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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hey, Mom! Can Kyle Eat This Minnow?


Something horrible and slowifying has happened to my computer, so while that is taken care of, please enjoy a re-post!



There was a time when it was just me and The Boy.

Young, poor, inclined to eat breakfast for dinner and drink far too much Kool-Aid, we had it made.

One year, when The Boy was 12, I managed to put away $20 here, $20 there, and come up with a cabin on a lake Up North. A full week in their last available cabin for the summer. Nothing fancy: a small living room, three tiny bedrooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. We had a small boat (outboard engine available for an additional cost) and a dock just outside the front door.

That June, I packed a dozen books, The Boy packed his cousin Kyle (just a year younger) and we drove six hours’ north.

The first night there, of course, the boys insisted that they sleep on the dock.

“What, so you can roll off it and then I gotta explain to everyone how I let two kids drown on my watch? No way.”

“What if only one of us drowns?” The Boy counters. “What if Kyle, specifically, is the only one that drowns?”

Significantly smaller than The Boy, Kyle cuffs him on the back of the head. The Boy picks him up and squeezes him until he squeaks.

“You’re funny,” I say, “and yet I’m still thinking “no”.”

The rest of the first day is taken up by driving into town for groceries, venturing into the out-of-doors in a swimsuit for the first time that season, convincing Kyle that even if The Boy did give him a dollar eating a minnow is disgusting.

You know. All the usual.

Around midnight, the kids went to bed, one to a tiny room, reeking of popcorn and elaborate plans for capturing more minnows in the morning.

It was at 2:00 a.m. that first night that I started hearing the whispering.

Pssss psss psss.

Hee hee hee.


I set my book down. Well those little…

I slide out of my little double bed, bare feet on cold linoleum. Opening my bedroom door, I ease into the dark hallway.

Kyle’s room is empty, save for the suitcase that appears to have exploded in the center of it.

The Boy’s door is closed.

And like so many good women before me, I press my ear to it.

“Pssss. Pssss. Psss. Hee! Hee! Hee! and he took the cigarette from his mom’s purse and she never even knew! Hee! Hee! Hee!”

I pull away from the door and frown. Hmm.

I push my ear back against the door as The Boy begins to whisper. In such low tones, surely this is seditious material. Cigarettes first! Now what? Booze? Sex? Drugs?

Holy moly, a gang?! Is that it? Are the boys going to join a gang?!

“Hey, Kyle.”

“What?”

“You know what the greatest thing in the world is?”

“No. What?”


There is the sound of The Boy sucking air into his lungs, blowing it out. Oh, my baby! My heart skips a beat as I picture him blowing smoke out of his bedroom window.

The Boy sighs in exaggerated bliss.

“Mentadent toothpaste. My teeth are so clean. Man, that stuff is tight!”

I turn around, go back to bed with a smile on my face.

Toothpaste.

I let them sleep on the dock the next night.

23 comments:

R. Jacob said...

sure, get me to smile will you? why I oughta...

Boom Boom Larew said...

Mentadent! I bet the next year they were "doing Wint-o-Greens"! Great summer memories!

smalltownme said...

I'm so glad you reposted. THis was wonderful.

Symdaddy said...

Not being a "child liker" I would have made sure they slept with heavy chains around their legs.

"Only to stop you rolling into the water" I'd say.

Only to stop you climbing out again I'd be thinking.

jenny_o said...

All your Boy posts are so, so sweet, Pearl. Except maybe the gassy one, but that did come with a warning :)

But how sweet are all the others.

Joanne said...

Good stories about good kids are awesome. Or, is that tight?

esbboston said...

First its toothpaste, then their neXt drug of choice wiLL be dental floss. Just don't let them anywhere near your toothpicks!

Eva Gallant said...

Love it! I'll bet those boys still remember that summer!

Sioux said...

I don't know if the deadline has passed or if they're already close to full, but this story would be marvelous to submit to www.publishingsyndicate.com for their parenting/being a mom book.
I think all you would have to do is rework it a bit, since it's been "published" on your blog, unless they don't consider being on a blog as "published."

Think about it. This is a great, heartwarming story...

Clipped Wings said...

Enjoyed reading this. Glad you re-posted.

Rene Foran said...

Loved this one :)
Finally now back on my computer after being reduced to writing on an i-touch for a month of Sundays...believe me these eyes were cryin"!

Shelly said...

You've done some very right things in raising The Boy.

Stephen Hayes said...

Well, at least when they rolled off of the dock and into the water they had nice clean teeth.

Douglas said...

I'd have liked you for a mom. My mom was great. Quirky and weird... but great. But she never had the adventures you did.

I started doing that "$20 here, $20 there" thing back during my first marriage. It was just money for me to buy "stuff" that struck my fancy. Now, I still do it but have no idea what to spend it on.

Gigi said...

Sorry to hear the computer is sick - don't you just hate that!?

But I'm glad you re-posted this one - I love it.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! Sleeping on the dock? Thin end of the wedge! They'll want Doctor Pepper after 8pm next. Roth x

bill lisleman said...

sleeping on the dock of the bay - I believe I've heard that before. Don't we often expect the worst of them? toothpaste - nice

Geo. said...

Child development rewards courage. Thank you for reminding me, Pearl.

Murr Brewster said...

My computer is sludged up too. Do you suppose our computers are meeting in space and forget to get home on time?

Indigo Roth said...

Both up smokin' weed all night, and slowing down every time they get the munchies...

Dawn in D.C. said...

The time between when my boys became grown-ups (technically) and the time the grandboy was born sure was lonely and sad. Little boy stories are the best.

P.S. The minnow part reminded me of the time I looked out to see the 12 year old using a crow bar to lift a manhole cover and the 7 year old waiting beside it, with his rainboots on. This could not end well.

chlost said...

Ah, boys. I am certain that they are easier to raise than girls, and so much fun. It is easier to stay one step ahead of a boy. That age is so much fun.Glad that you were able to put together a fun week up North.Eating a minnow never killed anyone. Well, except the minnow.

NellieVaughn said...

Aww. The kids are all right.
On my evening walks, I catch bits and pieces of conversations between young boys. They are adorable, really.