My granddaughter Shelly climbed up in my lap. “Grandma Pauline, tell me the little alien story.”
“You’ve heard it a thousand times.”
I patted her bony little knee. “I guess one more time won’t hurt. A long time ago…”
Shelly shifted on my lap. “It was in 1958, wasn’t it, Grandma?”
“It was. Back in 1958, Grandpa Clarence and I were sitting on my parents’ porch. We weren’t married yet. He had come over to see me and we were drinking Coca Colas and enjoying the night. The sky was pretty, with lots of stars.”
“And you saw a star that moved, didn’t you?”
“Yes, baby, but it turns out it wasn’t a star at all. It was a little flying saucer.”
My granddaughter’s eyes widened. “Wow.”
“And it landed right there on the lawn. Guess what came out of the saucer?”
“A Purple People Eater.” She folded her arms across her chest in triumph.
“That’s right. A little alien stepped out. He had one big eye, and one long horn sticking out of the top of his head. He walked pigeon-toed and had a purple glow all around him. Grandpa and I were scared. We’d never ever seen anything like that.”
“Me either, Grandma.”
“Well, finally Grandpa got his wits about him and he asked, ‘What do you want?’ That little man answered him in a tiny little voice.”
“He sounded like a cartoon, didn’t he?”
“Yes, he did. He told Grandpa he was a Purple People Eater who ate Purple People.”
Shelly wrinkled her nose. “Eww.”
“That was hard to believe, because he really wasn’t very scary after all. He was so little and talked so funny, I giggled. Besides, have you ever heard of Purple People?”
“So Grandpa kept talking to him, and do you know what he said?”
“He said he really came to play in a rock and roll band.”
Grandpa said he wanted to hear more, and he invited him up on the porch. He even gave the little man a Coke, and then you know what happened?”
“He said it was out of this world.”
“Yes, Shelly, that’s what he said. I poured some peanuts in his Coke bottle, and he went crazy. Said he was definitely going to tell the folks back on the planet Zarch about it. Then he told us he could play the horn on his head.”
My granddaughter clapped her hands together. “That’s awesome.”
“Yes it was, but back then we said it was hip. He puffed his cheeks out and blew, and that horn on his head started playing. It sounded just like a saxophone. He did a real good rendition of ‘Yakety Yak.’ Not only that, but he could do a real crazy swing. He grabbed me and we danced across the lawn.”
Grandpa was impressed. Told him he knew some TV producers that would let him play his horn on their show. He got real excited and started singing some funny alien words. We laughed out loud. Then you know what happened?“
“Yes, he got to be on TV.”
“Yep. That little alien, who turned out to be a real friendly guy, appeared on Fred Lance’s Original Amateur Hour. The whole country was talking about it, but nobody believed he was really an alien. They thought he was probably just a little person dressed up, but Grandpa and I knew better.”
“Why didn’t they believe he was an alien?”
“Well, sometimes people just don’t believe what is right in front of their noses. People get so caught up in their work, they can’t see things that are fun or special. They are just too busy.”
“That’s a shame, isn’t it, Grandma?”
“Yes it is. Now Grandpa and me, we know the Purple People Eater was real. There was even a man who wrote a very popular song about it. He changed a couple of details, but he did pretty well telling the story. People thought it was just a silly song, because they were too busy to have some fun and imagine what might have really happened.
Shelly looked up at me. “I believe in the Purple People Eater.”
“That’s because you’re young and nobody’s told you shouldn’t.”
I kissed her cheek as she continued, “Now will you tell me the real story of ‘Alley Oop’?”
“Sure baby. Let me get us a Coke and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Authors note: My apologies to Sheb Wooley, who wrote and performed the number one hit “Purple People Eater” in 1958.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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