Grapes of Bath

Meet Grapey. I know, totally unimaginative name. I came up with it on the fly. I like to think, however, that I regained points in originality by having Grapey sing to my daughter while she brushed her teeth last night. It, too, proves my long-held theory that pretty much anything can be puppetized, if you want it badly enough. I’ll bet you didn’t even know that was a word, did you? Pretty much any word can be “-ized,” as well.

Anyway, Grapey turned out to be surprisingly expressive. That smile! Like Julia Roberts’, but less toothy. I’d like to wax equally enthusiastic about his eyes, chin, or nose, but, for obvious reasons, must refrain. Still, the overall effect was quite engaging. Or I thought so, anyway.

A history: part of a bowl of fruit offered to MJ prior to nap yesterday, Grapey was rejected due to his gross disfigurement. At the time we were on the floor of her bedroom. I plucked the offending bite out of the bowl and set it on the base of a standing fan, thinking “I must remember to take that when I leave the room.” Of course, I did not.

Cut to night time. Back in the same spot, but now getting ready for bed. Pajamas. Diapers. Arguments over lighting. Suddenly I spotted the small, scar-faced sphere, still propped mournfully on the fan base. I scooped it up as we headed to the bathroom to brush teeth. “I’ll throw it away after she goes down,” I thought. “Really.” I set the grape on the bathroom counter — in order to not forget.

While I was brushing MJ’s teeth — or attempting to — she spotted it. “What’s that, Mama?”

And, at that moment, Grapey was born. Without any forethought I picked him up, turned him towards Myra-Jean, and let him rip. The words — what can I say? — just flowed. His speaking voice: high, lilting, slightly saccharin. The content? Clever. Lively. With flashes of brilliance. After discussing his situation at some length, Grapey offered to sing for MJ, but only if she would allow me to finish her dental ablutions. Of course he didn’t use those words. Grapey was erudite, but never pretentious.

Soon he was singing for all he was worth. The song? An extemporaneous meditation on life, love, and the traits of various zoo animals.

MJ, gaping in astonishment, let me brush her teeth — both rows! — quite thoroughly. Genius.

When we were done Grapey offered to accompany MJ to the bedroom. “I can sing you a lullaby in your crib,” he shrilled hopefully.

Myra-Jean considered this, then turned to me gravely:

“I’d rather it was you, Mommy.”

And so good night, Grapey. It was fun while it lasted. Hope you knock ’em dead in the garbage disposal.

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