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Bayou Blue, Louisiana, United States
numerous aviation dialects spoken,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eight of Ten and his week with the Grandfolks

When I was five and my folks asked me if I would like to spend my annual week with my Namma and Grand, there wasn't even a moment of hesitation. That was the coolest place in the world. Big oak and pecan trees shaded a great big yard of St. Augustine grass and azalea bushes that rung the whole place where there were all kinds of adventures...pirates, cowboys and native Americans, and a large, very large and friendly mutt named Henry who would follow me all day and protect me from all those imaginary wild animals who lived amongst my grandmother's pampered shrubs, flowers and vegetable pods.
But the most wonderful memories are of the times spent in my grandfather's work shop. You had to hurry to finish your breakfast and run through the screen door on the back porch...don't slam that...down the red brick walk, through the gate that leaned a little too much to the south east, across the barn yard to the "workshop" attached to this amazing edifice of cypress and square nails. There were more gadgets, tools, boxes of bolts, screws and nails. I remember a black leather mule collar hanging on the wall, it's master years dead before I was born and standing proudly in the corner, next to the door you came in...just to the left... a giant Jax Beer bottle...four foot tall. It was much taller than I was. He never told me where it came from. We didn't talk about beer cause my Namma said Grand couldn't have any sense his heart attack. I never did tell Mr. Salasi at the cafe what she said when he'd give Grand a cold Regal and I'd have a big orange pop. Such creations and repairs, no one could hold a candle to my Grand. He could fix anything. Many times we had to fix Mrs. Lambert's kick start washing machine...I held the big flash light.
So I wanted to help create a memory for Eight of Ten. He lives in Baton Rouge in one of those "yuppie" subdivisions...really nice. I never can't tell which house belongs to my daughter. I've got to look for the garage with the two Honda I didn't miss it, I just like to back in.
We kept him two years ago. He just turned three and my daughter and son-in-law, (I got two son-in-laws, both named Rick) took his sister, Five of Ten, to see Mickey and Goofy in Florida (Disney), we have no relatives in Florida. No problems, he mostly sat catatonic in front of the TV and really didn't interact with me much. At the time I was gainfully self employed and really couldn't devote much time to preschool entertainment. Nanna always runs interference for me and keeps Grandpa from looking too anti-social. Since then he has developed many things. A temper, a talent for making his sister look guilty, an uncanny knowledge on many subjects and a brutal honesty that would amaze Simon whats-his-name from American Idol. On one visit I saw him defy his father to the point of an earned spanking and between the third and fourth swats, he looked directly in my eyes and grinned. No no, nothing Satanic, just letting me know that he knows what buttons to push. But here, now, he was a real pleasure to be with.
The first day we took care of some unfinished business at the airport where I finished my adventures in aviation. We walked among the many types and classes of flying machines. I told him something that he probably never heard before in his five years of exploration. "You can touch, flip, turn, push or pull anything you want to." He smiled and exercised unexpected restraint. Clearly please with the way things went, he agreed to retreat to his Nanna's care and custody, pool side with Three, Four, Six and Seven of Ten. During the next couple of days he spent time in the yard riding on Nanna's golf cart, sitting in my lap as we rode the mower across the three acres and climbing on Grampa's collections that are tactfully stored from public view behind the "workshop". One thing that really brought joy to my heart...I momentarily lost track of him and found him standing in my open "workshop door", hands in his pockets, just admiring forty-six years of collectibles that have taken residence.
Today we gave him his first boat ride, bought him his own custom fitted life jacket and fishing rod. Not deterred by a fish-less boat ride, he returned to the back yard practicing his casting and finding me after every third or forth attempt to remove the "bird's nest"from his reel.
Tomorrow we'll return him, hopefully better than we received him. More than the fishing gear, pizza, chicken nuggets, nightly baths and carrying this little sleeping super hero wannabe all decked out in "Spider man" jammies to bed, I hope he takes home... a memory.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

First blog, first retirement - need training wheels

I was sitting out on the sun porch this afternoon watching "8 of 10"....I usually favor my grand kids with numbers like the Borg (Star Trek 1990) mainly because "resistance is futile"... and wondered about this first week of my long anticipated retirement. I've spent most of it camping on a lake just south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, sitting in a lawn chair watching squirrels watch me throw pine cones in the lake. Some of it has been running back a forth to the airport, loaning tools and troubleshooting various maladies while outfitted in my oldest cargo shorts and "Costa Rica beer's the best" tee shirt. I guess it's going to be a weening process at best. I figured it was February forty six years ago I received my first real paycheck for labor expended on an actual flying machine. So now I'm all hyped up to do those projects of mine that I've put off, be able to attend all those dance recitals, help SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) with the shopping, wash the house.... you get my drift. I had planned to do some salt water fly fishing for those illusive red fish until the Brits filled the Gulf Coast with enough crude oil to pay for "Obamacare" Rosanna Rosanna-Danna said, "It's always somthin' "