THE LOST SHEEP
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? --Luke 15:4
I just have one sheep, which for my needs is a good as a hundred. His name is Sheepspeare. He wears a wool sweater. One of the stars from Wallace and Gromit's famed short A Close Shave, he lives atop the speaker next to my computer screen, up in the loft. Sheepspeare is an alias (his real name is Shaun). Nevertheless he's very helpful and cooperative, with sheepish patience holding papers I'm editing so I can retype them when necessary. He requires no upkeep other than occasional sweater spiffing and general dusting.
One day over the year-end holidays, one of the twins (pick either one) spotted Sheepspeare while I was showing her some neat kidstuff on the computer. Quicker than you can yell "Mine!" she snatched Sheepspeare and held him so close to her toddler heart in such an endearing way that it melted my own heart to behold so keen a display of affection from one so young, yet already so capable of emotional attachment to vulnerable furry animal objects of no familiar history other than belonging to grandpa.
We then had our Christmas party, and through the many holiday events I forgot about Sheepspeare, until I was editing one day and, reaching to hand Sheepspeare a paper to hold, found that he wasn't there. Where did he go? I never-- then I remembered a twin grabbing him and loving him dearly. She must have carried him around close to her precious heart all the while she was here, and at some point put him down while distracted by something that had to be monumental, then she fell asleep or something; it wouldn't have been easy to break that tender bond she'd had with Sheepspeare.
Since he must be somewhere in the house, I asked Echo if she had seen Sheepspeare. She said Who? I said Sheepspeare, the little sheep in the sweater who sits next to my computer and holds papers I'm editing so I can retype them when necessary. She said I haven't seen him. If Echo hasn't seen him, that means he isn't in the house. The little booger had taken him away! Such is love.
I right away emailed Kasumi (mother of the twin), providing the details of the disappearance. She said there was no such animal in their menagerie. Sheepspeare was neither here nor there. He had fallen out a car window or something. I held a little mental funeral for him. His place went unfilled, since in the fickle ways of commerce they don't sell sheep dolls around here anymore.
Then one day a month or so later, still in mourning, I was upstairs typing unassisted with difficulty, jerrypropping up the papers on my own with postits, pins and gimcracks, when Echo called me from downstairs. What, I said. Come downstairs, she replied in an odd voice, I have to show you something. I went downstairs, where she stood in the living room, pointing upward. I looked.
There atop one of the support logs that bridge the living room lay Sheepspeare, where he'd fallen, lying on his side, staring forlornly into the upper reaches. He had been lying there since the twin had taken him not to her heart, but to the loft railing and thrown him over when no one was looking, then forgot about him completely. So much for heartwarming.
It appears to be a common error in grandparents to assume total cuteness and altruism in the grandkids, and to overlook that remnant smidgen of Attila the Hun. Fact is, each of us at birth is a culmination of all human history; if raised with care, in time we improve. Which I guess is the point.