The couch in the living room was purchased at Disney World’s version of a garage sale. It cost seventy-five bucks. The dining room table was a scratch and dent. Dead people gave us a lot of the rest of our furniture.
Once, I bought a cheap version of a fancy chaise lounge and a grandkid promptly peed on it. It was “nice” for about a month. I cleaned it, but there’s a stain under the fringed brown throw. It’s still pretty, if you keep the pillows arranged just right.
There’s a boarder of dirt handprints of varying heights throughout the house and a gouge in the floor where yet another grandkid busted my antique ceramic pitcher. I have magic markers the color of wood to scribble in the gouge marks.
I don’t really have “nice things.” I have used, re-covered, thrown-up-on things. It’s not so bad, because I have other things I like better. I have grandchildren . . .
Well, I have Zoe Baye (9) whose first word was “Wow,” when she noticed wind blowing in the tops of our trees. I hadn’t noticed the way the wind danced in the treetops for a long time, not until Zoe. I didn’t even realize I’d stop noticing until Zoe reminded me.
Emma Sarah (8) came to us as an instant grandchild, funny, tender, and deeply intellectual. Just don’t ask her to drive the Fisher Price Dune Buggy, because she’ll drive it straight up the trunk of the big pine tree in front of the barn, gas pedal to the metal, until she flips the whole thing upside down on top of herself. She actually did this and looked like the Wicked Witch of the West when the house fell on her, tennis shoes sticking out, toes up. Emma didn’t hurt anything too badly except her future insurance premiums.
Then there’s Conner Phillip (7), who can imitate a man having a heart attack and someone doing a Mexican hat dance. He’s also famous for his commentary, like when he told his Sunday School teacher, “Sista’ [C]Tassidy, you have big boobies.” She later confessed that she was so shocked by his comment, all she could think of to say was, “Why, thank you Conner.” He was four at the time.
Kipling Sherwood (4) can drive that Fisher Price Dune Buggy with one foot on the gas pedal, one foot on the hood, while steering with one hand. It’s like watching the trick rider at the circus doing the Roman Ride, where the rider rides two horses, one foot on one horse and the other foot on the other horse. If Kip could get someone to drive one dune buggy and someone else to drive another, he’d give it a shot. He came fearless, which can be confused with crazy.
Sadie JoLee (4) screeched herself through infancy and then became a queen, skipping the princess phase entirely. When her big sister, Emma, worried that monsters might be real, Sadie informed her, “Thems is real. I sees thems at night, but thems melt in the morning.” Sadie’s sister remains skeptical but cautious.
He has the build, carriage, and voice of a thirty-five year old Olympic wrestler and can bench press a number ten can of hard red winter wheat and lives for farm chores. Zachary Jon (2) doesn’t get mad, he gets even, plotting revenge for hours, sometimes overnight. In a pinch, he bites. He can drive circles around Emma in a Fisher Price Dune Buggy.
Reagan Baye-Love (2) refuses to listen, obey, bring, fetch, or come when called. She’s more disobedient than a cat. She’s also as unsinkable as the famous “Unsinkable Molly Brown” and has an irrepressible sense of joy and fun. In a pinch, she bites—mostly Zach.
Griffin Henry (1) gives every indication of being a grouchy muppet with a permanent frown, except when he’s smiling and laughing at Zoe, or Conner, or Kip, or Emma, or Sadie or any combination thereof.
Hero Everdeen (5 months) watches the world go by with big eyes and a gummy smile. She likes to be held, and talked to, and fed—a lot.
Scout Harper (newborn) is a rose and gold promise, wrapped in a pink blanket. Inside that little body with the spidery arms is a spiritual being come to earth to have a physical experience, and we wait her growing up with delight and expectation.
It’s true that I don’t have nice things. I have a nice life, filled with dazzling people and babies about to become dazzling people. They can throw up on my fancy, cheap stuff any time.
Linda (Ten Little Indians) Zern