The following is from one of my Reader’s Digest submissions.

I take a break from my traditional FROG Blog to celebrate spring’s new birth!

Trusting you’ll discover fresh outlook every day, Christina

Dedicated to Karen K., my favorite babysitter

My siblings and I had our typical squabbles, but we consistently agreed on one thing. Karen was our favorite childhood babysitter.

Karen brought a whimsical energy when she babysat. She’d bring a special bag filled with books, art supplies and treats.  She’d invent creative games with action-packed adventures and when she read, she used animated voices. We’d be sad to see the story end.

Karen made incredible malts to savor while we watched BJ and the Bear, a 1970’s show starring Greg Evigan as BJ and his chimpanzee Bear. We sang the show’s theme song and loudly bellowed our favorite line when BJ looks over at Bear and says, “Someday Bear, I’m gonna teach you how to sing.”   Bear would sit up in BJ’s semi, clap his hands and sport a wide toothy grin. Karen challenged us to race to get into our pj’s before the first commercial set finished so we’d be back in the living room when the show started.

BJ and the Bear finished at 9:00 and we knew bedtime followed, but we didn’t want the evening to end. Karen continued our party with a fun way to urge us to sleep before our parents returned. We got to campout on the living room floor only when she babysat.  We didn’t realize Karen had pre-approved this rare bedtime event with our parents, and we thought we were getting away with something huge.

Karen called our bedtime the “Sleep-A-Thon: The Final Competition.” She used her commentator voice to announce that the first person who got their pillow and blanket to the living room won a prize from her secret babysitter bag. That reward included stickers, a superball, or a mini toy.

Next, she’d offer a quarter to whoever was silent first. She gave a dime to the second-place winner and a consolation penny for the final quiet sibling.  We had the coin taken if we broke our code of silence.

Finally, the Sleep-A-Thon’s grand finale.  Whoever got to sleep first got a mini candy bar that she’d leave for the winner to discover the next morning. We were disqualified from the sleeper marathon if we tried pretentious snoring or fake slumber. We don’t recall a time when we were awake once Mom and Dad returned.

Forty years later, Karen’s legacy lives on. We still talk about Karen memories and how she filled our house with contagious spirit.

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