Monthly Archives: November 2009

Can I Wreck Your Helicopter?

Tommy and I are watching the grasshoppers on the sidewalk. They’re marvelous. They can jump so high, and when they fall they don’t get hurt.

“I can’t stomp on it?” Tommy’s just checking.

“No, let’s not stomp on it. That would hurt. And God made it.”

“We can’t wreck it?”

“No, let’s not wreck it.”

I bring a new toy to Tommy’s house—Fiddlestix™. They’re much like the Tinkertoy™ my brother enjoyed so much.

Lisa makes cars, a helicopter and a spinning sun. I make cars and flagpoles. Tommy’s intrigued. “Can I wreck your car?” he asks. “Can I wreck your helicopter?” Each time he asks, and each time he gets permission he gleefully unleashes the forces of destruction.

Lisa and I wonder. Is it his age?  Fiddlestix™ is for age four and up. Or is it the boy thing we wondered about in “Sir Tommy, Knight of the Tall Grass”?

Tina’s almost a year older. Let’s see what she does with them.

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The Yellow Blanket

Tina hasn’t always approved when her mom gets out of the car to run an errand, but we’ve devised a strategy that works for her. 

As soon as Mom gets out, I ask Tina, “Would you like me to sit in the back or stay in the front?”

She invites me into the back seat and I give her a choice of three stories: The Lost Sheep, The Yellow Blanket, or a zoo story our children enjoyed when they were little.

Here is The Yellow Blanket, a true story:

Chance, our elderly rescued dog, loves my husband, Richard. Even in freezing cold weather, she wants to be outside with him. Her yellow fur isn’t long, and poor Chance shivers miserably hour after hour. She won’t go into her warm, straw-lined, lightbulb-heated doghouse until Richard goes into our house.

I stop by with a couple of friends on my way home from work. “Can we help?” I ask Richard, who’s working at the other end of our property.

“Yes,” he says, “try and get Chance to go home. She’s so cold.”

We try. Terry has bought a chicken, and we break off pieces and manage to lure Chance to the road. But she keeps looking back at Richard. She knows she’s being disloyal.

Now comes the hard part. Can we get Chance to go down the road to her doghouse? We cannot. We put on her chain. Terry’s son pushes Chance and I pull her with the chain. We may have moved her a quarter of an inch. Then Terry’s son pulls and I push. Did we gain another quarter inch? Probably not.

Terry tries to lure her with more chicken, but Chance knows what we’re up to.

Terry suggests using the yellow blanket from the car, the one we use for Tommy and Tina. We wrap Chance in the blanket and try to slide her along the road on the blanket. Chance won’t have it. Disloyalty to Richard? Perish the thought!

Richard has an idea. He drives up in the Bobcat and lowers the bucket. He lifts Chance into the bucket, still wrapped in the blanket, and climbs in himself. I drive them both home.
 
Soon after that, our elderly friend passed away. I took comfort in the kindness that Richard, Terry and her son showed to Chance during what turned out to be her last days.
 
“I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”
Attributed to Stephen Grellet, Quaker missionary