Once, when my sister Germaine was about eight years old, our Dad (whom I typically called by his first name, Delwin) brought her up to Athens with him to visit me in my apartment. My brother Brad (who also lived in Athens ... still does, in fact) came over with them.
Us grown-ups were sitting around the table drinking beer and chatting ... I don't remember what about, but my Dad does like to wax philosophical, so I wouldn't be suprised if the "ultimate true nature of reality" or some such was the topic at hand.
Germaine was sitting off by herself, not included in our conversation. At that age, she was proud of what she was able to read, and came up to us with some advertisement or something, and said "I can read this!"
"You interrupted me!" complained Delwin. "Can't you see we're having a conversation? You need to wait your turn to speak!"
Not wanting to exclude my sister, I came up with an idea that would incorporate her desire to read, and would distract her for at least a couple of minutes so us grown-ups could continue our sophisticated conversation.
"Germaine, if I write a sentence, can you draw a picture of it?" I asked. Germaine was excited about the idea.
Patches can swim underwater.
I wrote on a little yellow writing pad, near the bottom of the page so there was plenty of room to draw a picture above. (Patches was her little chihuahua.) Sure enough, G. dutifully went off to draw the picture, and us grown-ups were able to continue to drink beer and have our grown-up discussion for an extended period of time. I figured all I would have to do would be to keep feeding her sentences every so often, and everyone would be happy.
But something strange happened that I never would have predicted. When Germaine came back to the table and triumphantly annouced that she had finished her picture, everyone wanted to see it. This game, which I had hoped would just keep her busy, caused her to become the center of attention.
Delwin annouced that he wanted to write something for Germaine to draw. He wrote
in all capital letters near the top of a page. I guess he wanted to see her idea of what God looked like, but after puzzling over it for a minute Germaine had to ask "is God an angel?". Delwin said he just wrote that as sort of a joke. Germaine drew something like an angel.
The game expanded so that we were all taking turns writing sentences for another one of us to draw. Germaine was now fully included, an equal in drawing and writing sentences.
I only remember one more picture, the one that kind of wrapped up the game. Someone (Germaine?) had written "Dad is sad" and it was my brother Brad's turn to draw the picture. He drew an R. Crumb style man with tears flying off his face, holding an empty beer mug with a sign pointing to it saying "Last Beer".