Always a fountain of fantastic anecdotes, the sensational Stacey has given me permission to retell this classic kid tale.
The always honest Jessica and her mother were enjoying a trip to the grocery store and, though Jessica had recently taken to making her observations of others very vocal, her mother was working hard to explain the virtues of not verbalizing every thought that popped into her precocious daughter's little head.
She was working on it.
As they meandered down this aisle and that, their paths kept crossing a woman shopping in the alternative direction. In the spirit of euphemisms, the woman would most accurately be described as full in figure and dour in expression. The woman was also wearing shorts that would require the benefits of Nair.
As the mother and daughter passed the woman at each new aisle, little Jessica's eyes took in the impressive folds of the woman's physique and her mind processed what she was seeing. To be clear, the grocery store was filled with all different people of varying shapes and sizes, and so the woman's particular shape was not responsible for the little girl's captivation. It was the lack of fabric used in her choice of outfits.
After the fourth or fifth passing, little Jessica's curiosity could be quieted no more. Right as the woman pushed by their cart, Jessica turned to her mother, pointed at the shopper, and loudly questioned,
"Mommy, why are her legs so fat?" Her Mommy took a moment to grip the cart as she said a silent prayer that the woman had not heard the question. Unfortunately, the prayer was the only think that reaped the benefits of silence.
The woman slowly turned to Stacey with a look of complete disgust and anger.
"Uh, you need to teach your daughter some manners," she spat, as she spun around on her heel and stalked off. Stacey called out an apology after her, but the damage was done. She felt awful.
To make matters worse, they continued to pass the object of the offense at each new aisle. Feeling like she needed to do something, Stacey explained to Jessica why she had hurt the woman's feelings and also told her that she needed to apologize. Jessica agreed and they awaited the next aisle's opportunity.
As the woman slowly approached the pair, determined not to make eye contact, Jessica slowly walked over to her to make ammends. Stacey watched as her daughter tried to make things better.
Jessica tapped the woman's purse and, with eyes full of innocence and wonderment, said to her:
"Excuse me, big lady, I'm sorry I said you have fat legs."
The woman stared down at her, realizing how brutally honest kids can be, and whispered, "It's okay, sweetie, really."
As always, special thanks to Shirley Magilton Photography for effectively capturing the charm of our little truth teller.