Last week, I took a survey on my social media channels. The majority wanted a Randy story. (I have lots of those, muahaha.) This is the first and the most recent that I’ll share.
This story began seven years ago. Seven years ago, I started working as an elementary librarian. Every afternoon, I read books and shared stories with kids ranging from five to twelve years old.
The class that introduces the Randy story was in first grade. There is one girl in the class. The boys are sweet and kind and rambunctious. Boy stories are a genre within themselves.
One day I was reading the Time Warp Trio to the class. It introduced mythology, and Jon Scieszka tells stories that engage all children, especially boys. The boys were happy and I was happy. And the one girl had a coloring page, so she was happy too.
In this particular story, the trio encountered Cerberus-the three-headed dog. One of the young heroes pulls Ding Dongs out of his backpack and launches the snacks at the dog. Distracted by the treat, Cerberus allows the trio to pass and continue on their journey.
To my surprise, this group of six-year-old boys did not know what a ding dong was. I tried explaining, but their blank expressions said I wasn’t doing a good job.
That’s an easy fix. Or so I thought. I had to drive one hundred and fifty miles to buy a box of Ding Dongs.
The next week the boys were wide-eyed with awe when I presented the foil covered disks. They tore through the wrapper, and except for the chocolate ring around their mouths, they ate every crumb of the chocolate coated, chocolate cake with the whip cream center.
To say the boys loved them was an understatement.
I was so proud of myself. I thought I was the best teacher/librarian. They thought I was the best teacher librarian. Then the sugar hit.
They ran around in circles, up the stairs to the reading loft, and the chattering. Chipmunks would have been in awe at how rapidly they spoke.
The boys were so wired from the sugar; I honestly believed they were going to climb the shelves.
The one girl in the class colored and watched them with a wary eye. She threw me a quick glance that said ,”You did this,” and returned to her picture of a unicorn.
One of the boys loved the snack so much he actually had it as a treat for his birthday party that year.
Now they’re in seventh grade. We laugh about the Ding Dong story. I’d like the record to show that their understanding of Greek mythology is profound.
And Ding Dongs are a weekly topic of discussion our class
Randy is the clerk at the local store. He’s there a lot. One of the small children call the store “Randy’s House.”
The kids love Randy.
This week I was in the store and saw one of the boys. I waved hello and continued on my way down the aisle to buy the ingredients for a class project.
The student that helps with this Randy story didn’t say much when he was standing at the checkout counter. But the next day in class. I had an earful. Our store was out of ding dongs. So he had to buy soda.
I mentioned it to Randy, who told me the single packs were on the shelf across from the register.
I thought the conversation dropped until, Randy came home the next day with a package of ding dongs. He laid it on the table, “These were the last ones and I wanted to make sure the boy who loves Ding Dongs got them.”
This, my friend, is an example of my husband encapsulating the beauty of living in a small community. He does the little things that say ‘you are special.’ And, he does it in the quiet moments, when the message has time to seep in to the recipient’s heart.
To the rest of the world it was a sugary cupcake. It didn’t have fancy frosting. It wouldn’t win any awards on the cooking show. It was the treat that one kid loved and sought out, so my husband made sure he got it.
And, now his status among the young people has risen, even more. Randy is no longer the guy who sells them chocolate milk. He is the saver of Hostess Ding Dongs.
I’d also like the record to show, I think he’s pretty special too.