The Sour Grape holds grudges for every reason under the sun. Lime never returned a scarf they borrowed? Grudge! Orange never called back? Grudge! But when a friend holds a grudge against the Sour Grape without listening to an explanation, the Sour Grape realizes how unfair grudges can be. Could a bunch of forgiveness and compassion be enough to turn a sour grape sweet?
Welcome to Read With Me Fun
Today's story is "The Sour Grape", written by Jory John and Pete Oswald.
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I'm a grape. A sour grape.
If somebody upsets me, I'll remember it.
If somebody wrongs me, I won't forget it.
Is somebody insults me, I'll never ignore it. Nope.
See that banana over there? That banana slipped and bumped into me. So I'm holding a grudge!
See that orange? That orange didn't call me back for a week. Grudge!
See that lime? That lime borrowed my scarf and never returned it. Grudge!
I suppose I've got pretty thin skin for a grape. Nobody steps on this grape!
Granted, it wasn't always this way.
I grew up in a close-knit bunch. There were about three thousand of us in our little community. We were sweet to each other.
"You look nice today."
"So do you!"
"No YOU do!"
We all lived on a vine. Sure, it was a bit claustrophobic. Especially when we were trying to get ready in the morning.
"Are you done in there? C'mon!"
But my family was ripe with humour, goodwill, and warmth. We did our best with what we had.
"Are you gonna finish that?"
My grandparents visited on the weekends. We'd stroll in the sun and they'd teach us what they knew. They said that it takes a bunch to raise a seed. They said that good grapes roll their own way in life. They told us to be kind, forgiving, considerate, and grateful. "Or grapeful," my grandpa said with a wink.
"Above all, no matter what life throws at you - and there will be a lot - try to stay sweet," my grandma said.
Indeed we said in response. And for a while I said, "Please." I said, "Thank you." I brushed aside life's little annoyances. I knew how good I had it.
"Ha ha! No problem at all!"
But then one day, something changed in me.
It was my birthday. I had rigorously and vigorously planned a big party for weeks. I'd sent out invitations with the date prominently displayed.
Get this; I had a Ferris wheel, a magician, and hay rides. I had snacks upon snacks upon snacks.
The highlight of the party, though, was a fireworks display, which would happen at sundown.
I stood out front and waited for folks to arrive. I had a gigantic smile on my face. I waited.
Everybody was a little late, it seemed. No big deal. No big whoop. So I waited.
A tumbleweed rooled by.
A coyote howled in the distance. Awoooooooooo!
The sun sank behind the hills. And I waited.
Nobody showed up. And I mean NOBODY!
By the time the fireworks show started - with me as the sole spectator - I was scowling.
I considered everybody I'd invited, and only one thought came to mind.
grudge grudge grudge grudge grudge grudge grudge GRUDGE!
After that, my personality became something else entirely. I went from a sweet grape ... to a bitter grape ... to a snappy grape.
"Who moved my chair!!"
Finally, I became sour grape!
I started holding minor grudges that, eventually, became major grudges.
"Why don't you watch where you're going?!"
I scowled so much that my face got all squishy.
"You know what? Don't even bother calling me back!"
I took my grumpiness out on others.
"Are you ever going to return my scarf?"
And that's just how it's been. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Grudge after grudge.
But something happened recently that changed my thinking ...
I was getting ready to meet up with my friend Lenny, the only fellow I know who's as sour as I am.
Lenny and I usually go to the park, where we sit on a bench and rant about stuff. But just as I was heading out the door, I bumped my knee.
After I'd bandaged myself up, I discovered I had a flat tire.
Then I missed the bus and the next bus was late.
Finally, I got off at the wrong stop.
By the time I arrived at the park, it was getting dark. Lenny was fuming and furious, with a frown and a furrowed forehead. His face looked all squishy.
"We agreed to meet at exactly four o'clock. You're three hours late!"
I tried to explain why I was so tardy, but Lenny wouldn't listen. He'd already made up his mind. He'd formed a huge grudge and he wouldn't budge!
I couldn't believe it!
How unfair, I thought! How ridiculous, I thought! How ... um ... how similar to the way I would react.
Lenny was pretty worked up. He was pacing back and forth, emitting occasional grumbles. His tone was tart.
So I gave him a little space.
Besides, it was nice out. I noticed the sky changing colours, the melodic chirping of the birds, the evening breeze, the buzz of the park's insects coming alive at night. I suddenly felt grateful, and peaceful, and calm.
Had I been missing all this simple beauty because I was to busy complaining?
Meanwhile, ol' Lenny stormed off, muttering something about "disrespect" and "lack of consideration." I'm pretty sure, I heard him add a "Grrr!" too.
I walked home. I pulled a dusty box out from under my bed. There were old family photos inside.
I spotted myself in one of the pictures. I was so sweet!
I knew that little grape from the photo was still a big part of me, deep down. It would just take some work, to get back there again.
And that was the exact moment I found the invitation I had sent out for my infamous birthday party. The one where nobody showed up. It said May 31st. But wait, wait a minute here. My birthday was on May 21st!
Alas, I told everyone to come on the wrong day!
It was my fault! I realized nobody's perfect, not even me.
After that day, I started noticing other things, too. Like ... how remining sour all the time is so draining. I'd wasted so much energy holding grudges when I could've easily cleared the air if I'd felt hurt.
And yes, I still get upset from time to time. But that's okay! Because now I talk, and I listen, and I work things out instead of just walking away.
My sourness is fading. I'm letting go of all my grudges. And hey, it's working.
"Slipups happen! I'm just glad you're okay."
"That scarf looks sublime on you. Why don't you keep it?"
"Really? You're the best!"
"Orange you glad we got to catch up?"
"I'm so grapeful tat we did!"
Sure, sometimes I let out a little "Grrrrrrr!" when I'm frustrated, like this:
But then I move on. My face is less squishy too!
Oh, and don't worry, things are okay with Lenny again.
"Gosh, sorry I'm late! You must be furious."
"No big deal my friend."
You know what? If you look at things in the right sort of way, and if you remember to be kind, considerate, forgiving, and grateful, life really can be pretty sweet. Yes indeed.
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