Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Closest People To Heaven

Ah, to be a kid again.

As adults we forget the true innocence that children have. We admire it but we forget what it's like. I had a pretty cool reminder as I ate dinner this evening.

Bethany and I made a trip to Roanoke to stock up on the essentials. After hitting Sam's Club and then swinging by Barnes & Noble to pick up Arms-Commander by L.E. Modesitt Jr., (one of my favorite authors. Extremely excited to have a new Modesitt to read) we decided to have dinner. It's a perk of going to Roanoke and one we enjoy pretty infrequently.

Most of the places were jam packed but Golden Corral seemed to be just about right since we were both pretty hungry and it was almost 7:30. We grabbed the first seat we found, which just happened to be the one near the ice cream machine and dessert bar.

Little kids are some of the coolest people you'd ever want to meet in the world. But you have to watch out for them. I always try to do just because I don't want to trip over them and sometimes they need a helping hand. I always worry about 'em when I see them wandering around a place like that by themselves. I find myself looking to see if their parents around and sadly it seems like they're nowhere to be found.

At a buffet style restaurant, kids invariably make their way to the dessert bar. There were three kids this evening that caught my eye and made me laugh. The first we shall label as the Pie Kid. He was with his dad and you could tell because they had the same haircut and matching red shirts. His dad handed him a slice of apple pie and put his hand on the kid's shoulder (who couldn't have been more than five) and guided him back to their seat. As they passed our table the kid, who was proudly holding the plate with the pie in both hands, looked up at his dad, looked around to see if he would get in trouble and then buried his face in the pie and started eating. As he was walking. Without ever looking up. And his dad didn't figure out what was going on until they were back at their table. It was hilarious.

The second two kids that entertained me we'll call the Ice Cream Kids. Both of these kids were barely tall enough to stand on their tip-toes, stretch and grab the handle on the soft serve machine with their fingertips. The first kid didn't have a bowl. He had a plate and he piled ice cream on that plate higher than gravity should allow. He turned around without even looking for toppings and started weaving his way through the crowd with eyes as wide as saucers as he looked at the frozen dessert.

He walked past another kid who turned and stared as he passed. I could hear him say "Wow". The kid was impressed, I could tell, and he was smart because no one was watching him and he dived for the closest plate. I'm not even sure he grabbed it off his own table. He went straight for the soft serve machine and there's where he paused. He looked it up and down as if he was sizing it up and then decided to go for it. He stretched with everything he had, barely grasped the handle and pulled it down. He wound up with a plate full of ice cream stacked so high that Isaac Newton would've questioned the pull of gravity on soft serve ice cream had he seen it.

All three of these kids were just as happy as they could be and it took so little to make their day. A piece of pie, a stack of ice cream...All so perfectly happy and innocent and free of the troubles of the world coupled with the faith that Mom and Dad would make everything OK. It's no wonder Jesus once said the closest people to heaven  are children.

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