By Audrey W.
Seven-year-old Jennifer DeSoto walked over towards John Gage, who was sitting quietly by himself on their patio.
Joanne and Roy were hosting a barbeque for the men of Station 51’s A-shift and their families. The event had been underway for two hours; most of the guests were involved in a backyard game of volleyball. While the others were busy, Jennifer had noticed the gloomy expression on Gage’s face.
“Whatsamatter?” She asked, her hands clasped behind her back.
Johnny looked up, surprised at the little girl’s concern.
“Ah, nothin’ really, kiddo. Just thinkin’.”
Johnny could see Jennifer was sincerely interested in why he was sulking. He reached out and tousled the girl’s blonde hair, giving her a crooked grin. “Hey, shouldn’t you be playing and having fun?”
“What about you? Shouldn’t you?”
Gage narrowed his eyes and pointed at Jenny. “You know, you’re gonna make a good wife some day.”
“Ewwww,” the girl groaned, making a disgusted face. “I’m not gettin married! Boys are gross!”
Roy had noticed the two talking and figured his partner might be in need of a rescue from his inquisitive kid. “What’s up?” he asked as he stepped onto the patio.
Johnny smiled. “Oh, Jennifer here was just wonderin’ why I was taking a break.”
“Did you tell her?”
The dark-haired man shook his head.
DeSoto turned to his daughter. “Remember when I worked with Brice while Johnny was hurt and I would tell mommy how he was driving me nuts?”
“Well, he tends to get on Johnny’s nerves when we run into him during our shift and, depending what happens, sometimes it takes a day or so to get over it.”
Jenny’s eyes grew big as she looked at Gage. “I know what you can do!”
“I have a real good idea. When Brice teases ya, just suck up the tears, put up the tough, turn around and say no.”
Johnny screwed up his face. “Huh?”
“Suck up the tears, put up the tough, turn around and say no.” Jenny looked first at her dad, then back to Johnny. “That’s my own idea. When the cool kids at school tease me, that’s what I do.”
“Brice doesn’t tea--”
Gage stopped when he noticed Roy slightly shaking his head. Picking up on the hint to go along with it, the younger man nodded.
“That’s a good idea, Jenny. I especially like the saying no part.”
“I like the turning around part,” Roy added.
“What about the sucking up the tears? Don’t ya like that?”
“Yeah . . .yeah.” Johnny assured. “If Brice ever brings me to tears, I’ll do that.”
“And I have a feeling one day it may reach that point.”
Gage glared at his partner. “C’mon, Pally, let’s get back to the volleyball game.”
Jennifer smiled as she watched her dad and his partner trot into the yard and line up with the others in the game. The little girl sighed, “It’s a hard job makin’ sure grownups are happy. . .but someone’s gotta do it.” She headed for the sand box that was near the side of the house, content that she’d done her ‘job’ well.
My daughter and I had a discussion about some kids picking on others or peer pressure on being ‘cool’, and the solution in the story above was her own idea she made up. I thought it was cute and wanted to find a way to share it. :o)