Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Boy Is Just Like Me

It's a lot quieter around here this weekend. There was no school on Friday and the youngest is away at a farm owned by one of his friend's relatives and presumably chattering at the goats and chickens.

My dad needed a ride to the doctor yesterday. He lives a good distance from here so I asked the middle kid to come with me for company. He agreed, asking if I'd buy him a treat. I told him we'd see how things went.

We made the trip, picked up my dad, and arrived at the clinic. While we were waiting, my son, a middle-schooler, went over to the play area and started messing around in the sandbox and banging Matchbox cars together. My dad doesn't see the kids that often, but even he knew this was strange.

"Isn't he a little old for that?" he asked.

"By about six years," I replied. "He's not right in the head."

About then the boy wandered over with an Etch A Sketch. "Grandpa," he said, pointing to it excitedly, "I wrote something."

Sure enough, he'd written "Mi nam is B."

My dad looked at me skeptically. "He really liked 'Flowers for Algernon,'" I explained.

"Oh," said my dad, obviously not convinced this was normal. "What's that you brought to read today?" he asked his grandson.

The boy held up the book. "'In Cold Blood.'"

"The Truman Capote book?" my dad asked.

"Yeah, it's great."

My dad was clearly flummoxed. Fortunately, the nurse came out to get him about then. My dad gestured and said, "This is my grandson."

The boy stood up, removed his hat, and shook the nurse's hand. "Nice to meet you," he said.

An older woman who was waiting for her husband whispered to my son, "That was very polite of you, young man." He blushed.

My dad had to stop at the lab after his appointment. The clinic is a big place and the lab had its own play area, this one consisting of a couple of steering wheels and a mirror attached to a plastic cube. Suitable for a three-year-old. Once again my kid went for it, making motorcycle noises and pretending to drive until he got his arm tangled in the steering wheel and said, "Owie. Bad toy. Daddy, I don't like this toy. It hurt me."

The receptionist gave him a curious glance. My dad shrugged his shoulders and said, "My grandson."

Having exhausted his interest in driving, the kid grabbed a coloring book. "Look Grandpa," he said. "I'll color the bunny for you. I'm going to make him blue. Then he will know happiness."

My dad was starting to catch on and replied, "That would be very nice. I can put it on my refrigerator."

"Yay!" said the boy. "I love refrigerators. I'll make the picture extra pretty."

From the lab it was off to the pharmacy. There was a problem with the insurance company's classification of my dad's prescription, leading to a prolonged telephone call between the pharmacist and the insurance company representative. Meanwhile my son wandered off and returned with a rubber ducky bath toy.

"Can we get this?" he asked.

My dad laughed.

"No, son," I said. "Remember what happened last time you had something like that?"

"Yes," he answered sadly. "I almost choked on it and then I got my head stuck in the chair and the fire department had to come."

My dad laughed some more.

The kid left to return the duck to the shelf. A woman was blocking his way and he cleared his throat and said, "Excuse me ma'am, may I sneak by you?"

The woman smiled at him, said, "Of course," and moved out of his way. She walked over to where my dad and I were sitting and said, "He's a very courteous boy. You should be proud of him."

My dad grinned. "He's my grandson."

Our business finally completed, we took my dad back home. He thanked us, hugged his grandson, and went inside. I pulled out of the driveway, drove a block or so, and stopped the car.

"Hey," I said to my son.

"What?" he asked, puzzled and a little nervous.

"You had two strangers compliment your manners today."

"So?" he asked.

"You made your grandfather laugh."

"So?" he asked again.

"I'm proud of you. You're a good kid. I love you."

He smiled, this sheepish look he gets when he's a little embarrassed. "I love you too dad," he said in the robotic monotone he sometimes uses to irritate his brothers and amuse me.

"Thanks for coming today," I said, starting the car. "Let's go get you that treat."


Anonymous said...

Of course, the punchline is the title.

Anonymous said...

Another awesome post!

I can't quite put my finger on part Raymond part Erma part Galloping Gourmet....!!!!!

fish said...

What is this? Stepford Snag?

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

I'm telling ya, Snag is really Bill Cosby.

Snag said...

I will note Bill Cosby is a big fan of chili dogs.