Children have the wonderful quality of relaxing and sometimes defusing tense, emotional situations, accidentally and not premeditated. They’re so innocent and well intended, even the most intense people at least smile.

When I was eight and my brother was five we were in my Aunt’s wedding. It was quite the formal affair … before dancing down the aisle was popular. I was a junior bridesmaid and Russ was the one to release the ribbons on the rows for the parents and grandparents. Our three year old cousin Gary was the ring bearer.

The boys were wearing stiff, scratchy tuxes and I had on so many petticoats a strong wind would have lifted me off. To add to the uncomfortable factor, it was a hot summer afternoon.

Russ accomplished his duties without a hitch. I took my responsibilities very seriously. Gary made it down to the front with the white fluffy pillow holding the fake rings, turned around and smiled just like he was told to do. But, after a few minutes he began to fidget. Then he sat down. I pulled him to his feet. He sat down again, put the pillow on his lap and put his head on the pillow. I pulled him up again.

Russ was on the front row watching every move. Finally in effort to encourage his younger cousin, just after the pastor had said, “Let us pray,” Russ in a loud “whisper” said, “Hang on Gary. Grandaddy said after this is over, we’re going to get some Cracker Jacks.”

The very formal affair wasn’t so formal anymore.

So many times when I’m in the middle of an uncomfortable situation, I think about Cracker Jacks and the perfectly timed wise words of my five-year-old brother. Hang on. Uncomfortable times don’t last forever. The Cracker Jacks are coming.

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