Thursday, November 07, 2013
So I insisted that there would be a late afternoon expedition. We hadn't visited our favorite promontory for hurling rocks into the creek for sometime. (Although we had hurled rocks into other bodies of water fairly recently.)
Joined by the indominatable 3C, we did exactly that, I spent a lot of time playing on my phone - which in retrospect is a little ridiculous when you are surrounded by this:
3C hadn't joined us on one of our "throwing rocks into water" adventures, but was game. She got even more excited when they turned to launching logs into the creek because this required teamwork and coordination. (It's more fun to do than watch, as you can see.)
But, autumn days (like autumn itself) is all too brief. I didn't want us in the woods after dark (lest we truly learn what the fox says.) So we turned home. The trail goes under a major road near our home and close to the creek was a deer lying on the ground.
"Look a deer, I wonder what it's doing there?" 3C observed.
"It looks like it's sleeping," GoofBoy added.
GoofGirl is no fool. "It's dead. Why did it die? Why is it there?"
Thoughtlessly, I observed, "Maybe it was hit up on the road and was thrown into the air and landed here."
"That would have been an amazing YouTube video," GoofBoy exclaimed, then added, "Rough on the deer though."
"I'm sure the deer conducted a full investigation. CSI: Bambi, with deer wearing lab coats and with magnifying classes. Did they drew a chalk outline around the corpse?" I riffed.
"Dad, I don't want to go on this trail anymore," GoofGirl stated flatly.
"Hey nina, maybe the deer died here of old age, after a long life."
"Why would the deer die here?" GoofGirl demanded.
"This was her favorite spot."
"Right, in all of these woods, why would this spot by a grubby bridge be a deer's favorite?" 3C chimed in.
"Well," I said, thinking quickly, "When she was a fawn and it rained she would come under here with her mommy and stay dry. She always felt safe her. Now, after living a long life and being a mommy to a lot of fawns and maybe even grand-fawns, she wanted to come back here one more time. Then, she looked around at the woods and creek, thought about her life and had one last breath."
We walked on the trail. 3C and GoofBoy ahead chatting (possibly a first, ever) and GoofGirl held my hand.
"Daddy," she said, "I know the deer got hit by a car and died and I am kind of freaked out about it. But thanks for trying."
Thursday, October 10, 2013
"You know buddy, I have some contacts. I could call in some favors so you could have a star-studded bar mitzvah," I suggest as I drive him home from track practice.
"What are you thinking about Dad?" GoofBoy asks nervously (and not without reason.)
"What if you had your bar mitzvah party at the Brookings Institute!"
"Does it have anything to do with Brooks Robinson?" he asked warily.
"No, but you could meet Strobe Talbott!"
"He was the Deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton administion," I press on, "And then maybe you could have a special roundtable about Energy Market Regulations and Climate Change Policy! Wouldn't that be awesome?"
"You aren't really into domestic affairs, would you rather have a foreign policy bar mitzvah? We could do it at the Atlantic Council. I hear Brent Scowcroft makes balloon animals. Well, not animals, but balloon figures of old foreign policy hands like, well - Strobe Talbot!"
Believe it or not, there is a method to my madness. If I wear him down, maybe we can do the bar mitzvah party at Dogfish Head! I don't know if his friends will get much out of it - but I know I will. Too bad that while Judaism states that at 13 boys are counted as men, the right to drive doesn't come along with that. It would be so handy if he could be my designated driver.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
(The pics give some idea of the varied topography.)
Sunday, July 21, 2013
Sunday, June 30, 2013
Quiero un caballo.
What kind of horse, Daddy?
Why do you want a yellow horse?
Para ir a mi casa.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
My father-in-law was one of my heroes - a strong brave man. (He wasn't a substitute father, I've got a dad and I'm good with him. This isn't about my dad, it's about my father-in-law.) He was born in a backwoods town in Guatemala in the 1920s. He didn't know his father and his mother died young. He and a half-sister were farmed out to relatives who made them work. And that's what he did, he worked. He told me a story about playing matador with the "little bulls" on a farm where he was a hand (he smiled, but it sounded terrifying). I also heard a story about his working at a brewery - that sounded less terrifying.
He and his sister, Nana, ended up at the German Consulate and an American family looking for domestics visited Guatemala and hired them. They did that for a while, then my father-in-law started working in construction - he got along well with some difficult bosses because he could do the job right. Nana worked as a seamstress at a factory, there she met a nice lady and suggested that she meet her brother.
Papa went to work at a GM factory, a hard job, but even harder since he worked the evening shift and had spent all day doing yard-work for extra money. They invested that money well - Catholic school for their four children. It paid off, they got a two medical doctors, a PhD in statistics, and a dental hygienist out of it. It isn't just that the children are all accomplished, but that they help people, they relieve pain and cure illness.
I know there is a lot more to this story and it is to my great regret that I didn't learn Spanish so I couldn't really talk to them. Although they were always very sweet to me.
He could build or fix anything. He had a number of inventions around the house, and I can only imagine what he could have accomplished with a fraction of the blessings he provided his children (or that yours truly takes for granted.)
He wasn't just a Horatio Alger, doing right all the time. He had a big infectious smile and loved to joke. His formal education was limited, but he loved to make clever puns (that I couldn't appreciate because they were always in Spanish.)
He traveled with a tin of pequin chilis because he needed the fire (his daughter inherited his high tolerance for radioactive food.) He always offered one to me, grinning. Wisely, I declined.
Growing up, MamaGoof thought her father was Fred Flintstone. He worked in construction, had a big square face, and loved his ribs - it made perfect sense.
And he loved being a Grandfather. He and the little Goofs would putter around the yard, poking at plants and exploring his endless collection of tools. We would go to the park and he would happily dig in the sand with his grandchildren. On the ride to the park, he and GoofBoy would play-fight in the backseat and laugh.