High School Faux Pas

I remember reading, once, that certain college entrance exams were considered unfair assessments of future performance because they relied too heavily upon cultural knowledge of white middle-class America.  If that was not your experience, then you would not score as well, intelligence notwithstanding.  These cultural shackles work in reverse, too.

I lived a sheltered life.  I remember lying on the carpet one Sunday morning, reading a cryptically written story on the front page of the Quad City Times, rolling over, looking up, and saying, “Hey, Dad, what’s V.D?”

He hemmed, and fussed, and muttered something about, “Ask your mother,” but, when I turned to her, he quickly added, “Later!”

I never did get “the talk”.  Consequently, everything I learned about sex, I overheard in the locker room.

In 1969, the book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex: But Were Afraid to Ask, was published, Buried in it was one little useful tidbit of information that would, one day, jump out at me, hit me in the face in an “Oh, crap” moment, and reveal the depth of my high school naïveté. Unfortunately, I would not read that book while I was in high school.

As a senior, I found myself assigned to Mr. Robert Smith’s homeroom history and government class. Mr. Smith had a wry and witty sense of humor. I recall he signed my yearbook with a rubber stamp. But, he also was a very approachable man, and my friend, Keith, and I would often talk to him before class.

One day, Mr. Bob started referring to Keith as “Captain Courageous”, and to me as “Sidekick.” (hmmm.)

“I’ll call you, ‘C.C.’ for short,” he said, and laughed.

“Okay,” said Keith, “and I’ll start calling you the ‘Scarlet Pimpernel.’”

Bob laughed.

“Or, ‘Pimp’, for short,” laughed Keith.

Bob didn’t laugh.

…But I did. I thought it was hilarious, for some reason. Over the next several days, I got a big kick out of passing Mr. Smith in the hallway, and saying rather loudly, “Hi, Pimp,” and then scurrying away like O.J. Simpson through a crowded airport. He chased a couple of times, but I always got away. It was great sport. By the following week, I had forgotten about the nicknames…

…until college. On the day my cultural base broadened to include knowledge of what, exactly, a “pimp” is, I felt pretty embarrassed, and stupid. I actually considered writing a letter of apology to Mr. Smith, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he didn’t know I didn’t know. Why, he probably figured it was just my payback for his calling me “Sidekick”.

And, so it goes.

Winds of Time

There was a stiff wind blowing across the Walmart parking lot, yesterday. As I eased down a lane, I noticed an elderly lady placing bags into her car, while her still-loaded cart began to drift away. She started to go after it, shuffling in the way that elderly people do. She got to within an inch or two of it before it began to pick up speed. As she shuffled for all she was worth, vainly stretching her hands out toward the cart, it slowly got three inches away, then four, then five, until it became apparent that she was not going to catch up with it.

And so, she slowed down and just watched it roll all the way across the lot and come to rest against a curb that surrounded some landscaping. Without breaking stride, she trudged right on after it, and scolded it with a wagging finger when she got there. Then, she wheeled it around and determinedly marched it right back to her car, with its still open door, and finished placing her purchases onto the rear seat.

By this time, I was parked myself, and I was going to offer to take the cart from her there, but something told me she wasn’t finished yet. She grabbed her cart solidly, with both hands, and with a final look of proud independence, she wheeled it across the lane and slammed it into the corral. Take that, you, you, you…cart, you. Head held high, she drove away.

As I find myself approaching ever closer to that “elderly” designation, I hope I, too, will remember to be an overcomer, instead of a victim. Bravo, elderly lady with the wrap-around sunglasses. Bravo. At first, I laughed. Then, I understood.

Phonetic Evaporation and Precipitation

“…(W)hen a Bostonian “pahks his cah in Hahvahd yahd”, the missing /r/’s are not lost. Instead, they evaporate, aerosolizing and floating up into the æther. They travel with the prevailing dialect currents and precipitate down in Texas and other places, where people “warsh” clothes, dishes, and cars, and cook “squarsh”. In this case, the /r/ is not only conserved, but relatively untransformed and easy to identify. By plotting the prevalence of words like “pahk” and “cah” and “warsh” and the less-

common “squarsh”, some enterprising graduate dialectologist could likely map location, direction, and strength of major /r/-carrying dialect currents and readily wring a dissertation from the effort.”

                                                Trey Jones, the Speculative Grammarian, June 2011

http://specgram.com/

The Curiosity Cans

“Open this for me, would you?”

How many of us, back in the days, had our first taste of beer under this scenario?  Long before pop-top aluminum cans, there were steel cans for soda and beer, and many a picnic could be spoiled, and marriages ruined, if somebody forgot the can opener.

When Dad, or an uncle or an aunt would pull a cold one from the cooler, they wouldn’t get up from their fold-up lawn chair.  Noooo-oo!  They’d look around for the nearest kid, and say, “Here, open this for me.” (Uncle Hank would secretly shake it first.)

Then the child would trot off, looking for the can opener, in order to punch two sharp triangular-shaped holes in the top of the can, one to drink from and a smaller one to let air in.  Returning the beverage to the adult would often result in a “open this for me” request from another perpetually seated adult.  Then another.  Adults seemed to always find it amusing to send a kid back and forth to the can opener, one beer at a time, until the kid got smart and brought the can opener back with him, whereupon nobody else needed a beer opened, of course.  The wise kid would then return the opener and take off in a different direction.

Sometimes, the can opener station would be sufficiently out of view that the curious child could rationalize: nobody’s gonna miss one sip.  The typical first response to such a surreptitious rite of passage was, “Yuck!  How can anybody drink this stuff?”  Invariably, however, you’d find a few who would deliberately begin to place themselves in position to volunteer for the one-beer-at-a-time routine.

Personally, I was more of a take off in the other direction kind of  kid.  My curiosity over cans had more to do with that triangular hole itself.  Did you ever stick your tongue down inside of one of them?  It’s a good thing tongues grow back.  Once punched, the holes were like Chinese fingers (that torturous toy wicked parents foisted on their unsuspecting young to traumatize them and turn them into conservatives).  Liquid comes out well enough, but tongues do not.

Nor do thumbs.

“Owwee!  Owwee!  Owwee!” my younger brother yelped across the yard, one fine summer day.

“Hold still!”

“Owwee!  Owwee!  Owwee!”

“Hold still, I said!”

“Owwee!”

To this day, I’m not sure just how my mother extricated that bloody finger, but my brother does still have a thumb.  This is the same brother who later got a finger nipped by a pig (they’re curious too) when he stuck his fingers through the fence at Grandpa’s farm.

Must be a Kabala thing: always sticking fingers where they don’t belong.  My own earliest memory , as baby Chuckie, is sticking a bobby pin into a wall receptacle.  KA-POW!  Didn’t learn, though.  A few years later, I stuck a finger into a light socket.  Maybe it was prophetic foreshadowing.  I later became an electrician.

My brother became a Buddhist.

But, back to those curious old cans.  If you can remember them, then you may not be as young as you think you are.  Recently, I was sharing about my recollections of  the days before pull-top cans came along.  After I described the process to a friend, I said, “Remember that?”

He looked at me blankly, and said, “What’s a can opener?”

And he was serious.

This man is only twelve years younger than I am!  Aarrgghh!

The only memories he has about old cans, is that the pull tops used to come off.  That didn’t happen until the mid sixties, along with the development of the all aluminum can (a real boon to the All-American macho can crushers among us).  What I remember is that those pull off tabs were particularly hazardous to bare-footed youngsters during the days when tossing the tab on the ground was not considered littering.  Nevertheless, hundreds, if not thousands of those razor sharp booby traps began slicing and dicing the soles of our youth (pun intended), until something had to be done.

That something was the invention of the modern stay-tab beverage can, which came along in the seventies, and has remained substantially unchanged for over thirty years now.  The biggest advance since then was in the nineties, when Mountain Dew introduced the wide-mouth opening that made rapid chugging and gulping possible from a can.  Thank you, Mountain Dew.

One final word of caution regarding the holes in cans, and this still remains in effect today.  Never, never, never leave a sugar-laden beverage can uncovered and unattended for any length of time outdoors in the summer.  Bee stings in the mouth are not considered a summertime delight.  That is, unless you are “no fear” Trevor, who at age two, when the girls were in the backseat of the car screaming, “A bee!  A bee!” reached out and snatched one out of the air and began beating it with his free hand.

“Gotchu!  Hamma!  Hamma!  Hamma!”

Then, in the proverbial wink of an eye, he pitched it out the open window.  Would love to know what the bee thought.

“Whuh?”

Learning to laugh

I can still recall the two occasions I had to “perform” in the WOC studios. The first time, I was a fifth grader from Harrison Elementary School in Davenport, Iowa, and certain “select” students from Mrs. Iverson’s math class were in the studio, along with our teacher, to be guests on a local programming show. It was a Sunday morning, and we were to demonstrate the use of manipulatives as a learning tool in the study of “new math”. She rehearsed us well, and I practiced for days.

Suddenly, we were on-the-air, the lights were blazing hot, all the children were petrified, and Mrs Iverson was chatting comfortably with the hostess. Several students had their turns in front of the camera, and then she turned to me.

“Now, Charles, why don’t you show us how we use the blocks to see how multiplication works.”

“Okay, Mrs. Iverson,” I chirped. I then sweated my way to the chalkboard, where she had written: 6×6=. Next to the board was a small table full of little wooden tiles, and a slanted board on which to arrange them.

“When our teacher gives us a problem like this one,” I began.

(the camera started rolling in closer)

“we…we make a row this way for the first number…”

(and closer)

“and…uh…this way for the second number…

(and CLOSER)

“and that’s how we can tell that six times six equals thirty-two.” (Whew.)

“Thirty-six,” she whispered.

“Thirty-six!” I shrieked.

Augh!

EPIC FAIL!

Doom! Despair, and Agony on me!

I would have slunk back into the shadows, but there were none. I’m thankful, now, that those were the days of black and white television, lest the beacon of my embarrassment cast an eerie red glow across the set. I didn’t hear any snickering, back amongst my peers, but I could tell some of them were shaking their heads. One girl in particular, who had coveted my major speaking role, had a look of smug satisfaction on her face.

I was quite certain that I would never be able to show my face around town again, not realizing yet that the sum total of the viewing audience for such an early Sunday morning program was probably ten. Nevertheless, I was scarred.

The second time I was in the WOC studios went much better. I was twenty years older, and it was our church’s turn to “fill the pulpit”, or at least the 7:30 a.m. time slot on (what else?) Sunday morning. I was usually a tenor in the choir, but our choir director was scheduled to be out of town that day. I was chosen to fill in. It was no big deal, really, because our choir never looks at the director anyway, so my job was to simply wave my arms, point once in a while, and act like I knew what I was doing.

I performed flawlessly. From the back. From the front. Camera in. Camera out. Before the Preacher uttered a word, all seventeen people watching at home got to hear our renowned choir, singing to the beat of a human metronome. Piece of cake.

Why the difference? Was it the knowledge that nobody watches this public service stuff? It’s not for nothing that these are the bargain basement hours for advertising revenues. No, it was because I had learned how to play along, to laugh at myself.

About five years after my epic fail, I was in an algebra class, trying to multi-task, before multi-tasking was in vogue. (I’ve found out since, that I tend to think better in boxes, so I now leave the multi-tasking to my talented wife, with her everything-is-related-to-everything-else brain.

“What?!” I say.

“Oh, I’ve segued,” she says.

“Could you, like, give me some sort of a signal or something when you’re going to do that?”

“If you thought more like a woman, you wouldn’t need any clues.”

“Yeah, I guess I’m kind of addicted to antecedents. Just put me back in my box, and I’ll be happy.”)

That probably doesn’t count as multi-tasking, but back to my algebra class. In the middle of my daydreaming, Mr. Miller called my name…twice.

“Uh…thirty-six,” I stammered (there’s that number again).

He immediately broke into unrestrained laughter, as if I’d just delivered a totally unexpected punchline.

“Why sure,” he said through his chuckling, “If you’re not paying attention, just take a wild stab in the dark. Who knows? You might make a lucky guess.”

I had wanted to protest that I was paying attention, but by now I’d noticed that the rest of the class was laughing too—as if I had said something really clever, instead of something really stupid. In that moment, I just shrugged my shoulders, and smiled. The guy sitting behind me slapped me on the back. I had become a class hero for the day. I had learned how to recognize an opportunity and play along, to let people laugh with me instead of at me.

I found that if you laugh at yourself first, that it diffuses the embarrassment that comes from doing something bone-headed. Victor Borge, the brilliant concert pianist, would often smack himself on the forehead right in the middle of playing a beautiful piece of music, as if he had made a mistake. He had not. Instead, his rare self-deprecating humor was seen as pure joy, conveying the message that the pursuit of perfection is not nearly as important as enjoying life. Learning to laugh at ourselves is a good place to start.

I’ve been thinking about getting a new scale.

I’ve been thinking about getting a new scale. Not that there’s anything wrong with the old one. Miss Piggy has been twirling her curls, and gazing into her crystal ball for years at our house. I just step on the scale, she closes her eyes, then, magically, my weight appears. Pretty simple. Pretty basic. I’m not even sure where we got that scale. Somebody else may have thrown it out. Can you imagine such a thing?

But, this year I thought I’d do something different. In 2008, I was able to lose 42 pounds by adopting two rules:

  1. Eat only when you’re hungry.
  2. Stop when you’re full.

Nothing fancy. Nothing magical. No grapefruits, no protein shakes, no “bread” made out of soy flour (yuck!), no pills. It worked. I lost weight, felt better, blah, blah, blah (infomercial time).

Then, life happened, and I went back to working swing shift, which requires that you try to fool your circadian rhythm into believing it’s nighttime when it’s not, and vice versa.

“I can go to sleep now.”

“No, you can’t.”

“Yes, I can.”

“No, you can’t.”

“It’s really dark outside.”

“No, it really isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is!”

“No, it isn’t!”

“The curtains are dark. I can’t see a thing.”

“The curtains are glowing, and you can see sunbeams!!”

And so, Sir Cadian would rule the day, but I’d get back at night.

“Must…stay…awake.”

“You are getting sleepy.”

“Ack! Fiend!”

“Sleepy.”

“Caffeine!”

“Sleepy.”

“Caffeine.”

“Sleeeeeeepy.”

“Caffeine! Caffeine! Caffeine! Caffeine!”

“Just close your eyes.”

“I gotta go.”

“Just take a rest.”

“No, I mean, I gotta GO!”

Swing shift and I did not get along very well. Twelve cups of coffee and a two-liter every time I worked nights. And, what is there about coffee that makes your mind say, “You need a donut”? They’d hang there, salaciously, in the vending machines, calling out, “Charley, I’m here for you. You want me. You know you do.” And, I’d give in. You lose all inhibitions on swing shift.

In grocery stores, I’d find myself wandering aimlessly through the aisles of temptation, for it is there that Ben and Jerry release their sirens of seduction (a.k.a. a “New!” flavor) to lure you towards the promise of flowery meadows; only to leave you crashing upon the rocks, and heavier on the scale. And, that’s another thing. What lying huckster decided there are four servings in a pint of premium ice cream? Yeah, right. First, you buy it, then you find a spoon (or even a fork) in the car, then you sample a little, then you’ve eaten half, then more than half, then, well there’s not enough to save anymore, so… and all before you reach home! So, then you feel guilty (because you are), and you hide the container and all evidence that you bought it, and walk into the house, and say, “Hi, honey. Uh…whatcha makin’? Heh, heh. Boy, I’m starving.”

The best five words of healthy living advice I’ve ever heard from my wife are: STAY OUT OF THE STORE! I can still remember, very vividly, that some of the worst belly-aches I’ve ever known have come while waddling out of an all-you-can-eat buffet, after having determined to get my money’s worth by personally making up for the fact that all my kids did was eat macaroni and cheese, and stuff their pockets with jelly beans.

Which brings me back to the scale. Over the past couple of years, I’ve put thirty pounds back on, and added blood pressure, cholesterol, and anti-depressant pills to my daily regimen. And, I was thinking that a new, more modern, more…capable…scale might help me to return to healthy living and stay on track.

So, I did a little googling, and started researching. Okay, here’s a nice looking scale. Hmm, here’s a body fat scale. That’s cool. Google. Here’s a body fat scale that will give me my BMI too. Google, google. Wow, a scale that will measure body fat percentage, BMI (with a twelve segment bar display to tell me if I’m underweight, normal, overweight, or obese), skeletal muscle (as opposed to…what?), and visceral fat (I don’t even know what that is, but here’s a tool that’ll measure it for me). Google. Double Wow! The King, a scale with all of the above, plus body water, resting metabolism, and body age (18-80)! It comes in stainless steel, and it’s bundled with an exact ECG heart rate monitor that will record my average and max rates, beep at me when I’m over or under my training zone rate, monitor my calorie consumption in K cal and my fat consumption in g/oz, is water-resistant, and it’s a watch! All for only $213, batteries included (that’s a deal maker).

Of course, I’ll have to upgrade my $10 hand-pump and stethoscope blood pressure monitor with a digital one that’ll do it for me, tell me if I’m sitting right, measure morning hypertension, and wi-fi upload everything to the internet, where I can I can chart my progress in mega-dissected detail. There’s an app for that!

I’ve tired of the Wii Fit balance board, and besides, I don’t like it when I put on a few pounds, and the first thing it does is grunt at me. Google again. EA Sports Active 2.0, with wireless control link, leg and arm straps, motion sensors, a heart rate monitor, and online help for tracking and sharing. It has a virtual trainer, and I can do biceps curls, running, and boxing. All without leaving my living room. It’s even available for the iPhone. And then, there are accessories. Whew.

This was getting confusing (and expensive), so I googled some more and found “10 Tips for Using Body Fat Scales”. There, I found out that “body fat scales don’t actually measure your body fat percentage.” What!? Turns out all they can really do is track changes over time. They take an electrical resistance reading, and then perform a series of complicated algorithms and formulas to “predict” what they display. Heck, Miss Piggy can do that!

The final straw was when I read tip #8: “Buy the most expensive body fat scale you can afford.” No conflict of interest here, right? So, I started adding up the cost. As somewhat of a techie, I’ve been burned before. I’ve decided that the “tech” in tech toys stands for time-wasting, ego-boosters, costing hundreds. I’ll probably forget that acronym tomorrow, but it felt pretty clever when I came up with it : ) So, what happens if I buy all these things, and then give up in a month? The only thing lighter will be my wallet. And I’ll have more stuff sitting around the house, like the treadmill/coat rack in the mudroom.

2011 has brought with it a new slice of life. After three more nights, I will be leaving the land of the zombies to take on a dayshift assignment for a year. Sir Cadian is pleased. So are my wife and kids. I think. Since I am an electrician, maybe I’ll just add electrodes to Miss Piggy (I’m thinking aluminum foil, here). I’ll hook up my digital multimeter (electricians own such things), and track my own “changes over time” on a piece of paper. True, I won’t be able to do any live streaming metabolic index monitoring for all my fans who love to sit in front of a computer screen, watching the moment by moment changes in my heart rate, hydration level, and visceral fat, but I’ll save some time and money within the confines of familiar surroundings. Miss Piggy has been a reliable prognosticator over the years. She’s modest too, in her own way. She always closes her eyes when I step on the scale.

Wait a minute. This is Miss Piggy, here. Maybe that’s just her way of grunting. Hmmm.

I’ve been thinking about getting a new scale.

Fitness Challenge, and other ramblings

I told Sandy I wanted to start a team to participate in the LiveHealthyIowa 100 Day Wellness Challenge.  I said we’d call ourselves the Iron Butts.  She just laughed at me and said, “more like the Lead Butts.”

 

So, okay, while we’re on the subject, Sandy was talking to granddaughter Anna, when Anna pointed at their little beagle, Ladybug, and stated, “She doesn’t have a butt.”

“Ladybug has a bottom,” said Christianly-correct Sandy.

“No, she doesn’t have a butt.”

“Well, what is this, then,” asked Sandy, pointing.

“That.” said Anna, “is a tail.  It’s not a butt.”

Anna’s mother, who’d apparently had this conversation before, , then joined in with, “What are underwear for, Anna?”

“They’re for butts.”

 

I’d go on, but…

“But Gampa,” she said, “it’s not even dark outside.”

I arrived home from work Sunday morning to an unexpected blessing: the grand-children had spent the night, and were already up, and eating breakfast, and cheerful, and full of energy. Too bad I felt like an exhausted, rickety old bag o’ bones, after working thirteen hours (time change), and imitating a pretzel all night (a job requirement for maintenance workers). So, I hugged them, and greeted them, but then told Anna that she would have to enjoy her Grandma only today, because Grandpa was going to bed. She looked up at me expectantly, like someone waiting for the punch line to be delivered. When it didn’t come, she glanced at the window, and then back at me.

“But, Gampa,” she said, “it’s not even dark outside.”

Life should be so simple. Did we really gain anything from the Industrial Revolution?

Tadpole People

Who teaches kids about tadpole people, anyway? How do they all know to draw a large kinda sorta circle, add squiggles for hair, scribbly splotches for eyes, and any ol’ line for a mouth? Poke sticks out the side for arms (hands are optional), add two more out the bottom (feet also optional), and then color everything purple. Beaming with delight, they present their gifts.
“Oh my,” we say, “this is good! This is very, very good!
Masterpieces of creativity depicting the essence of humanity through the eyes of a child; destined to be displayed in a place of highest honor—the refrigerator. We see them on office bulletin boards and mechanics’ toolboxes, as well as imprinted on bumper stickers, and coffee mugs, and key chains. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an oversized coffee table book filled with nothing but tadpole people? How about a Tadpole Soup For The Soul, or a Don’t Sweat the Tadpole Stuff, or an Everything I Learned About Life I Learned From Tadpoles? Sometimes, when everyday stress or worry threaten to get the upper hand, a simple visit to the Kitchen Refrigerator Gallery of Fine Art can refresh our outlook, remind us of why we work safely, and help us to refocus on where our priorities ought to be.
Children have a precious perspective of the world. They see things as they ought to be, instead of as they are. When they play, they sometimes blur the line between fantasy and reality, in much the same way as when they pay no attention to where the lines are when coloring a picture. In either case, I am not altogether convinced that this is a bad thing. Theirs is a felicitous suspension of disbelief that has not yet learned to dis-believe. Daddy really is the smartest man in the world. He really can fix anything.
Playacting is a discovery process wherein children experiment with life and formulate personalities. In play, our children become spacemen, firemen, truck drivers, ballerinas, singers, and even (Hillary forbid!) stay-at-home moms baking cookies. It is an absolute joy to watch children interact and repeat entire passages word-for-word from Winnie the Pooh or Veggie Tales without missing a single inflection or nuance. Whether they are imitating horses, unicorns, dinosaurs or bugs, cartoon friends, superheroes, or Bible heroes, character learned, and characters learned, can set the course for a life deemed successful, or a life of empty pursuit.
Thus it is that I have high hopes for my youngest son. In between lions, and tigers, and tickle monsters, a persistent theme has been developing in his life. He thinks he’s a hug.
Now, I’ll admit that at first I thought this was “novel,” and “cute.” But, the longer it goes on, the more it presents a dilemma to the rest of the family. Consider this: is it fair that one family member’s lifestyle choice directly impacts and limits the freedom of the other members? For instance, how can the other seven members be angry, or blue, or frustrated when we know there might be a hug lurking around any given corner? I can no longer bring troubles home from work because the first thing that greets me at the door is a hug. If I complain about the car, I get a hug. If the weather is lousy, I get a hug. Do you have any idea how hard it is to fret when you’ve got a hug around your neck? Worries, stress, anger, and anxiety all melt away in the arms of a hug.
Typically, “the Hug” brings some of his friends along, too, like Loving Trusting Smile, and Twinkling Eyes, and most unnerving of all, “I Love You, Daddy!” I was born a pessimist by nature, and God had to give me a hug. If my son was a passive child, I suppose it wouldn’t seem so bad, but no! He is energy personified. Life is what he does.
What makes the situation particularly troublesome is that hugs don’t wait for you to come to them, as is the case with the Kitchen Refrigerator Gallery of Fine Art. Hugs are on the prowl, actively seeking hearts in need of a connection. Sit down to read—hug. Turn around—hug. Walk into a room—hug. Walk upstairs (Lookout!)—flying hug!
One could refuse a hug, of course,…
…but why? A hug is a mirror to the soul, and the duty of a father is to encourage his children. Alas, I shall simply have to endure this daily reflection which forces me to comb my attitudes, and brush my priorities.
Mornings have always been particularly hard on me. I am not an easy riser. Nevertheless, my son has taught me to cherish them. Sometimes, I can hear him opening and closing his dresser drawers, and I know the spirit of life has awakened and begun to flow anew. Soon, I’ll hear him bounding up the stairs, and skipping down the hall, where he’ll pause just outside my bedroom. The knob will gently turn, the door will slowly open, and a head will appear—one large kinda sorta circle, squiggles for hair, scribbly splotches for eyes, and a big ol’ smile for a mouth. The eyes will twinkle, and he’ll announce,with a grin, “Your hug is here!”
Life is good.
Life is very, very good.

A simple little trip to the barn

Grandma takes young Will and Anna out to the barn to help feed the kitties. My what a happy day.

Anna steps into a hole and loses her shoe. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Grandma tries to retrieve the shoe. Turns out to be an animal hole. Can’t reach it. Not so ha, ha, ha.

Something starts nibbling at her fingers. Shriek! (jk)

Grandpa has to go get a shovel and start digging…and digging.

Eureka! Shoe recovered off third direction tunnel. (notice shoe’s brand is Faded Glory)

Cats were really interested in the new hole (better access to the prey, perhaps), but when Grandpa began filling it back in, they whined, and groaned, and ran away. Can’t please everyone, I guess.