This I Believe

Julia - La Grange Park, Illinois
Entered on September 28, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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This I Believe

Snuggled up tight against his big strong chest, my granddaddy used to read me stories. “Cat in the hat”, “Elmer the Elephant” and “Eloise” were some of the reappearing favorites I would shove into his hands as I crawled onto his lap. I loved Granddad’s story telling better than anyone else’s. He would give each character a matchless voice that would fit them perfectly, as if the character was alive on the page. He would read slowly to intensify certain spots, then speed up to make the words feel more cheery. Any story read by Granddaddy I knew was going to be a good one. My favorite book of all was one my grandma had given me for my birthday entitled “Creepy Castle”. It was beautifully illustrated, with the pages telling the story of a little girl mouse entering a spooky castle. The uniquness about this book was there were no words. For anyone else, this might have seemed boring or stupid. For Granddad, it was a challenge; a challenge to top his last reading of the book. Each time he would tell the story it seemed to get better and better; the castle would get more forbidding, or the little mouse more innocent, or the evil rat’s voice more bloodcurdling. He seemed to recite the words as if they were written on the page in front of him as opposed to rolling off the top of his head. I can still see his eyes lighting up as he read into the pages, his creativity running wild. The way my granddad put so much into those wordless stories illustrates a concept in life that goes much farther than the destiny of a little girl mouse.

I believe life is what you make it and the blank pages of “Creepy Castle” show just that. One can look at them as stupid and boring. He can drolly speak the plot of what seems to be going on in the picture or even choose not to give the pages words at all. But others can take advantage of an open opportunity to make something wonderful. They can delve deep into the meaningless pictures and give them a thick, beautiful plot. Life is full of potential. The way you use that potential is how you define your life. So whether my granddaddy truly loved making up stories, or if he was merely a grandfather attempting to please his teeny granddaughter, I couldn’t tell you. But I do know he unknowingly showed me an important lesson on how to live my life.