This holiday season I have been introduced to Flat Stanley. 

Flat Stanley is a character in a book written by Jeff Brown.  My grandson, Jack Henry, is reading Flat Stanley in his second grade class.  

Stanley was not always flat, but one day he met up with a falling bulletin board.  The upside is that Flat Stanley can now visit family, friends—and grandparents—because he can travel in an envelope.  So Jack—aka known by his grandmother, my wife, as “Darling Jack,” has sent Flat Stanley for a visit to Dallas and our weekend home in Tyler, Texas, which is a lovely little city 90 minutes east, southeast of Big D. 

Jack’s classmates are eager to learn about Flat Stanley’s adventures in Texas.  That means the grandmother, hereinafter referred to as Nana, has been busy taking pictures and recording information for Flat Stanley’s travel journal, which we are required to submit to the class before next Friday, Dec. 7.  (In the interest of fair disclosure regarding nicknames, the grandkids refer to me as Popi, not Grandfather, the Search Dude or Mr. Self.  It is an endearing nickname and I accepted it with the full understanding that it could have been worse—Po Po, Pee Pee immediately come to mind.)

Deadlines are looming.  FedEx is scheduled to pick up Flat Stanley and his journal on Wednesday, Dec. 5, so Nana has to work fast to complete her work.  Today Nana is going to hit the streets of Dallas (read:the Dollar Store) collecting a red handkerchief, the kind worn by cowboys, a cowboy hat and, hopefully, some toy spurs to go with all the photographs we have taken with incredulous but accommodating friends, associates, our doorman and, of course, the Neiman Marcus Santa Claus who is, by the way, spectacular. 

All of these photographs and creative journaling about Flat Stanley’s Texas expedition ought to be an eyeful for those Connecticut kids who think of Texas as a place inhabited mostly by cowboys, horses, cows and some blowing tumbleweeds.

© 2012 John Gregory Self