Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Rare Gift

Although my grandchildren don't realize it yet, and probably won't for many years, they are being given a rare gift: a father who plays games with them. No, they aren't old enough for T-ball and baby soccer; they are still at the very imaginative stage where they want to act out adventures a la "Blues Clues". It's inconceivable to them that adults wouldn't want to join in the fun.

Last Saturday Zaya decided that Lupe, his stuffed wolf, had become a "detector" and was going to "discover mysteries". As per usual, that became a theme to intermingle with the adventures of Mario and Luigi, stolen from video game worlds.

Mim came running in to the den on a mission:
"Please, Daddy, won't you play an adventure with us?" she asked with a baby charm.
"Sure," he answered, "What character are you going to be?"
"I'm going to be...Lupe."
"So who will I be?"
"You can be Peach."
"Couldn't I be someone a little less girly?"
"I'll be Mario"
"Yes, and Luigi can come with us. Come'on, Luigi," she yelled to her brother, "Let's have an adventure!"

So they were to the far away living room to use their "special skills", lighting the night with the white flashes from Luigi' fingertips and shooting down spiders with Mim's red fire balls so they could eat the amazing apple star fruit huddled under a small, promotional blanket for the local football team--a blanket that has yet to be used at that kind of entertainment. Daddy Mario assured them that the blanket was a "floppy submarine." His "skill" for the adventure lay in "singing old Beatles' songs badly". His two cohorts weren't sure how this skill would help the adventure, but they loved the submarine and the song--We all live in a floppy submarine-- that served as the roar of its engines as they tunneled through the deep blue sea. "

In a few minutes the blanket submarine slinked into the den, all three characters crawling under it, and emerged at the golden chair, where it docked. Mario slipped out of character long enough to whisper to my daughter and me in the kitchen that he needed some dinosaur sounds. We produced them: I was the tyrannosaurus and Babystepper was the saber-toothed kitty---lots of growling and meowing. We were rewarded for our efforts with showers of white and red fire balls. Then the submarine submerged and slid back into the far away living room.

Few children can say that on a Saturday, after a challenging week of solving problems most people aren't capable of understanding, their father makes some time to enter into their little world--a world they, themselves, will outgrow very quickly and remember only faintly.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zucchini Baby

I feel very fortunate to receive fresh vegetables
from time to time in the summer even though I don't
tend a garden. My friends bring from the overflow...zucchini,
yellow crook-neck squash, acorn squash, potatoes,
real green beans, cucumbers, and, occasionally,
true tomatoes--the dark red kind that aren't mushy or mealy--
but I do have to admit that not every single veggie
suffers the fate of the oven or the frying pan.
You see. I have grandchildren who visit.

Meet Zucchini Baby, who single-handedly managed to entertain two pre-schoolers for an hour and a half. They dressed her, rocked her, gave her a bath, listened to her heart beat, and took her little blood pressure. I dragged this old doll bed of their mother's down from the attic, and there she sleeps still.

Shhhh! Nevermind. Her eyes are open now.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Raining in the Trees

It's strange to walk this morning. The ground is wet and the streets are shining. From the north, comes a mist-laden breeze and everywhere I hear the dripping and rustling sound of steady rain. Out in the street, away from the trees which gather to gossip at the creek, the rain is over. It was a good rain though. You can tell that by the lively, green rustle of the Virginia creeper, which has lately drooped over fences in a languid protest at this July heat. I walk a mile alone. It's Sunday. Everybody is sleeping in. Church doesn't start until ten o'clock, but you can't tell that to the birds. They are singing already. Loudly. Incessantly. Joyfully. That's what rain does for the thirsty.