Family Fun Night: The Ransom of Red Chief

Tonight is Thursday, our Family Fun Night. I think it's time for our annual reading of THE RANSOM OF RED CHIEF. If you have never read O. Henry's hilarious tale of two men and a little boy with a crooked halo, you are missing out on a real treat.

Here's the general program: After the children have stuffed themselves with mounds of popcorn and washed it down with hot cocoa, they gather around Daddy Dear. He clears his throat and puts forth his best Southern accent. His voice is clear and serious...

"It looked like a good thing: but wait till I tell you. We were down South, in Alabama--Bill Driscoll and myself-when this kidnapping idea struck us. It was, as Bill afterward expressed it, "during a moment of temporary mental apparition"; but we didn't find that out till later..."

Thus the tale begins.

But just a few minutes into the reading, Daddy Dear's voice begins to crack and he can no longer keep a straight face. The antics of Red Chief are just too much for him. We all join in with peals of laughter. Our youngest doesn't know exactly what's going on in this here story, but it must be a pretty jolly tale, so he collapses on the floor giggling. Daddy Dear tries to regain composure and continue the story although tears are now streaming down his cheeks. We have all become addle. Heaven help us! Will this story please end soon? I'm not sure we can stand much more.

Have I made myself clear?


one step at a time...