It’s demoralizing to have one’s rubbish examined by one’s neighbor and be found wanting, is it not? Such was the case yesterday, when the woman from the house on the corner knocked on my door a few minutes after I’d arranged our garbage on the curb at the end of my driveway.
“So sorry to bother you,” she says, “but I was wondering if my husband could take the tricycle you’ve left by your bin to Goodwill. Because then it could be enjoyed by another child?”
“Do you know,” I say, “I don’t think it could, actually. It’s broken.”
“Perhaps it could be fixed,” she suggests (patiently). She is from Europe. She is unaware that I can read her mind, a fact which gives me no pleasure and certainly no advantage.
‘I wish it could,” I reply. “We got it from the neighbors next door. Their two daughters outgrew it. Our daughters have ridden it pretty hard. I’m sure it’s beyond repair.” My girls thrashed the hell out of that trike. Still, I find myself justifying my garbage to this person.
“I wonder,” she counters, “if a disadvantaged child might still enjoy it.”
“Enjoy sitting on it, you mean?” I assume an expression of genuine contemplation. Yes, I can picture it. A dirt-encrusted girl with dubious hair (who is the spiting image of my four year-old) sits on the broken tricycle. “Why don’t the pedals move forward, Mommy?” she asks. “Because we’re poor, sweetie. We can only have broken things. Try to understand.”
My neighbor and I have reached a quick impasse. Perhaps she can read my mind, too. I hope not.
a season’s fruit, two seasons, three—
large solace from a little tree;
but now the grief comes to a head,
my tree is gone, my tree is dead.
Behold the poem delivered by my seven year-old (inaudibly, despite the microphone three centimeters from her lips) at today’s Montessori matricidal celebration. I think she wanted to leave people with the impression that these qualities might be ascribed to me, without fully committing. On her way out the door this morning, she reminded me to “wear something nice” to the party, a sad indictment of the raggedy show I usually put on. But not as sad as the fact that what I actually wore had been scavenged from the dirty laundry hamper just thirty minutes earlier. I don’t think she noticed. On the other hand, I’m probably just being “optimistic.”
I’m not going to lie about it: Sundays are the hardest day of the week. Here’s a little tip for anyone attempting to fargle up their co-religionists’ sabbath: cause that their church meetings should begin at one o’clock in the afternoon, and last in duration until four o’clock, at which point any chance of a decent family meal has been snuffed out like a fatuous candle in the wind. Yes, ensure that their ecclesiastical obligations start late enough in the day so that there is not quite enough time to do anything as a family either before hand or afterward. Make sure there are enough hours between sunrise and Sacrament Meeting so that the edict “No Wii Before Church” turns into an untenable, bottomless nightmare.
On top of that, the lesson for my Sunbeams was entitled I Am Thankful For My Hands. This reminds me of an absolutely nonpareil story involving my mother, but one that shall remain for another day. In any case, I decided to show my motley crew of three year old boys a ten-minute clip from Doctor Dolittle, because who more than he did “good things” with his hands? I dare you to think of a single person. I paid Callie a quarter to find the DVD, which I crammed into the side of the laptop on loan to me from my brother Daniel. It was only then that I realized my fatal error: the laptop has a tray-loading mechanism which I (witlessly) bypassed. Yeah. I just shoved the DVD into a crack in the side of my brother’s computer. Packed it right in there. To make it really clear, there was a crack in the side of the computer, into which I forced a DVD. And strangely enough, the computer didn’t work after this. It CERTAINLY didn’t play the DVD.
Anyway, I could go on, but what’s the point? I have marginally redeemed the day by putting together the title page for Dad’s 70th birthday album. To wit: