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Dawn Anderson

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Lake Lessons
By Dawn Anderson
Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Short story about a lesson learned, rather than "preached."
Photo of me and my girls, Emily and Molly, feeding the ducks at Lago Moro, where we spend our weekends in the summer.

Lake Lessons


I watch as my ten-year-old hovers over a tiny toad sunning himself by the lake.  Mesmerized, she leans closer and then, covering him with her hand, scoops him up. 

            She kneels on the blanket where I am sitting and I can see the excitement on her face when she asks if she can keep him as a pet.  I try to convince her that he is better left by the lake – it is his home and he knows how to look after himself.  The expression on her face tells me she is not happy with what I have said.

            She continues to hold him in her hand and I explain that she should not keep him for too long…he needs to be free.  I go on to tell of another little girl, who, many years ago, also liked to catch toads, and on more than one occasion, after she had held them too long, they would often die.  She looks at me for a long moment before speaking and says, “I’m going to name him Todd,” and then sits by the water, still clutching him in her hand.

            Several minutes later, I notice a sad look come over her face as I watch her stroke the toad’s back with her finger.  He lays motionless in the palm of her hand.  We place him beneath a tree, close to the water, and she covers him with a few blades of grass.

            “Mommy,” she says, “Were you the little girl you told me about that liked to catch toads?”

            Yes, I tell her, I was, and I go on to explain that her grandfather, whom she never had the pleasure of knowing, had told me the very same thing when I was a little girl.

            “And did you listen?”  She asks.

            Pulling her into my arms, I smile as I answer, “I did exactly what you did – I had to find out for myself.”

            Soon after, we are laughing and playing in the lake, and I watch as she and her big sister swim off by themselves.  I cannot help but smile as I watch them – or when I think of the man who taught me the very same lesson more than forty years ago. There are those things that we can teach…yet there are others that have to be learned.







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Reviewed by Sheila Roy 5/19/2009
A well told story, Dawn. Almost seems like one full circle.
Reviewed by Gianetta Ellis 12/3/2008
I adore this heartwarming story between you and your daughters and how you infuse the presence of your own father so seamlessly. These moments are precious and I relate to your desire to teach experientially.
Reviewed by Cryssa C 8/27/2008
Thanks for sharing the poignant story and memories...
Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 8/26/2008
such a beautiful story of such an important lesson
Reviewed by Christine Alwin 8/26/2008
...and one day she will be teaching and remembering Todd. Sweet memories with your daughters :)
Reviewed by Susan Sonnen 8/26/2008
excellent, Dawn. thank you for sharing this with us!
Reviewed by L Hippler 8/26/2008
Very nice, Dawn. A good lesson and very well put.
Reviewed by Gene Williamson 8/26/2008
I like this, Dawn. Good lesson, well written. And I'm sure
remembered, as you proved in the lesson learned from your
father. -gene.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 8/26/2008
Good life lesson here Dawn and one I am sure your daughter will retain and apply time and time again in her own life.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/26/2008
Great write, Dawn; very well penned! BRAVA!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D

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