Years ago, (and I’m really dating myself here, but I bet some of you remember), there was a TV show in the middle of the day called Art Linkletter’s House Party. The show ran the gamut from household hints, informal celebrity interviews and musical groups. But the highlight of the show was at the end of the program when Art Linkletter would interview school children between the ages of five and ten.
This segment of the show was called “Kids Say the Darndest Things” and it quickly became the most entertaining part of the program. I remember sitting in our living room as a preteen and teenager, day after lazy summer day, laughing to this hilarious slice of what is now called the “Golden Years of Television”.
I could only imagine how the parents must have felt as they, no doubt, sat in the audience and squirmed as Mr. Linkletter coaxed and cajoled out of these beautiful, innocent and completely honest kids, family secrets and embarrassing incidents.
The recent visit of our nine year old granddaughter a few weeks ago reminded me of a conversation we had together when she was only five or six. That conversation, in turn, reminded me of that Linkletter show so long ago and how children try to interpret the world around them through the filter of their innocence and their candid personas.
I had just picked Emily up at her parent’s house and was taking her to our house for a weekend visit. At that time, we only lived about thirty minutes away so that gave us plenty of time chat.
On this particular trip, Emily got into the car being her usual happy self and settled into her seat with her arms wrapped around her stuffed bear. After a few minutes of silence, I could tell that she was preoccupied and that there was something on her mind.
“Did anything interesting happen to you this week Emily?” I asked, looking over at her, wanting to break the silence.
She looked at me hesitantly for a moment. There was something she wanted to say, but wasn’t sure if she should bring it up.
“Grandpa.” She said, looking straight out the front window.
“I know what sexy means.”
Oh, oh, here we go. I started sweating profusely. My mind started spinning. Isn’t this too soon to be doing the “birds and the bees” thing? And wasn’t that the job of the parents anyway? I could see my knuckles turning a dark shade of purple as I gripped the steering wheel in a death grip. A sudden rush of heat rose up to my head as I glanced over at Emily’s little form seated in the passenger side of the car.
She turned her head and was looking at me with a smug expression, as if she was proud to show me how grown up she was becoming at such a tender age.
The heat was getting hotter in my head and I’m sure my face was beet red as I opened my mouth and replied weakly.
“Okay. What does it mean?”
She turned her head and once again looked out the front windshield of the car, almost shouting the answer.
“Sexy means when you are wearing underwear- ONLY!