Logan is Six  

We teased a lot about Logan’s being Dennis the Menace, while we filled our roles as the old couple next door, the Wilsons.  We may still play George and Martha, but it officially came to an end today.  Dennis the Menace is a perpetual five-year-old, and Logan has outgrown him.

We sang Happy Birthday while Logan waited to blow out the candle.

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Someone said, “We’ve gotta sing the family song.”  There was a little reluctance, but the whole family joined in.  I thought it was going to be something short and silly, but it was more like a polished show tune.  Shawn said she remembered her grandmother singing this birthday song, so it has been in their family a long time.

Logan was eager to show off his swing set, given by a neighbor whose children had outgrown it.  Our grandson Nathaniel offered to go around to the back of the house with him.  It was easy for me to step out on the deck above and get a quick shot of the six-year-old and the six footer swinging together.  It wasn’t until I saw the photo that I realized the frame was set up as only neighbor Bob would have done it.  Two logs made a solid footing on one end.  Living on the edge of a sloping mountain calls for level-headed ingenuity.

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The gift that was the hit of the party was a sprinkler.  You load a ball at the top, and it spirals down to be shot up in the air by the water.  Amazingly, the ball sometimes stayed on top of the spray for a minute or so.  The young children put on swimsuits and got soaking wet.  Grandsons David and Nathaniel were right there in the action, but they knew how to avoid the spray.

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The party ended on a quieter level as Logan challenged David to a game of checkers.

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Five Years and Seven Inches Later  

From the beginning, our two grandsons have always gotten along very well.  Five years ago David, at 16, towered over Nathaniel after one of his teenly growth spurts.  Nathaniel was probably of average height for a boy of eleven.  That summer we took a day trip upstate to look at minor waterfalls and ate at a Burger King restaurant between points of interest.  While the boys were clowning around, I took a quick photo that made it appear David was lording or kinging it over Nathaniel.  It was always one of my favorites because the boys were having fun together.

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Five years later it was Nathaniel’s turn to play the 16-year-old.  He is 6’4” tall now.  When I mentioned Burger King crowns, David immediately knew the incident and the picture I was thinking of.  He is working at Burger King this summer and brought home two crowns for a reenactment on the first day of Nathaniel’s visit.

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A new twist was Nathaniel’s wearing two crowns like a checkers king and David trumping his stance by pointing to the logo on his official hat.

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More in character is a shot of them with their arms about each other.  Our summer is off to a wonderful start.

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Monday’s Paper  

On the first day of summer, I reverted to my warm weather routine in the morning.  After John and I walked, I turned on the recirculating pump in the angel fountain and sat down to read the newspaper on the front porch.  We’ve decided that’s about the only way I can enjoy the sound, because after half an hour or so, the fountain begins to leak.  It’s an odd job, being the guardian of an angel.  You’d think a concrete angel would be tough enough to take care of herself.  Several times I forgot to turn off the pump, and I came back to hear desperate sucking noises from that angel.  Without me, her heart would fail.

I had gotten quite warm while walking, so cooling down beside the fountain seemed inviting.  I followed the usual pattern, reading all the headlines and continuing with an article only if I were interested.  We take the Asheville paper, which is like the New York Times in one way only – the size of the paper it is printed on.  As I finished the comics, I realized I was cold, almost shivering, in fact.  Jeans and a light cotton top didn’t have many insulating qualities.

Going inside, I said to John, “I’m glad this is Monday when the paper is tiny, because I’m nearly frozen.”

He laughed, realizing I stayed outside until I finished reading it.  He replied, “That’s not surprising.  It was 50 degrees when we left the house, you know.”

Brrrrr!  Do you think I need to get the angel a coat?

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He Found it Amusing  

Our children are rarely in the area on special occasions.  Let me clarify that.  If something were REALLY special, we’d be together at some point, but Father’s Day is not one of those days.  One daughter lives 800 miles away, and the other 3,000.  Also, pertinent to the story is John’s love of greeting cards.  Buying a card is the first thing he thinks of.  I’m on the opposite end of the scale.  I’m hardly ever at a loss for words, and, miser that I am, I hate to spend money on something I can do myself.

I realized on Sunday morning that I had done nothing to mark this day.  When John came in the room, I said, “I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything for Father’s Day.”

Before I could get breath for another sentence, he said, “I’m not your father.”

“Well, yes, but….”

It took me a minute to recover, but I continued, “You often get me something for Mother’s Day.  I’ll tell you what.  On the way home from church, let’s stop in Dollar General.  They have a great card selection.  I’ll find the card I think is suitable.  You’ll read it, and we can put it back on the shelf and leave.”

He burst out laughing, so I figured I gave him a bit of pleasure on the day.

Update on the Neighborhood   

The day after Amy moved, we were taken out for lunch by North Carolina friends who were here for a conference in Lake Junaluska.  It’s a wonder we were able to eat, because we talked non-stop.  There is always so much to catch up on.

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Rus and Elizabeth had a time constraint, but we didn’t.  John offered to drive David and me on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Both rhododendron and mountain laurel were blooming.  This is the first year we’ve been up there at prime time, and it was glorious.

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While standing at the creek, John turned to see a bird that was clicking as it flew under the bridge.  I recognized the clicking sound as that of a kingfisher, and I saw it quickly enough to identify it by sight, as well.  I used to see them occasionally on Long Island.  This was a first here.

Our new neighbors were very busy the first two days.  Several friends helped them carry things into the house, so we stayed out of the way.  We finally caught them outside to welcome them to the neighborhood.  Hopefully we can soon get a photo of them so that you can see them, too.  Their names are Dawn and Jeff.  I hadn’t thought about it before, but it’s great that we don’t have any duplicate names on the street.  It seems everywhere you go, there are multiple Johns and Davids.

An afternoon thunderstorm joined the sun to give us a rainbow in the backyard.  The photo doesn’t show it clearly, but the end appeared to be glowing behind the trees at the edge of the pasture.  I’m sure that is the closest I’ve ever been to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  When I looked at the photo again, I was aghast that the rainbow appeared to hover over the wicked wisteria as if blessing it.  No!  Please don’t encourage that greedy plant!

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Amy’s Move  

We saw much of Amy’s move from our front porch.  It became tense as we watched heavy thunderclouds approach.  The movers shoved items sitting on the drive into the truck at the last minute before the heavens opened.  What a deluge!

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Minutes from a thunderstorm

We thought the move was finished at this end until Amy told us they needed another truck. They had miscalculated, despite Amy’s asking if everything was going to fit in one medium-sized van.  The finish was postponed until the following day.

As planned, Amy and her sister Susan, came to our house.  We were with them when Amy got a peculiar computer-generated telephone message from her agent.  The closing was canceled due to lack of interest.  What????  They didn’t need that at the end of a long day when the closing was supposed to be in 15 hours.  It turned out to be a mistake, but mistakes can zap what little ooph you have left.

We had dinner, and this time I did remember one of Amy’s statements that had us laughing.

Susan said kindly, “I hope you are going to sleep like a baby tonight.”

Amy replied, “What?  Sleep two hours and wake up wet????”

After the meal, we had a little celebration.  It was our 52nd wedding anniversary, marked by a chocolate cake which we five demolished in one sitting.

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David took a shot of the movers and the stayers at my request.  I hadn’t wanted to aim the camera at Amy while she was in the middle of moving on an oppressively hot and humid day.  We all look fairly compliant.

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Amy and Susan with us

We sat on the front porch waiting for dark.  Amy said she couldn’t sleep until it was dark, and Susan pointed out that it would take a while.  This day was not far from the longest day of the year.  The thunderstorm had cleared the air and lowered the temperature, so it was a pleasant wait.

We said our goodbyes after breakfast.  Susan supervised the movers while Amy went to the closing.  When everyone had gone, David and I went to Amy’s stream while it still belonged to her.  He waded up and down, choosing a rock to send back to a friend who is collecting one rock from every state.

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David in Amy’s stream

Logan joined us, eager for anything to allay his boredom on the second day of summer vacation.  I took a quick shot as the guys moved from Amy’s land to ours.  Starting now, the place belongs to Dawn and Jeff.  I’ll introduce you as soon as we’ve met them ourselves.

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David and Logan with Amy’s empty house

The Return of the Magi  

When John packed away the Christmas decorations in January, our three wise men were missing.  I wrote about it (click here to read), and we continued to look for them in all kinds of crazy places.  We knew that if we found them, it would take us by surprise.

John opened a drawer in the credenza looking for candles.  Lo and behold, there they were!  All three were tucked neatly beside the candles.

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He had no memory of putting them there.  He began to wonder if he had stowed them himself, planning to take them out on Epiphany.  Well, this year there was no star in the East shining in that dark place.  Our Messianic heralds were mute and still.  I find it amusing that the whole time we were looking for them, they were a couple of inches below their allotted place.  In the photo, John’s hand is about where they should have been kneeling before the Christ Child.

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It may be my imagination, but they seemed to be a bit shrunken.  I set them on the table that was decorated for Flag Day, hoping they would perk up and stretch a bit.  Surely they are enjoying this out-of-season holiday, considering they would normally be packed in the stifling attic!

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