09 January 2010

To one in Paradise

The daughter: "Mommy, what did Milton write?"

Me: "Paradise Lost."

The daughter, in a small voice: "Oh."

Me: "Also Paradise Regained."

The son, chortling: "Yeah, which is about eight lines long."

The son never misses a chance to remind everyone that, along with me, he's the only one in the family who's actually read Milton. But the daughter's question seemed a little odd, given the fact we have at least three copies of Paradise Lost wandering around the house.

Me, giving the son a warning glare and asking the daughter: "Why did you want to know?"

The daughter: "Well, in English, Mrs. H. asked, 'Who knows what Milton wrote?' And then she said that it started with P. and L."

Me: "I take it you didn't know the correct answer."

The daughter, head hanging: "I said Pippi Longstocking."

I choked back a startled laugh, while the son guffawed out loud.

Me, recovering: "Well, that's unique."

The daughter: "Mrs. D. was in the room, too, and she laughed so loud the room shook."

I can hear Mrs. D. two blocks away when she's hollering for children at car loading, so this was an unsurprising revelation.

The daughter continuing defensively: "I didn't know."

The spouse, in a deep, sepulchral tone: "And Pippi Longstocking was cast out of Heaven, pigtails flaming."

At which, everyone laughed so hard the house shook.

Go listen to some good music: "To One in Paradise" from the album Tales of Mystery and Imagination by The Alan Parsons Project. The daughter has recently taken to reading Poe. I'm sure she'll get to Milton eventually.

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