Francie is my sister. Boy, is she gullible! Ever since we were kids, I could put one over on her. One memorable Christmas, I told her that Santa died, and Francie nearly swallowed her tongue.
Francie is married to a sportswriter. Joe Riva is gruff and tough. His stories, though, always go for that unrevealed detail that nobody else writes about: how the famous baseball player cries over animal cruelty, how that one football player calls his mom every day—things like that. And Francie is always so wide-eyed about each story. “Can you believe this?” she says. Or “Wow. I loved the story about the tennis pro who cans pickles in her spare time! I never would have predicted that!”
Right. Francie is gullible; she always reacts with such wide-eyed surprise to everything. If it is news, it’s always news to Francie. But here is the thing: Francie has such a sense of wonder. Her life is a series of thrills and shocks. She is never bored. While the rest of us ho-hum around at just about everything, Francie is first in disbelief, then wonderfully aroused: “Why, I just can’t believe that they are now putting bacon on doughnuts! What a delicious idea! I wish I had thought of that!”
Even bad news is transmogrified in Francie’s eyes. Global warming? Francie thinks it’s a real challenge for mankind, and Francie feels that mankind will rise to the challenge. Politicians who have affairs? Francie gasps. But then she reminds us that all people are subject to temptation—why should Congressmen be any different?
Her kids surprise her every day, just about. She cannot believe how beautiful noodle necklaces are! And Jamie finished his entire lunch without dropping any blueberries from his high chair onto the floor! This is awesome. A little league homerun hit by her son Charlie? Such a wonderful shock!
I wish I could be more like my sister. I am much more gloom and doom. Nothing bad that happens ever surprises me, because I have such a dim view of everything and everybody. Just once, I would like to react with hope instead of horror. Francie is my hero. And if I told her this, she would be absolutely stunned.
Molly Campbell, author of the upcoming Keep the Ends Loose, loves to create characters. We’ll be frequently sharing her stories here, but you can always stay up-to-date on her creations and other posts at her website.