Addi Bunnell’s grandparents have taught her that anyone can like the ballet, even her grandpa

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For as long as she can remember, senior Addi Bunnell’s grandpa has been telling her his favorite joke. Its plot line consists of two worms walking into a bar. Her grandpa laughs because he thinks the joke top tier; she laughs because it makes her happy when they are both laughing. 

“There are two worms, and they walk into a bar,” Addi recited, “and they’re like, let’s order some beers. Then they play checkers for a while. They get bored. So they say, ‘oh, let’s play chess instead,’ so they play chess and sit for a while. Then, one of them’s like, ‘man, this is really boring,’ and other one’s like, ‘yeah, but it sure beats fishing.’”

While the joke may seem ordinary to the average interpreter, to Addi and her grandfather—mainly her grandfather—it is pivotal humor and a meaningful motif of sorts that they share.

“Even though it’s really not super funny,” Addi said, “he thinks it’s funny, so I act like it’s the funniest thing ever. I always ask him to tell it to me. He thinks it’s the funniest thing ever.” 

As they have grown together, they have developed a pattern of evolving and stretching for one another. They make it a point to share interests or at least express interest in each other’s hobbies. 

The last thing that my grandpa wanted to do was sit through a three-hour ballet performance at the American Ballet Theatre, but in the end, I think he loved it”

— Addi Bunnell

In doing this, they are not only made closer, but they’re also able to express to one another just how significant the roles they play in each other’s lives are.

For one, when Addi took a trip to New York City with her grandma and grandpa, the ballet was not her grandfather’s ideal source of entertainment; regardless, he stuck it out for the sake of her enjoyment.

“They made sure that we were doing things that I wanted to do,” Addi said. “Even though I am sure that there were other things that they wanted to do, they put me first. They wanted to make sure I was enjoying everything. The last thing that my grandpa wanted to do was sit through a three-hour ballet performance at the American Ballet Theatre, but in the end, I think he loved it and didn’t realize how much he would enjoy it and how much I would enjoy it.”

Though the occasional vacation or trip occurs with her grandparents, the more casual visits are what have brought Addi so close to them. 

Annually, Addi tends to engage in back-to-school shopping with them as well as the yearly applesauce or cookie bake, and while she may have learned some invaluable skills in these very important departments, they have also taught her much more.  

“I have a very close relationship with them,” Addi said. “We see them often. Even though they have to travel far, it means a lot to them when they can spend time with us. It’s a very casual relationship, and even though they are my grandparents, I’m able to joke around with them and stuff.”

Their bond has been made possible through the connection her mother and she have formed, and because generationally, mother and daughter seem to have shared this same friendship, it was not challenging for them to all become best friends of sorts.

The laid-back nature of their relationship exists even on TikTok. Many circulate throughout their texts, and while her grandma occasionally has some trouble opening them, they always end up being worth the struggle. 

“I think [that] me being so close with my mom and us being literally best friends relates to my mom’s relationship with her mom,” Addi said. “It makes sense. We’re all besties, and we all send TikToks in our group chat, and then we have to tell my grandma how to open them. But, when she gets it, she enjoys them.”

While a lighthearted quality can be assigned to this critical familial relationship so prevalent in Addi’s life, she also pulls a unique arrangement of skills and interests from them. 

Mainly, however, she attributes her intentions to think and to live outside of her comfort zone to the influence of her grandparents. She is grateful for their constant presence in her life; without their example, she may have grown to be completely different.

“I think they have taught me patience,” Addi said, “and also being open to learning more things. My grandpa was a big book reader, and he always encourages me to think outside of the box when it comes to trying new things.”