Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life Imitates Art

We pull around the corner onto Willow Way and see "Adam" hop on his skateboard (without a helmet). "Shouldn't he be in school?" I think. No sooner do I pull into my driveway, park, and wrangle Grace out of her car seat than does Adam appear, skateboard in one hand, flourescent orange boomerang in the other.

Me: Why aren't you in school today?

Adam: I took today off. I didn't see the need to go, being Friday and all.

Me: But Monday is a holiday anyway. Now you're going to to be home from school for four straight days.

Adam: So?

Me: Does your mom know you're not in school today?

Adam: Yeah, she knows.

Me: And she doesn't care?

Adam: She cares, but yeah, she knows. (long pause) I had a stomach ache this morning so she didn't make me go to school. I don't have one now, but I'm going to have one later this afternoon. I got it from my mom.

Me: So, what grade are you in now?

Adam: 5th.

Me: Do you like school?

Adam: Yeah, I like it.

Me: What's your favorite subject?

Adam: Science.

Grace: Danny Phantom soup.

Before Adam has much time to process what Grace has just said, I pipe up, slightly nervously, "Yeah, that's right, Grace. We do have Danny Phantom soup. Do you watch Danny Phantom, Adam?"

Adam: Yeah. I watch Danny Phantom sometimes. Where's your brother?

Grace: at school. Spanish for dot com. Worm boy.

Again I step in to cover. "We just watched the movie 'How to Eat Fried Worms.' Have you seen that? Or have you read the book? The boys in that movie are about your age."

Why did I suddenly have the urge to act cool in front of this ten-year old boy? What doI care what he thinks about me? I'm old enough to be his mother! It's Grace, I was protecting. Conversation starters that Grace has used in the past, one-word-ers such as "socks" and "sprite" might not work with Adam. I needed to intervene to kind of explain Grace to this boy. But Adam seemed plenty interested in both of my children without me getting in the way.

Adam: Remember when I came over that time and sprayed you guys with the hose?

Grace: Yeth.

Adam: Hey, do you still have that dead snake?

Me: No, that's long gone, but there are snakes in the bamboo thicket. Right over there.

Adam: Is there a table back there too? I've never been back there.

Me: Want to go in it? It's a little overgrown, and we do think there are snakes back there. Copperheads.

Adam: I'll just look.

Me: So, does your boomerang work?

Adam: Not really. It's old. I found it at the park.

Me: Does it work at all? Why don't you go to our front yard and show Grace how it works.

Adam: Ok, but there's a chunk out of it, and it's not going to work like it's 'posed to.

Adam goes into our big front yard and whips the bright boomerang high into the air. It circles around and thuds onto the side of our neighbor's house.

Me: Oh, my gosh! An old lady lives there! She might come out to get you!

Adam: It was an accident!

Me: Try it again, but this time aim it towards the trees.

He tries it again, and Grace and I are sufficiently amused. But we're also hungry for lunch.

Me: We've gotta go in and eat lunch, Adam, but maybe we'll see you around this weekend. If you see us playing in the yard, feel free to come over. Johnny would like to see you, I'm sure.

Adam: Hey, can my cousin come too? She's 15 and she'll be visiting from Siler City.

Me: (Why would a 10-year old and a 15-year old want to hang out with 3 and 5 year olds?) Sure, that would be fine.

Right about now, David drives up, gets out and asks Adam about his boomerang and skateboard. We then say goodbye and we think Adam is on his way. Just as I finished making a tuna fish sandwich, there's a knock at the door. It's Adam.

Me: Hey, what's up?

Adam: Does anyone know how to get a boomerang out of a tree?

We look and his boomerang is WAY up in one of our trees.

David: See those bamboo rods in the front yard? Use those as sticks to try to shake it out of the tree.

Adam: I'm not very good at that.

Me: David, can you go help him?

Grace and I walk out to the front porch and watch while David and Adam poke the bamboo sticks up to the tree to try to shake the boomerang lose. No luck, still stuck. After several minutes of this, David and Adam walk back to the backyard where the bamboo thicket is. David saws down a 20-foot (green) bamboo stalk, and he and Adam haul it to the front yard. The bamboo is too big for Adam to hold, so David hoists it up and starts poking again, leafy side up. I yell from the porch, "Why don't you turn it over and poke from the other side??!!" David tries this and finally, the boomerang springs loose.

We all cheer and clap, and I can tell Adam's day has been made. David walks back in, famished. Tuna fish sandwich?

Those were a couple of very Rushmorian moments.

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