As I entered the school, she stood there holding the door open for me, looking up with a wide trusting smile. I guessed she was about eight. I watched her skip towards her grandfather, chattering loudly all the way to their car.
He looked to be about 60, with mostly white hair pulled into a long thick pony
tail trailing down his back, and tied with many black elastic bands, each carefully
spaced an inch apart.
Suddenly she stopped and grabbed his hand, talking earnestly to him in a low voice I couldn’t hear. I admired his polished cowboy boots and blue jeans as he bent down to face his granddaughter eye to eye. I liked how carefully he listened to her, nodding thoughtfully as she talked.
“I just couldn’t do it, Grampa.”
He looked her in the eyes. “What do you mean, you couldn’t do it?”
“You know! I’m only a girl.”
Her grandfather shook his ponytail, stood up and led her to the car. “You can do it! You just have to figure out how to it your way. You may not have huge body strength, but you can work through a problem using your brain. Being strong is good for some. Being smart, for you, is better.”
She studied him thoughtfully as he buckled her into her seat. Narrowing her eyes, she leaned in and stared at him. “So… I just use my brain to figure out how to do hard stuff?”
He nodded. “You are not only a girl. You are smart. Think it through, and do it your own way.”