Logan, a Breath of Fresh Air

Neighbor Logan (11) had not come over to visit us for a long time, probably because he was very busy with school and sports. I let him in, and he spotted John at the dining room table. He made a beeline to John, hesitated a moment and sat down opposite him. He knows he is always welcome to share a meal with us, but we had finished eating. When John asked how school was, Logan responded with something he knew would please John. He mentioned that they have been studying Roman emperors in history. There ensued a discussion of what period was involved, and John brought a book to the table with appropriate photos to show him. I was impressed that Logan knew where this fit into the historical time-line.

We think Logan’s sense of appropriate behavior is far above average. He waited until John paused to ask what he came over for. “Could we play checkers?”

I have a standard ritual of hiding a granola bar for Logan to find. I suggested he find that while John set up the game. It’s difficult for me to find a hiding place that is challenging. Recently he asked that I make it a little harder! When he looked all around the room several times, I told him to look waist high. Bingo! He found it.

As the fellows played, I took a photo to show the concentration. They played three games until it was almost time for Logan to go home.

I was playing the day’s game of Set on my phone and showed him my time, which I think was over six minutes. I handed the phone to him, and he finished the same game in one minute and a few seconds. I am always impressed at how quickly he and David can solve those things.

As Logan put on his shoes, he thanked us several times. His manners are superb, much better than those of many adults. Every time I notice, I silently applaud Shawn and Bob for their excellent job in training him. These skills have become natural to him and will help him in everything he does for the rest of his life.


I read an old folk’s magazine, figuring the articles are aimed straight at me. The main thing I pay attention to is news of scams. Some scams are invasive enough to hit the newspapers, but I might miss them there. Within the last month I read about a delivery con game. A truck pulls up to your house, and the driver tells you he has a package for you that needs a signature. He is wearing a uniform that is similar to that of a major carrier. If you ask, he tells you why he is using an unmarked vehicle. You haven’t ordered anything, but you see a box and jump to the conclusion it has your name on it. I forget the explanation he gives for needing your credit card, but it’s almost plausible. He scans your card with a cell phone, gets your signature, hands you a box, and leaves quickly.

Fast forward to the day John left to go to the train club. I was reading the newspaper in the kitchen, and my phone rang. The man said he had a package for me that needs a signature. Immediately red flags went up in my head.

“You are here?” I questioned. I realized I was using my hard voice, one that was very unfriendly to my ears.

“Yes, in your driveway,” he replied.

I had ordered something that I didn’t expect until next week. I knew my credit card had been charged, but there had been no notice that it had shipped. John didn’t tell me he had ordered anything, which wasn’t unusual. In panic mode, I couldn’t remember the details of the scam. Should I call a neighbor to come out and witness this event? No, there wasn’t time. Go out there and be wary. Don’t sign anything in a hurry.

The truck was painted in the colors of FedEx, and the man was holding a device that was not a cell phone. So far, so good. Oh, my! The box he removed from the truck was suspiciously big enough to be a computer. The nice man explained that he called me because there was no car in the driveway, and he didn’t think there was anyone home. He could very well have peeked in the garage, too, and not seen a vehicle. I fell all over myself apologizing, and said, “There have been scams about deliveries needing signatures.”

He smiled gently and said, “I know.” It was nothing new to him. I signed his gizmo, took the box, walked sedately through the front door, and did a victory dance out of his sight. I was almost too excited to be thankful that I had heard the phone and was not still planting Sweet William seeds or taking a shower.

I wrestled a monitor from a closet shelf, hooked up the hardware, went through the start up procedure, signed into Microsoft, installed a free anti-virus application and ran it, downloaded a free word processor, installed Dropbox, and stopped for lunch. If I did nothing else, I would be satisfied. The next day I installed financial software, and I’m using the machine to write this message. This has to have been one of the easiest transitions of my life. I’m so glad I didn’t tell the FedEx man to go away.

For those who want to see neighbor Logan again, here he is playing a wicked game of checkers with John.

051717 Logan against John

Why Wash the Apple?

The question I asked myself for the umpteenth time was, “Why do you always wash an apple before you feed it to the neighbor’s horse?”

I have laughed at myself any number of times for doing just that – rinsing off an apple before holding it out for DW or Vixen. Well, there are two correct answers to that question. The first is, I do it out of habit. I always wash fruit before serving it, even though half the time the horses drop the apple. I have no compunction in picking it up off the ground and holding it out again. They eat off the ground 99% of the time, anyway! The second correct answer is that my companion, 6-year-old Logan, will likely take a bite out of it before the horses do. That is exactly what happened today. Thank heavens I didn’t deviate from habit!

082216 Logan talks to DW.jpg

Today was a big day for Logan. We knew school was starting today, and Bob stopped the car when he met us on the road. Shawn lowered the back window so we could see our cutest neighbor and wish him well. John told the boy to come see us after school and tell us all about it. A bit later Bob sent a photo they had taken at their front door. We always took pictures of our children on their first day back to school, but ours always looked last-minute, not carefully planned.

082216 Logan's first day of school.jpg

John was out running errands when there was a loud knock on the door. There was Logan, bursting to tell about his day. We sat down to talk, which was amazing in itself. He said he had breakfast at school, which was normal, and that he had pizza for lunch. I was surprised at that, knowing it was a half day. He chose to sit by Titus, and they played outside ,except not on the grass. I never know when I have heard him correctly, so I didn’t pursue that.

Logan told about the teacher’s rule for raising hands in class, which I think is priceless. He demonstrated that if you need to go to the bathroom, you raise one hand with pointer and middle fingers crossed. If you need a drink of water, you raise both hands and lower them with your fingers waving, like rain falling. Brilliant, don’t you think?

Pure talk didn’t last long. Logan wanted to play checkers, which I did very reluctantly. I am not good at the game and prefer not to play at all. He was the first to have more men than I did, but we ended in a draw. That means he played at a 10-year-old level, and I had the best game of my life. After feeding the horses, Logan announced that he was hungry. Via text Shawn gave me permission to give him Craisins. We were on the porch when John came in. The boy played on the exercise bike and is likely a couple of inches taller than when he last rode it backwards. He has been riding a real bike without training wheels for a couple of years, so I should not have been surprised at his coordination. If you can see the video, note that he wasn’t tall enough to hold both handles at the same time.

Bob the Builder Brightens Our Lives

When the doorbell rang, John opened the door and said, “Bob the Builder!  Come in.”

Bob, otherwise known as neighbor Bob, had come over to install two solar tubes.  John and I fell in love with the concept after seeing homes of two classmates in Oklahoma and Arizona.  Our friends used these tubes in dark hallways, kitchens, and baths.  Our kitchen was shadowed by the back porch, and the interior bathroom had no natural light at all.  I’m convinced Bob can do anything he sets his mind to.  He was everywhere – on the roof, in the attic, and on a ladder inside.  Being experienced with construction, he measured very carefully and went about the job confidently.

I took a photo of him as he put the clear cap on the roof.

051616 Bob finishing solar tube on roof.JPG

The rest of the afternoon I kept going to look at the kitchen and bathroom to see the light flooding in.   Below is the interior bathroom lit only by the solar tube.

051616 Inner room lit by solar tube.JPG


While the sun was high, the flat disc in the ceiling looked like a spotlight in the kitchen.  Later there was just a soft glow.

051616 Kitchen with solar tube.JPG

Logan appeared shortly after his dad started working.  I asked why he wasn’t in school, and he said saucily, “I’m taking a day off.”

John had the more likely story from Bob.  Logan had an earache during the night.  Old man and little boy played checkers for the first time together while Bob worked.  It reminded me of all the times John patiently played with our grandsons.  At least today, John had the edge on Logan.

051616 John and Logan play checkers.JPG