“Sometimes we learn a little from our goofs,” said Pearl. “Sometimes we learn a lot from them. I should know. I have had more goofs than any chicken here.”

“Thank you for helping me to cheer up. So what do you think we should do with the story about you and Blanche and The Bottle Cap Lady?”

“I think we should start over again with the pictures. The ones you made. The ones I made. The ones we made together.”

She went over to her stash of drawings and pulled out a few.

“Remember when I told you these are my heart and my life?”

She spread her drawings carefully in front of me.

“If a story is good like a life is good, then you should be able to tell all of the important parts just in pictures.”

She looked up at me, and gave me a little hop up into the air for no special reason other than because she is Pearl.

“Pictures that show action, that is. Love is action. You told me that yourself.”

She rearranged her pictures so they were in the proper order to show me the story they told about her life.

“Then you can add some words. The words all depend on who gets the gift of your story.”

“The gift of my story?” I repeated back to her. “I never thought about a story as a gift.”

“Well, maybe you should. Blanche gave me gifts I never realized were gifts at the time. It is something to think about.”

Pearl seemed a little surprised at her own insights (or perhaps at my lack of them).

“Pearl, what is the most important thing about your story?”

“Blanche was my best friend ever,” she said. “Blanche tried to teach me about giving, but I did not begin to really understand until after Blanche left us that Easter Sunday. I wanted to be a light in the Bottle Cap Lady’s life, just like Blanche had been for me, so I gave a Christmas gift to her. It meant not getting my own gift because I was not in my own home and asleep when Santa Claus came. But I got an even better gift than I could have imagined.”

I was silent and just smiled at her.

“That’s it. That’s all. That is what you should tell people with the words,” she said and waited for me to say something. “That is my heart. That is my life.”

“And such a sweet and beautiful heart and life you have, Pearl.”

She gave me another a little hop up into the air for no special reason.

“Don’t you want to say something about how Gracie had said ‘silliness never saved a chicken’s life’ but you saved everyone from the opossum by being silly and scaring it off?”

“Not really. But you can if you want.”

“Don’t you want to say something about how The Bottle Cap Lady drank all of those soda pops and ate all of those candy bars?”

“Not really. But you can if you want.”

“Or how she lost her job at The Chicken Place because she kept falling asleep at work? And why she kept falling asleep at work?”

“Not really. But you can if you want.”

“Or how she roamed around the neighborhood saying strange things or doing strange things even in the middle of the night? Or how she stole eggs right from under you?”

“Not really. I don’t want to tell any of those things. But you can if you want.”

“Why is that, Pearl?”

“You know already. You told me yourself. Love fills emptiness. Love covers imperfection.

“I loved The Bottle Cap Lady when nobody else loved her. Even when she could not love me back and had nothing to give me, I still loved her. That is what Christmas is about. That is what Easter is all about too.

“Light and life and love are all about giving, just like Blanche said. People need to know that part most of all. Tell them whatever will help them understand that part.”

She gave me another a little hop up into the air, but this time for the very special reason that she had just shared some of her light with me.

“You are such a pearl, my little Pearl.”

Pearl and I put our heads together and made a personal inspiration video that uses the illustrations for “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” along with a song that seems to fit. You can get to it through our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page or directly on our Vimeo page. You do not need a Facebook account or Vimeo account.

We are going to try to be more conscientious and always have something special pinned to the top of our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page just for all of our fans!

6 thoughts on “Starting Over

  1. Keep the book up though. It’s really good and I think it is perfect for ages 11 and up and even adults. I’m highlighting so much of it and getting all weepy at the deeper meaning. You can add the picture book as an addition to it, but this book really is so touching —beer and all. My heart breaks for The Bottle Cap Lady. I haven’t got to the end because I keep getting interrupted (children, cats, dog) but I can tell I’ll be grabbing more tissues before I’m done

    Liked by 1 person

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