Mary Lou Boggs-Jones, my paternal grandmother, was the kindest, most loving woman I have ever known.
My fondest memories, as a child, were spent on my grandparents’ small farm in their intimate 950-square foot home just north of Columbia, Missouri.
With my beagle-mix, Snoopy, and my very special barnyard pal, Henny Penny, the chicken, we spent many a wonderful weekend at that Farm on Route E. Roaming the woods, scaling fences or even playing catch: a ball gingerly tossed to Snoopy; a stray grasshopper lobbed to Henny Penny. The three of us were inseparable.
A little fat boy;
A little fat dog;
A little fat chicken;
And a Grandmother secretly plotting big trouble for Moose and Squirrel.
As Mary Lou’s death on January 23, 1990 coincided with my ex-wife’s unexpected positive pregnancy result, I must extend my heartfelt appreciation to Grandma Jones, who, no doubt, used her new-found influence with Him to bring my daughter, Mary Elizabeth Jones, into my life on September 19, 1990, a little less than nine months later.
As for Snoopy, though my obsession with Charles M. Schultz and his Peanuts characters led to your uninspired name, you were the epitome of boy’s best friend. Just understand that, if not “Snoopy,” your name might have been “Barnabas Collins” or “Dark Shadow,” so please count your doggie blessings.
And Henny Penny, yet another uninspired name courtesy of my grandmother this time; your untimely death in 1970 “at the paws of a wild coyote” was sad, very sad indeed. However, the mysterious circumstances of your death eventually came to light when, at age 43, some 35 years later, I learned from my older sister, Paula Perfect, that there was no ravenous coyote, only a family meal that lacked an entrée.
First, to my partner Derek: your somewhat-well-intentioned assessment that Henny Penny will always be part of me did NOT make me feel better.
Second, to my evil-secret-keeping sister Paula: you suck.
And lastly, to my Grandma Jones: I know one day we will meet again and you will hold me in your arms as you did when I was a boy. And I will, once again, know that feeling of complete safety and unabashed affection. And, of course, we’ll discuss how I named my daughter after you.
Then you, me and God will sit down and have a little chat about this unfortunate Henny-Penny-as-food situation. And as our family wasn’t poor, and Jello alone would have made for a fine Sunday meal, you , Mary Lou Boggs-Jones, can finally explain to me, and God, why you couldn’t be bothered to make a trip to the poultry department at Nowell’s Supermarket on that Sunday oh so long ago.
Because, trust me, I would die to know your answer.
Marketing guru, business humorist, professional-courtesy advocate, branded-content writer, creative-development consultant, and entertaining motivational speaker Randall Kenneth Jones is the creator of RediscoverCourtesy.org and the president of MindZoo, a marketing communications firm in Naples, Florida.