  I was wondering if I should just go back to trying to finish the trimming job before the rest of the kids arrived.

 

Finally Larry said something, “Yeah.  My family and my friends have hinted at that a little bit, recently. But I just decided to ignore them.”

 

I said, “Pride is one of those things that other people can see in you much quicker than you can see in yourself. When someone mentions it to you, you need to take it very seriously.“

 

I thought for just a very short time that I saw a few tears coming down Larry’s cheeks. But then he turned around, like he was looking to see if the other kids were coming, and I think he wiped his face.

 

When Larry turned back around again, he said, “Grandpa, as usual, you’re right on target. The only reason why I kept coming around and talking to you was because I thought you would give me some information about the story, and I could look like I was really smart, and make a comment before you actually got to that point in the story. That kind of sounds like pride to me. Is that what you were thinking?”

 

I responded, “You got it, Larry.  So now, I’m wondering if I have a story at all. I was trying to come up with a way to help you and your friends understand what pride is without singling anybody out. Definitely not you.”

 

Larry said, “Thanks, Grandpa.  You really are a good friend!  If you don’t mind, I would like to tell the story today. Is that all right with you?”

 

I responded, “Sure, Larry.  Let’s see what story you can come up with, and how good you are telling it. I think your friends will really enjoy hearing it from you.  Much better than what I was planning to say.  I think they’ll be here in a few minutes and I need to clean up all this stuff. Do you want to help me?”

 

Larry responded, “Sure, Grandpa!“

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