…Childlike Curiosity

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OK, so I like to tease people.  I really do.  I am careful, though, to only tease those I love and who I know fairly well.  I don’t go up and start teasing folks I don’t know or with whom I am barely acquainted.  Doing so could result in a swift knuckle sandwich, and I prefer other fare for lunch!  But when it comes to family and good friends…well, all bets are off.

My wife isn’t a teaser.  She, bless her heart, has learned to put up with my teasing for the most part, so it is rather unusual when she teases someone else.  She might say that in the incident that I’m about to relate to you that she wasn’t teasing…she was just telling a fairy tale of sorts.  But the outcome was really cute, regardless…

A bit over a week ago, our middle child and his family came out for a barbecue.  Their family includes our two youngest grand daughters, ages six and three.  Now at that age, children are fairly gullible and are easy targets for teasing or tall tales.

Not too long before they came, my wife had ordered some decorations that are meant to be attached to a tree.  They are called fairy doors because they are supposed to be doors and windows that the fairies use to get into the inside of a tree.  My wife had installed them on a couple of trees outside our place so they would be there when the little girls arrived.  When they got here, she made a point out of showing them the “doors” (which are round in shape, sort of like Hobbit-doors) and explained that they are fairy doors.  The little ones were captivated and walked over to the closest decorated door to check it out.  I, naturally, had my camera and caught a photo of them as they began to inspect the doors.  Then, the littlest one reached out and knocked on the door so the fairies would open up and she could see them!  I felt so fortunate to capture the moment….

There were some rather interesting expressions on their faces after no one answered, and then oldest eventually pulled one side of the “door” aside to see if there was a hallway leading from the back of the fairy door into the tree.  When she realized she’d been “had”, she got the cutest expression on her face!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1897, the very first copies of what would become the quintessential vampire novel Dracula, by Irish writer Bram Stoker, appeared in London bookshops.

A childhood invalid, Stoker grew up to become a soccer star at Trinity College, Dublin. After graduation, he got a job in civil service at Dublin Castle, where he worked for the next 10 years while writing drama reviews for the Dublin Mail. In this way, Stoker met the well-respected actor Sir Henry Irving, who hired him as his manager. Stoker stayed in the post for most of the next three decades, writing Irving’s voluminous correspondence for him and accompanying him on tours in the United States. Over the years, Stoker began writing a number of horror stories for magazines, and in 1890 he published his first novel, The Snake’s Pass.

Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but it was his 1897 novel Dracula that eventually earned him literary fame and became known as a masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic literature. Written in the form of diaries and journals of its main characters, Dracula is the story of a vampire who makes his way from Transylvania–a region of Eastern Europe now in Romania–to Yorkshire, England, and preys on innocents there to get the blood he needs to live. Stoker had originally named the vampire “Count Wampyr.” He found the name Dracula in a book on Wallachia and Moldavia written by retired diplomat William Wilkinson, which he borrowed from a Yorkshire public library during his family’s vacations there.

Vampires–who left their burial places at night to drink the blood of humans–were popular figures in folk tales from ancient times, but Stoker’s novel catapulted them into the mainstream of 20th-century literature. Upon its release, Dracula enjoyed moderate success, though when Stoker died in 1912 none of his obituaries even mentioned Dracula by name. Sales began to take off in the 1920s, when the novel was adapted for Broadway. Dracula mania kicked into even higher gear with Universal’s blockbuster 1931 film, directed by Tod Browning and starring the Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi. Dozens of vampire-themed movies, television shows and literature followed, though Lugosi, with his exotic accent, remains the best known Count Dracula.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: The world’s largest stockpile of gold can be found five stories underground inside the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s vault and it holds 25% of the world’s gold reserve (540,000 gold bars). While it contains more gold than Fort Knox, most of it belongs to foreign governments.

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