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Early Bird

Grandpa looked at his my watch. It was 2:15 PM. It was only forty-five minutes before the kids were scheduled to arrive. He was almost finished with the shrubs.
Grandpa heard a familiar voice, “Hi, Grandpa. Aren’t you finished with the shrubs, yet?“

Grandpa responded, “Hi, Larry. You are early.”

Larry said, “Well, just a little bit. Do you have your story all figured out, Grandpa?“

It was hard for Grandpa to finish the trimming while responding to Larry’s silly questions. Grandpa was trying to stay calm. He said, “I wasn’t sure I had it all together, but I do now.”

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

Grandpa responded, “Do you want to be?“

Larry was already irritated. Grandpa was wondering how he was going to tell the story without upsetting Larry even more.

Grandpa continued, “Larry, why did you arrive early?”

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

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

Larry responded, “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?”

Grandpa stopped trimming the bushes. He said, “Larry, you are getting anxious, or irritated, or something. It seemed like you wanted to help me write the story. I decided to see how you would write it. What’s your answer about the wasp’s nest?“

Larry became surprisingly quiet.

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’s nest in the shrubs. I don’t know why… But I’m sure you are gonna tell me.“

Grandpa started to sense a little humility in Larry. He decided to tell Larry about the wasp’s nest.

Grandpa 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.”

Larry said, “Yeah. Wasps work fast.”

Grandpa continued, “I think I was having a problem with pride. The problem with pride is that it starts out small. And sometimes it grows quickly to the point that it becomes a real issue for you, and the people around you. Have you noticed that in yourself?”

Larry was quiet, again. Grandpa said, “Should I finish the trimming now? The kids will be here, soon.”

Finally, Larry said, “Yeah. My family and my friends have hinted at that, recently. But I decided to ignore them. Who wants to admit they are full of pride?”

Grandpa 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 seriously.“

Grandpa thought that he saw a few tears coming down Larry’s cheeks. Larry turned around like he was looking to see if the other kids were coming. Larry wiped his face.

When Larry turned back, he said, “Grandpa, as usual, you figured me out. 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 sounds like pride to me. Is that what you were thinking?”

Grandpa responded, “You got it, Larry. 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 alright with you?”

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

Larry responded, “Sure, Grandpa.”

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