September 17, 2013 | by Mark McDonald
Lost: One Man’s Heart

By Mark McDonald

Every family should have a heart burglar. Ours is Sophie Elizabeth McDonald. She’s the 8-year-old thief who stole her grandfather’s heart, and kid sister to her older brother Riggs. Related by blood, when it comes to holding court, they are barely distant relatives.


Sophie, 8, notorious heart burglar, gets caught stealing her grandfather’s heart. Again.

While her brother is content to keep his own counsel, Sophie will not be ignored. More specifically, she is a dynamo who talks enough for the both of them. And she is quite the sales person. Whenever she says something … anything … she strives to be convincing. Case in point:

Princess Sophie enters the sitting parlor at Stately McDonald Manor where The Matriarch, is firmly entrenched in her knitting chair. {or is it needle-point?}

Ever engaging, Sophie’s arresting personality and swishy presence causes her grandmother to look up from her knitting {cross-stitch maybe?}

“Riggs,” Sophie announces with airy tone, “has a girlfriend.”

If true, this is front-page news, to be published under an 84-point banner headline. Young Sophie knows this, so pausing for effect, seizes the moment.

“Yeah, Riggs has a girlfriend,” she says with the knowing nod befitting a New York gossip columnist.

Taken aback, the trained skeptic comes out in a retired English teacher. The Matriarch cocks her head.

“Sophie are you sure?”

“Yeah, Riggs has a girlfriend.”

“You’re sure, are you?”

“Yeah, and they’re going to get married. It will be fun to have a big sister in school.”

A big sister in school?  The Matriarch cannot help but chuckle.

“Ohhh, Sophie, your brother is much too young to get married.”


An equal opportunity heart thief, Sophie claims multiple victims, including her father, Turk (r).

As a budding young story-teller and family clarion, she knows how to deal with skepticism. With confidence borne out of absolute certainty and a gas tank full of self-esteem, Sophie turns to her contrarian.

“Uh-huh,” she says, leaning on the second syllable.

“No way Riggs is getting married. He’s wa-a-ay, too young.”

Sophie, confident the facts lie squarely on her side, cocks her chin, puts hands on hips and sets the record straight once and for all:

“Riggs,” she sighs, “is almost twelve.”

With her audience sitting back in stunned silence, the heart burglar marches from the room, perhaps looking for new worlds to conquer.


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