Being in a different, smaller church, for a few months now, I’ve gotten to know a lot of new folks and children. Watching children in church reminds me of the many Sundays I would hide under a pew and be handed Cheese Nips and Vanilla Wafers to keep me quiet. Every once in a while, a fellow a couple of pews up would shout, “Amen,” and I would bump the top of my head on the underside of the pew.
These days, we have folded chairs and the sanctuary can easily double as a dining hall. The bottom line is that I am very happy in my new church home. After spending all those years working the “left door” of my old church, I was surprised to find that my new church’s left door seems to kind of lead out into the woods and folks don’t use it.
In other words, my left door skills are not as needed here. I’m considering throwing my hat in the ring or the pulpit or whatever as a coffee-making fellow (CMF). The pastor said we needed help and you didn’t even have to have “Barista” experience - I had to look that up. He was being funny, but I don’t normally hang out at the high-dollar coffee places and don’t use the term “barista.” The bottom line was, I could learn to serve coffee or attempt to get some raccoons, rabbits and deer in the left door.
So, as I was considering my resume for serving church coffee, we started singing a hymn. Unlike when I was a little boy, there were no Baptist Hymnals being used. We shoot the words of the songs up on the front wall for everyone to see.
A little girl up and to the right of me was holding a stuffed animal up where it could see the words on the wall. It made sense to me, but I could not tell if the little gray mouse with blue-striped pajamas was actually singing. This was because the mouse’s back was to me.
I never figured out if the mouse was singing, but I did realize that the gray mouse in the blue-striped pajamas was from a book I had read my children many times, what seems like many years ago.
Margaret Wise Brown wrote the book, “Goodnight Moon,” that had the little gray mouse in the blue-striped pajamas. In the children’s book, which is not very long, the mouse is mentioned twice, about the same as the other “main characters” such as the red balloon, the cow jumping over the moon and the bowl full of mush.
In addition to “Goodnight Moon,” Margaret Wise Brown wrote many other children’s books such as “The Runaway Bunny.”
She was not what you would expect a children’s book writer to be like. And again, I’m not real sure what a children’s book writer should be like. Maybe an older woman who has worked at the library for many years, teaches Sunday School and drinks Welch’s Grape Juice instead the hard stuff for communion.
Margaret was a “free spirit” some people liked to say. I say “was” because she passed away in 1952 at age 42 of an embolism.
I read where Margaret spent her first check for writing on an entire cart full of flowers – I kind of like that. I also read where she had a lot (they emphasized) of “love affairs.” Again, she wrote good stuff and wrote a lot about dogs, she couldn’t be all bad. And I’m not saying “love” is bad either.
She was a nice looking woman. Can a man still say that? I suppose so. Looking back at the pictures of her in the 40’s and 50’s, she looked the opposite of Welch’s Grape Juice Drinking Librarian Children’s Book Writer.
I have nothing against librarians, bookish-looking or bespectacled people – I love them. And I am sure there are a lot of great writers who don’t look like writers… But, “Goodnight little house… And goodnight mouse… Goodnight comb… And goodnight brush… etc.” just seems to be something a mother would write.
Margaret was known to be a “beagler” and was noted for her abilities to keep pace on foot with the hounds. Goodnight (and I don’t mean to the moon)… A woman who can keep up with the hounds - had to have been something else.
I will now go and find a one of Margaret’s dog books to read. “Mister Dog” is about a dog and a boy’s mastery of their own lives and it’s a “Little Golden Book,” like “The Poky Little Puppy” and “Scuffy The Tugboat.” Dogs and little boys do seem to have mastered their lives best of all.
Well, I would also have to include little girls who hold their stuffed gray mouse with the blue-striped pajamas up in the air so it can see the song words projected on the wall at church pretty much have it figured it out also.
Thanks Margaret and goodnight noises everywhere.
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