by Dennis M. Myers, 09/14/2019
The old man quietly sat down in the big comfortable chair. The two little girls were sitting on the floor watching television.
Valerie glanced over her shoulder and smiled. "Hi, Uncle Dennis."
Aubriana spun around. "Hi. When did you get here?"
"I just came in," said Dennis. "I didn't want to interrupt your show."
"It's okay. We've seen it before."
"Yeah," said Valerie. "We know how it ends."
"I see," said Dennis. "So how have you been? It's been a very long time since I've seen you."
"It's been forever," said Valerie.
They talked for a little while about school and the playground. The old man listened with a smile and an occasional nod.
"What sort of things would you like to do when you get older?" Dennis asked.
Valerie crossed her arms. "Everyone always tells me I should pick something and work hard at it, but I can't decide what I want to do."
Dennis nodded. "I understand. Don't worry about it. There are so many things to do out there, you won't have to just pick one thing."
"No?" Vivian frowned.
"Nope" He smiled. "Just imagine all of the things you love, and pick something to get you started. It can be anything. Then move towards that goal. But don't throw everything else you want to do away, keep them in mind."
"Can we do them all at once?" asked Aubriana.
"Some, sure. Like, you could be a teacher during the day, and at night or on the weekend you might be an actress and perform on stage."
"On stage?" Valerie giggled.
"You could fly an airplane for fun, and then balance books the rest of the week to pay for fuel."
Aubriana tilted her head. "That doesn't sound like fun."
"Unless you balanced them on your head," said Valerie.
"Some people love it," said Dennis. "Don't be too sure about what isn't going to be fun, and don't be too sure what is. That's going to change over time."
"What do you mean?" asked Valerie.
"It's like peek-a-boo." Dennis briefly covered his face with his hands. "Have you ever played that with a baby?"
"Yes," said Aubriana.
"Babies love it," said Valerie.
"So did you when you were younger," said Dennis. "You giggled like it was the best thing in the world."
"But how about now? Is peek-a-boo the best thing ever?"
Aubriana put her hands on her hips. "No. It's for babies."
Vivian shook her head. "It's dumb."
Dennis nodded. "Exactly. And when you get older, some of the things you love and enjoy right now, won't be as fun as the new things you will discover."
"That makes me sad," said Aubriana.
"I know. It can be a little sad, but the truth is, there are things you can't even imagine right now that you are absolutely going to love. Things that haven't even been invented yet are going to make your lives wonderful."
"Did that happen to you?" asked Valerie.
"Sure. When I was your age, a telephone was a thing that hung on the wall, connected by a long cord. It had one end you listened to, and one end you talked to, and that's it."
Aubriana scrunched her eyebrows together. "How did you post pictures?"
"That is something that hadn't been invented yet. We had these little boxes called cameras. All they did was take pictures, but not like today. These were on film and we had to take the film to a store so they could develop it and print them out onto pieces of paper."
Aubriana giggled. "That's silly."
Dennis laughed. "Exactly. And as much as I used to love opening the envelope and looking at my newly developed pictures, having a phone in my pocket that takes pictures that I can post around the world in an instant... well that's so much better, but it is so far beyond what I could imagine when I was your age."
"You must be sooo
old," said Valerie.
He sighed. "Yeah. Kind of. Thing is, it's going to happen like that for you, too. Things you love to do will be replaced by something so different, and so wonderful, you can't even imagine it right now."
"What about you? What do you love to do?" asked Aubriana.
"Me?" He paused and thought for a moment, then smiled warmly. "I love to write, and I love my nieces, so I think what brings me the greatest joy is the thought that someday, they both might read what I have written, and maybe just for a moment, know that I love them."
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