Sunday, January 31, 2010

"You don't care."

Paul and I try not to talk about upcoming trips and/or vacations in front of Clark. But we failed this week to keep that resolve. Clark does not understand next week, next month, next year and will continue to talk about “it”, whatever “it” is. Paul and I have meetings in Rexburg in a couple of months but Clark thinks it is soon, like this week, despite what we tell him. He really wants to go with us and has set out to prove to us how much he would like to go. Last night we both received a foot message and a love note with a place to mark “yes”. Today our bedroom was vacuumed, thoroughly, and dusted. He has told me he will be happy and smiles to show me. Paul and I have both received a dollar bill which is proof that he will pay his way if we will only let him go. “No, Clark, you cannot go.” we tell him. “You don’t care.” is what he pulls out when things are not looking very hopeful for him. I must admit, my heart is touched. He is trying his best to figure out a way for us to say yes. When I was young and wanted an ice cream cone I would show my sweetest side so that my parents would say yes. When I was a senior in high school I tried my best to convince BYU that I deserved a leadership scholarship by listing everything (small, large, boring, exciting, trivial) I had been involved in during my high school years. Sometimes our attempts to get something are rewarded. Clark will continue to try to convince us that he should go and we will get weary of his constant pleadings but, who knows, maybe his attempts will pay off sometime this year when we go again for more meetings.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Picture Is Worth Many Words

Half Price Books is one of my favorite stores. I love any excuse to go there. I NEED four books for literary club so I went there this week and took Clark with me even knowing what our visit would look like. He wants to buy books, stationary (he likes to write letters to people)
and videos. So I spend my time saying no to most requests (even though he buys with his own money) instead of peacefully wandering and perusing and handling and sampling the words of books I might buy. But I knew what it would be like before I told him he could go with me. And I chose Clark. I looked for my books while Clark followed along making comments. I was unsuccessful in finding the four books but serendipity stepped in and I found a couple of gifts and another book I started reading a few days later. Just as I was getting ready to pay for my finds I found a book filled with pictures that I thought Clark might like. He did and has thanked me many times for the book even though he paid for it. He can read only a few words so books with pictures are important. He has poured over his book of animals many hours this week and we have looked at the pictures together and talked about each animal. The other night I was in bed reading a book on Mother Teresa when Clark came in as he usually does. Paul was still in the study. Clark went to Paul’s nightstand and picked up the book on Thomas Jefferson that he is currently reading. He stood there a while turning pages and finally said to me “Tell Dad there are no pictures in his book.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010

On the Spur of the Moment

I am random, much to my consternation at times. Paul, the concrete sequential, crossed over to my side the other day by suggesting, on the spur of the moment, that we go to a movie. So we did, the four of us, that very afternoon. We saw The Blind Side. We sat in a row—Paul, me, Clark, three empty seats and Phil. Paul had his popcorn, Clark and I shared a bucket and Phil enjoyed his bucket all by himself except for a few snatched handfuls by someone sitting next to me. Phil was the movie commentator. “That was nice.” “Don’t do that.” “That was funny.” “Uh oh, a little swearing.” and so on throughout most of the movie. Twice he was too loud and had to be shushed. His comments were funny and right on, so I enjoyed waiting to hear what he would say next. We left the theater feeling happy and optimistic. A comment made by one of the main characters that struck me is when a friend of Leigh Anne’s (played by Sandra Bullock) tells her how wonderful it is that she’s changing this boy’s life. Leigh Anne smiles and says, "No. He’s changing mine." We have two of those at our house who have changed our lives.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Walk Through the Park

We took a walk through the park yesterday and then beyond. It is called Tucker Park—at least by our family and friends but we have allowed the city to give it a name also. We had been in the house too long and needed some exercise. Phil didn’t even say “I’m not going” when we told Clark and Phil they had to go too. We walked through the park where we saw lots of ducks, of course, and a cormorant sitting in his tree. We did not see any beavers since it was daytime but their lodge showed signs of recent activity. We also did not see the resident heron. We each picked up a leaf to serve as a boat for our race. We drop our boats on the count of three from the bridge and watch them snag on rocks, submerge, or bounce along on the top of the water. The first boat to go over the waterfall (maybe two inches in height) is declared the winner. Then it is on to a children’s park, a tennis court and through the woods before arriving at the back of the community center where the boys go to “Teen Club”, then along the side, through the parking lot, across the street and through Tucker Park again, not stopping this time for a boat race. This 1 ½ mile walk from our house and home again is filled with laughter as Paul chases Phil or hides and then jumps out to scare him. Clark does not join in. He is content to walk beside me. I suppose this entire scene will look the same in ten years and beyond.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tylenol, Frugal and Cubby Holes

I was pleasantly surprised a few months ago when I read Beowulf (translation by Seamus Heaney) to find that I liked it. I have seen it on lists of “must read” books since I was in high school but had never read it (at least to my recollection) nor had a desire to read it. Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem in the English language so I had my doubts that I would enjoy it, let alone understand it. And I didn’t understand all of it but that did not matter because of the enjoyment I received from the words and sounds.

"They arrived with their mail shirts/
Glittering, silver-shining links/
Clanking an iron song as they came./
Sea-weary still, they set their broad,/
Battle-hardened shields in rows/
Along the wall , then stretched themselves/
On Herot's benches. Their armor rang;/
Their ash-wood spears stood in a line,/
Gray-tipped and straight: the Geats' war-gear/
Were honored weapons." pg. 33, lines 321-330

That is good! If this selection does not excite your ears, try reading it out loud. Or try reading the 23rd Psalm (in English) and figure out why it is so pleasing to read (besides the wonderful message!).

1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Many years ago our family was invited to a friend’s house for a Christmas party. We visited in the front room and admired the live Christmas tree with hundreds of lights and ornaments. Pollie loved putting up and decorating the tree and did it herself, no help from her husband or kids, because she wanted to. As we sat there nibbling on cookies she informed us she had a headache and was going to take a Tylenol. Philip burst out laughing. She said it again “Tylenol.” More laughter. Now we all were laughing. What was there about that word that struck him funny? After that whenever Pollie saw Phil she would get up close to him and say “Tylenol” and he would respond with joyful laughter. I don’t know how long the two of them carried on with this.

Just this Christmas season when Phil was helping put away decorations in the attic, Paul told him to put something away in one of the cubby holes. Phil burst out laughing. Paul repeated the words “cubby holes.” More laughter.

He went through the “frugal” stage a few years ago, even calling Paul Mr. Frugal so he could laugh. So why? Why Tylenol, frugal and cubby holes and other words? Why do some words bring on laughter? I suppose it has something to do with why we enjoy certain readings, how the words sound to us. I don’t know for sure but this I do know—Phil’s response to certain words always catches us off guard and causes us to join in the laughter.

Pretty cheesy grin!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Final Month of 2009

The Christmas decorations are all boxed up and in the attic and the house looks bare--six hours to put up and less than three to take down. Tradition has become—put up the decorations the day after Thanksgiving and take them down on the 2nd, the day after a full day of football on the 1st for everyone except me. I used to hate that day of football but now I treasure it. While everyone else is gathered around the TV I can do as I please (which usually includes reading) and I like that.

December was a month of many nightly movies for the five of us. We wrapped up in blankets, ate popcorn and watched The Christmas Story, The Christmas Box, The Christmas Card, The Christmas Angel, White Christmas, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Home Alone 2, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Elf. Elf always makes us laugh. He is a combination of Clark and Phil. Elf loves to talk; Clark loves to talk. Elf raises his hand to get permission to speak when he is sitting in the corner of his father’s office; Phil raises his hand at the dinner table when he wants to talk. Elf has a wonderful innocence, Clark and Phil do also. Elf is happy almost all the time; Phil is happy almost all the time. Elf is a little kid in a big body just like Clark and Phil. When we read that Kim Peeks (Rain Man) had died we got out our edited version of Rain Man and watched that too. We love it because we can see a few similarities not only with Clark and Phil but in the way some people respond to them. It has been a very busy month with unfinished projects and Christmas cards which still have not been sent but it has also been a very good one.