When I was a kid, all the best stories started with “Once upon a time” and ended with “happily ever after.” Most people call such stories fairy tales and say the real world doesn’t work that way. Most people say the dragons are too dangerous, the fairy princesses all get old, and the armour, no matter how shiny, always turns to rust. That’s what most people say. But there are some people who, quite frankly, aren’t convinced that most people know what they’re talkin’ about. I knew a man like that. His name was Ken, and he married my sister.
Ken was nobody’s saint. In fact, given some of the stories I could tell, he wasn’t even a choirboy. He was just an average guy. He got up in the morning and went to work every day. He did the best he could with what he had, and sometimes that wasn’t good enough. He worried too much. He raised his children without an Instruction Manual and loved his grandchildren just because. On occasion, he was a round peg, trying desperately to fit into one of life’s unforgiving square holes — and on occasion, he didn’t try. In short, Ken was remarkably ordinary — except he wasn’t.
Here’s the real story:
Once upon a time, my sister lived in a basement apartment. It was cold and it was dark, and when it rained, it was as damp as a dungeon, One day, a handsome knight drove up in a shiny blue pickup truck, and when he saw my sister, he held out his hand and said, “I have something I want you to see.” And my sister came out of the basement and went with the handsome knight. And sometime later, on a night so beautiful even the moon blushed behind the clouds, the handsome knight pointed to the sky and said, “I’m going there: the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. Will you come with me?” And my sister said yes. And for so many years, they travelled together, laughed and cried and played in the sunshine. And when there were dragons, they slayed them, and when there were rainbows, they chased them, and when it was cold, they clung to each other against the wind. And time on, later they had children who grew up and flourished and had children of their own. And for my sister and her handsome knight summers and winters came and went. And when there were dragons, they slayed them, and when there were rainbows, they chased them, and when it was cold, they clung to each other against the wind. And for all their years, they lived happily ever after.