Thursday, August 9, 2012
Part II: Wherein The Boy Masters a Lifelong Skill; or The Perfect Performance
Have you read Part I? It was posted yesterday. Go ahead – read it. I’ll run for coffee and pastries…
Scene: My boss's office, several weeks after Bring Your Kid to Work Day.
George looks up from the papers on his desk. “If you and your son aren’t busy Saturday, why don’t you come out to the house for dinner?” he says.
I hand him his travel itinerary for the coming Monday. “That would be lovely.”
“It’ll be Karen and I and you two. Just the four of us. Will you come?”
Will we come? Will we eat a free meal?
Why I oughta…
So when the day came, we drove to George and Karen’s. Nestled among the tall trees on a lake ringed by grand homes inhabited by CEOs and professional athletes, George and his dog, a
the size of my first apartment, greet us at the garage end of a very long
Dylan exits the car, extends his hand. “Nice to see you again.”
George smiles at him and they shake.
Dinner is simple and delicious: a turkey breast, potatoes and gravy, a vegetable that escapes my memory.
George stands. “I understand your birthday is coming.”
Oddly, his birthday is coming, but I’ve no idea how he knows this.
Karen leaves the dining room to return with an elaborately decorated cake. Moist, heavy, one can envision rolling bits of it into tight, white-cake-lemon-curd balls and using said bits as weapons. I am touched by their thoughtfulness. Dylan smiles wide and my heart grows just a little bigger.
We are halfway through dessert when George says, “So tell me, Dylan. Have you been practicing the rope trick?”
Dylan grins through a mouthful of baked, frosted goodness. “Yes.”
George leans forward, conspiratorially. “I want to see it.”
Dylan looks at me and I nod. He has brought the rope. It’s in the car.
He runs out to get it.
From the dining room we hear him as he re-enters the house. “If you’re going to do any practicing,” George calls to him from the table, “I want you to do it in the foyer. I don’t want to see you practicing it, I want to see the real thing.”
Dylan steps into the dining room. “I don’t need no steenking practice,” he says.
George winks at me.
Dylan holds the rope out in one hand. “I’ll bet you a beer,” my 10-year-old announces to the room, “that I can tie a knot in this rope with one hand. In under a second.”
And with that, and a snap of the wrist, he does.
He ties a knot in the rope.
In under a second.
We leap to our feet, the applause bouncing off the ceiling.
“Excellent, Dylan. Excellent! I love a quick study.” George claps my son on the shoulder. “Just remember, when the time comes, get them to agree to the bet before you do the trick.”
Dylan beams, sits down to finish his cake.
“Gotcha,” he says.