One was about her niece's 6-year-old son Jack, who attends a Catholic school back East. The teacher was telling the story about birth of Jesus, starting with when the angel appeared to tell Mary about his impending arrival.
"Does anyone know the angel's name?" the teacher asked. A student correctly answered, "Gabriel."
Jack shot up his hand. "I know the names of the other two angels," he said.
The teacher wasn't aware of any other angels at the scene but nonetheless told him to go ahead and tell the class.
"Hark and Herald," Jack said proudly. "Hark and Herald angels sing."
The other story was about her boss' granddaughter, also 6. She put a Gameboy on her list for Santa Claus. After her mother talked to her about not requesting anything too extravagant, the little girl pleasantly agreed, crossed it off and wrote down another thing she'd like Santa to bring: gum.
That's one thing my daughter Zoe likes about teaching kindergarten - the kids' appreciation of the little things. She bought each one an eraser last week. They cost about 10 cents apiece, and were in the shapes of snowmen, gingerbread men, Santa, a tree and other seasonal figures.
When she told them that she'd put surprises in their cubbies they couldn't wait to finish their assignment and look. As they discovered them they each cried out in joy, "Thank you, Ms. Ciardelli!" "I love you, Ms. Ciardelli!" They were so excited that she told them they had two minutes to talk about the erasers, then they would move on to something else. And indeed, for two minutes they talked about what they got and how much they loved her.
After Zoe has had a tiring day, her fiancÚ Jeff reminds her: "Who else has a job where every day people tell you they love you and give you hugs?"
There is an endless supply of cute kid stories. Art Linkletter made a career out of it on his TV show "House Party," with a segment called "Kids Say the Darndest Things," which resulted in books of the same name. The show ran five days a week for 20 years in the 1950s and 1960s, with Linkletter interviewing some 20,000 children in all. From 1998-2000 Bill Cosby revived the concept with Linkletter as his co-host.
My DJ friend Sam Van Zandt had a poignant "kid" tale to tell. He's on the KBAY Sam & Lissa morning show in San Jose, and on Saturday they broadcast from Christmas in the Park to get listeners to Stuff the Bus with Toys for Tots.
Sam told me about one mother who comes to the event every year with her twin daughters, Alexia and Alicia, who carefully select the toys to give to children who otherwise may not receive anything for Christmas. This year the girls are 9, and Alexia, who is blind, gave a Barbie backpack filled with toys. Alexia pointed out to Sam that she had labeled each of the toys in the backpack in Braille, in case it was received by another little girl who, like herself, is blind.
I ran into Sue and Bob Worthington in downtown Danville the other day, a retired couple I always see at the monthly Mayor's Mornings. They were both laughing and told me why.
They'd been walking down Hartz Avenue with Bob holding their purchases when a woman passed them going into a store and said, "Hi, Bob."
Sue looked at Bob but he was bewildered and asked the woman how she knew his name.
She didn't, she said. But whenever she sees a husband carrying the purchases, she always calls him Bob, short for beast of burden.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa to all the bobs of the world - and to those for whom they are bobbing.
-Dolores Fox Ciardelli can be e-mailed at editor@DanvilleWeekly.com.