A Girl Named Jelly
The RRR returns to his narrative of the events surrounding the graduation of Youngest Son from Air Force Basic Training. After I was able to greet my Airman at the parade ground he quickly had an ecstatic reunion with his wife and beloved daughter. Then, as he and his Mrs. and their friend wandered off to talk I took over carrying for the little girl. Just over two years old, she is one of those charming children who has a seeming wiseness beyond her years. She is an absolutely delightful child. It's indicative of her personality that she decided suddenly to change her name. One day, asked by an adult what her name was, she responded correctly, then suddenly came to a decision and said, "NO, my name is Jelly". And as such she has referred to herself ever since. Frequently she will refer to herself in third person, especially when she knows she has misbehaved. She will wave her finger and say, "No, no, Jelly, that's naughty!" In a way she's become her own imaginary friend. So Jelly and I spent the rest of the afternoon wandering about the base with her entertaining me with her chatter and explanations.
That evening we took my son to a buffet supper at the open mess hall on post. A couple of his comrades came up and asked to be introduced to me and told me that he had read my letters to them and they were inspiring to them and helped them make it through the stress of training. I was very proud. Then my daughter-in-law, her friend and Jelly drove back to the campsite. I lit the antique Coleman Lantern and made coffee and we talked about the day. They were pleased with the tent I'd found on sale for them to sleep in. I got a hug from Jelly and a "night, night, Papa". I walked up to the pay phone and called Mrs. RRR and told her all about it.