On that hot June morning, at five years old, I had been outside playing in my grandmother’s large backyard. Bordered by a privet hedge, her yard was my world as I explored the bursting rosebuds in the flower garden, followed the exploits of the Japanese beetles, startled sunning garter snakes, or scratched in the dirt under the bridal wreath. From time to time I sought shelter under the grape arbor or the huge Queen Anne cherry tree in the farthest corner, but that meant standing still. And I hadn’t yet searched for blooms to blow from the trumpet vine climbing the trellis that formed the back exit to the yard.
Nan, my father’s mother, appeared in the dim interior hallway, her shoulders shaking and her hand covering her mouth. Her eyes were twinkling as she bent down and hugged me, “A bun, you’d like to me to tie up your hair in a bun?”
“Yes,” I replied into her neck. “Will you make my hair into a bun?”
Her laughter, I knew, was from the pleasure she derived from me, as well as from my expression—which I had been so sure was right. Later, no doubt enjoying the experience all over again, Nan wrote up the anecdote and submitted it to her newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor. It was published in her favorite feature section, entitled “Small Fry Corner.”