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"Papa!" My 5-year-old granddaughter was yelling at the top of her lungs, as we passed God Father's Pizza on Perry Lane Road.

"What is with you, Turkey?" I asked pinching her little nose between my fingers and wondering what the heck she was yelling about.

"Can we stop and see Sparkles?"

"I'll sparkle you side of the head you little dink," I told her as I grabbed her nose again.

"Please Papa, please?"

I turned my car around and headed back in the direction that we had just come, and turned into the God Father's parking lot. I saw several large groups of 20 to 30 children heading in the front door of the pizza parlor. I then noticed a large sign out front that said, “Today only, Sparkles the Clown.”

I rolled my eyes into the back of my head and wondered just what the heck I had gotten myself into. Before reaching the front door, I did my very best to try to induce a coma-like state ahead of jumping feet first into the large herd of partying piranhas waiting for me inside. It took every ounce of strength I had to listen to all that non-stop screaming and yelling, just so Chelsey could have a minute or two with Sparkles the Clown. If I’d had two large cans of pork-n-beans, I would have hit myself in the head, as it would have made me feel a little better.

Sparkles constantly moved around the room making balloon hats for the kids. Chelsey followed Sparkles from station to station, just so she could be near him. Finally, I told Chelsey it was time for us to go and I grabbed her by the hand. A sad look came over her face and her lips started to quiver. We walked out the front door and headed toward the car.

Then I noticed the tears running down her little face. I stopped, looked down and asked her what the problem was. She looked up at me with her tear-stained cheeks and sobbingly said, "I just wanted to tell Sparkles good bye.”

My heart just about melted inside of me. I turned around, headed back in the restaurant and walked Chelsey over to where Sparkles was standing. "Bye, Sparkles," said Chelsey softly as she broke into a full-blown cry.

"What's the matter baby? Don't cry."

Sparkles knelt down and touched Chelsey on the cheek.

"I'll make you a great big balloon hat and if your grandpa has some glue at home, he can put this great big feather right on the top." Chelsey smiled a great big smile and we waited as Sparkles made a special hat, which was almost as big as she was. Once again we walked out the front door heading for the car. I looked down and saw that look of sadness was once again appearing on Chelsey's little face.

A bit agitated I asked, "What is the matter now?"

I got down on one knee so I could look at her straight in the face.

"Papa, one day when I am not spending the night with you and Granny, could I spend the night with Sparkles?”

I was speechless. What does one say to an innocent little girl? The world has changed so much; all the wonderful things that belong in a child's life must now be looked at with skepticism. It really bothers me not being able to tell the truth to my grandchildren. However, sometimes I guess we have to lie, in order to make our children and grandchildren as happy as we can, for as long as we can.

One day, when they grow up and have children of their own, they will understand and know that we really were being honest.

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