Betty (Sister-Three) of Galla Creek Ephemeris posted a picture today of her little granddaughter riding in the kind of red-and-yellow plastic toy car that's been a favorite of toddlers for years. My grandson had one when he was small (he's 17 now), but the one I remember best belonged to my niece when she was about three years old.
On the occasion I'm thinking about, the family had gathered in my sister's living room in East Texas. As the adults took advantage of the opportunity to visit in person for a change, I noticed that my niece seemed to be a little frustrated that she wasn't getting the attention she was used to. She was riding from person to person in her little car, trying to engage someone in her game.
When she "drove" up to me, I told her how much I liked her car and asked her where she planned to go next. She announced that she was going to the Dairy Queen.
"Oh, good," I said, "I'm really hungry. Would you mind picking up a couple of things for me?" She told me she'd do it, so I reached in my pretend purse, extracted some pretend money, and counted it out into her hand. I asked her to bring me a hamburger and a Coke, and I peeled off a couple more imaginary bills and suggested she might like to get something for herself.
My niece smiled as she drove her car to the far side of the room. I watched her climb out of the car, give her order and her pretend money to the imaginary Dairy Queen worker beside the draperies, then wait for her change and the food. Once that transaction was completed, she drove back to where I sat on the sofa and handed me the food I'd ordered. I thanked her profusely.
Her smile was so bright I decided to extend the game. "You know what?" I asked. "I'm thinking some ice cream might be good for dessert. If I give you some more money, would you go get us some ice cream?"
My niece's smile evaporated instantly. She rolled her eyes and gave me a look of exasperation. "I just got back," she said. "I'm not going again."
Heh! She's all grown up now. I can't wait for her to have a little girl of her own.