Sweet Cherry-Hots

“Daddy, will you sing the Cherry Hot song?” I twisted and squirmed until I found a comfortable position, chin pressed against my soft Barney the Dinosaur sheets. My teeth were brushed, my nightgown was on, it’s time for bed.

“Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home…”

I finally rested my head on my pillow, face turned towards his. He ran his finger over my forehead and down my nose, again and again.

“Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home…”

It was hard to keep my eyes open; with each stroke of his finger, I’d blink, and my eyes would open a little slower each time.

His voice swung low, tone-deaf, but I couldn’t tell. Its deepness resonated through my chest.

The words didn’t matter, it was just the cadence with which he said them, the same way he did in church when I’d rest my head against his chest and hear his deepness resonating out through vibrations into my ear. No one else could hear the way he shook the earth with each word, but I could.

“Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home…”

He’s what brings me home.

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Sunday Storytime: In The Night Kitchen

Upon rereading, I don’t even know what to say about this one. I remember loving it, I remember loving the rough textured cover interrupted by a big circle seal in the center, but I don’t remember what it was about the story that I liked. Because it seems bizarre now.

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Duncan joins us for story time!

In the Night Kitchen starts out pretty normal: a boy in bed at night, who hears a noise in the darkness. Then there’s an Alice in Wonderland scene where he falls down past lots of things, but for some reason he loses his clothes, and then he falls into a bowl of bread dough.

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I suppose at this point, we realize that the boy is dreaming. And the story definitely has the strangeness of a dream: set on a kitchen countertop, cooks attempt to make him into a cake, but then he pops out, takes some bread dough and shapes it into a plane, and then flies away.

In case you forgot, he’s naked during the entire book, which apparently caused some controversy.

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Of course, when I realize that the author/illustrator is Maurice Sendak, who also wrote Where the Wild Things Are, the strangeness of the story suddenly becomes more whimsical than weird.

P.S. Check out the links if you want to know more about the author, and his intentions with his books. He vowed not to write stories about sunshine and rainbows, because that’s not real life. He was also interviewed on Colbert.  They talk about penises. (And here’s part two.)