|Young Rocky country cruising in one of his many very cool vehicles|
One fall, in honor of football season, a gas station handed out plastic football helmets to the kids of parents who filled up their tanks with gas. Rocky got a helmet, of course, and immediately set out to test its strength. He donned his helmet, then ran, as hard and fast as he could, head down, into the side of the house. My mother heard the crash and ran outside to find Rocky, spread eagle, knocked out cold, in the autumn leaves. That helmet wasn’t so great, he said, when he regained consciousness. And I was thankful that the crash had occurred on Mom’s watch, and not mine.
|Michael, Rocky and me in Nova Scotia one bright summer day|
Janet’s own little brother once jumped into the washing machine, while it was going, and broke his leg. While he recovered, Janet’s mother would have us come to their house after school to play with him, as much as that was possible—it was like trying to get a kitten to stay put—as he languished for weeks on the couch in a massive cast. Rocky’s casts, and he had plenty through the years, never rendered him immobile. Even a broken leg and cast did not keep him from riding his motor bike around the yard or from hiking into the woods, on his trusty crutches.
Today’s parents keep a much better eye on their kids. Kids don’t play outdoors, unsupervised, for hours on end, and they learn to read before they learn to swim. They are far worldlier than we were, and suffer way fewer broken bones. But they are still funny.
One early summer evening, my baby grandson watched as his father tilled the garden patch.
|John and Will catch a fish|
Yes, he did, Will said.
“And do you remember all the other good food we raised here in our garden?”
Again, Will remembered.
|John and Will|
“Cake,” Will answered.
The same kid, now 8, went to chess camp this summer. He came home, sat down with his father to a game, and beat him in three moves. Later that night, at the dinner table, Will’s little brother John, 5, announced that when he grows up he plans to be a fireman. His parents nodded their approval and then asked Will what he wanted to be when he grows up.
“A professional football player,” Will said. “What would you want your son to be? A big star who brings home the bacon, or a guy who gets cats out of trees?”
|John & Will with their amused parents|
My friend Stephanie, who lives up the Keys, told me this about her little boy.
“The mosquito truck is coming by,” Stephanie said.
“Oh Mom,” he said, with a heavy sigh, “don’t we have enough mosquitos yet?”
A little Key West kid, around 5, whose parents shall remain unnamed, had to have stitches. The doctor patiently explained each step of the procedure, and the kid did well. A week later, he was returned to the doctor’s office for the removal of the stitches. Just like before, the doctor patiently explained to the little guy what would happen next.
“This is what I'm going to use this to remove those stitches,” the doctor said, holding up a shiny, silver hemostat.
“A roach clip?” the kid gasped.
A new funny kid story: Grandson John, 5, is a genius at remembering maps, states and capitals. You have to know that to understand why Michael and I were howling with laughter when this arrived from Michael's daughter Meredith.
John: I don't know.
Meredith: You are the only one in here. What is that on the couch?