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Sun, Dec. 15

Community activities kept youngsters safely occupied

Brrrrrr! The frost was definitely on the pumpkin for Halloween. It was wonderful to see all the community activities to keep our kids safely and happily occupied. The only trick-or-treaters we had came with parents, and they were parents who knew us. Although we missed the ghosts and goblins, it was reassuring to see that parents are truly keeping their children safe.

Halloween is our old dog Sassy's birthday. No, we don't ordinarily celebrate, or even remember, most of our pets' birthdays, but Sass is the second dog we've had that was born on Halloween and it just seems to be a time that produces particularly wonderful animals. That was, in fact, the ONLY redeeming quality poor Sass had when she came to us, all feet and wrinkles.

Sassy is also the only dog we have raised since the kids were all grown and gone, and being an "only child" has made her a bit of a brat. She is not particularly fond of small children to begin with, and if they are quick and/or noisy, the problem is amplified. So last year when one daughter called to see what we were doing special for Halloween, I thought I would catch her off guard, and I said, "Dad is considering letting Sassy eat some trick-or-treaters for her birthday treat." Di didn't miss a beat on that one, and came right back with, "Well, tell her to just eat the chubby ones and save the skinny ones for later. They are easier to bury!" Yup, she is her father's daughter all the way. (laffin')

The day before Halloween, Batman came to our house "un"trick-or-treating. He brought cookies that he had made and decorated, each more creative than the last: Jack-o-lanterns and ghosts and even purple bats.

Now I have to admit that Batman's Mom and little brother and nephew were not costumed, and did look vaguely familiar (grin) but we were handling the "alter ego" bit fairly well. Too well, perhaps, for at last the small child inside the costume couldn't really handle Batman getting ALL the praise for the cookies. He peeled his hood back and announced, "I'm not really Batman. I'm really Noah!" Ah, this child is so like our Grandson Jay was at his age. It is a joy to have him across the street.

The only problem we have with him is that he seems to be growing up so fast. He just recently mastered his two-wheeler without training wheels. Bless Arlene's heart for the phone call that said, "If you want to see a picture of pure joy, step out onto your front porch." There was Noah, perched on his bike at the top of the drive. He shrieked, "Peggy! Watch this!" And off he flew, down the hill. When he circled around at the bottom, let me tell you, folks, the smile was bigger than the child.

Noah has been making bookmarks lately, and he made a special one just for me. He had drawn - now how did you guess - a camel on it. So we talked about camels for awhile, and I shared with him the tip I always gave my second-grade classes about how to remember the two types of camels. The dromedary has one hump, just like the capital D; and the bactrian has two humps, just like the capital B. He considered his artwork, and said, "Then the one I made for you is a bactrian." I said that was right. He then said, "At school there is drama, but I don't think there is a dairy." I mean, this child thinks! My kinda guy! (grin)

And you can bet he won't forget which kind of camel is which either. You just never know when things like that may come up in the course of ordinary conversation.

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