Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Alien

virgin cherry bomb

The little hand quivered as it tentatively reached out to explore the visage of the alien creature. Frightened, the child withdrew but ventured forth once more. He could touch it. Sure he could. Finally, with determined jaw and great intestinal fortitude he slowly cupped his little palm around the first frog he had ever seen. His reaction was immediate as he leaped back, giggling.

"That's awesome," he told his Aunt Sheryl. "Totally awesome."

This was written as part of an exercise at a writers workshop. The child was Michael, my grandson and he was two years old at the time.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


virgin cherry bomb

I married a military man, 44 years ago, and we have had a great life. We lived in Germany for three years which was my favorite posting and second favorite was Prince Edward Island.

In Germany we learned to speak the language as quickly as possible. Night after night I sat with my German landlord, he with his French/German dictionary and I with my English/French one. It was difficult but a fun time.

I also am proud to say that I got the keys to the city and a beautiful scroll(both of which where lost in one of our transfers) from a village very high in the mountains. Their children's choir had come to our air base to join with the Canadian children's choir in a musical evening when we got hit by a huge snow storm. I took the busload of German kids to the messhall for dinner, with the commander's permission. That was a riot. The mess was setting up for breakfast so, because it was cafeteria style they had huge bowls of fruit, crackers and especially of interest to the kids, small boxes of cereal. All of the bowls were empty in a flash with the booty being secreted in their back packs.

After their dinner we headed to the arena where my husband's team was playing hockey. The German kids had never seen a hockey game so they were very excited and extremely interested in what the black thing they were hitting was made of. I was able to obtain six pucks for them from the equipment manager which made them very happy.

I had told the children that they could not come into the arena until they could speak English, which had really deflated them. I explained that they had to be able to say "Go Blackhawks, Go!" That was the name of my husband's team, who were losing when we entered. It is amazing how having sixty kids yelling for you pumps up a team. The Blackhawks won.

Eventually the snow let up enough that the children could head home safely but we were invited to come to the musical afternoon at a later date, which we did. The village was extremely high in the mountains over a long, winding road but the scenery made one breathless.

What a time we had. We were greeted like heroes, every parent wanting to shake my hand and thank me for showing their children such a good time. Our children's choir sang several songs, one being Edelweiss and then we sat down to tables filled with all kinds of German dishes. It was wonderful and a good time was had by all. It was a wonderfully warm, friendly afternoon.


virgin cherry bomb

There is nothing I can think of that can compare to the imagination of a young child. Where do they come up with some of their ideas? Their creativity simply amazes me and, if I could tap into that, I would never be faced with a blank computer screen again. Unfortunately, as we grow older and are forced to face reality we tend to lose our ability to dream. What a shame!

Inasmuch as I believe in imagining I have always encouraged the children I have known in their pretend games, at least as long as I was sure they knew we were pretending. For that reason when my son told me three-year-old Michael had a `pretend' friend named Jordan, I was delighted.

Jordan went everywhere with Michael for awhile. At times it became very disconcerting for us adults to be told that we were sitting on Jordan, or had closed the door on him. Jordan's appearance and age would change quite frequently as well. That did not matter to Michael. This was his special friend.

There was no task Jordan could not handle either, whether rowing a boat that consisted of four pieces of paper on the living room floor or taking care of Michael's vast `farm' holdings. Sometimes when my brilliant little grandson comes to visit Jordan stays home to look after Mummy and Daddy or is delegated to be any place Michael can not be but feels he should.

The row boat incident became a sharing 'lesson' for me. Michael put the papers on the floor, making sure they were in proper alignment. He then asked me if I would like to come on his boat. Michael, being captain, sat in the front with Jordan manning the oars and I was tasked to row in the back. I was not aware that we were on any particular quest until Michael stepped out of the boat to go to the store. (Of course, any grandchild of mine certainly will always have the ability to walk on water.) It turned out to be a pet store. Michael approached the airtight stove (the counter, you see) and asked to buy a dog.

"How much is that dog? Twenty bucks? Okay, here," as he pretends to pull the money out of his pocket. The newly purchased "puppy" was placed carefully in the craft and Jordan and I were ordered to resume rowing. Four times we went to this store. Now we have four dogs, Jordan, Michael and me sitting in the boat. Finally, after admonishing me several times for sitting on the puppies, Michael, with a great deal of exasperation, ordered me out of the boat.

"Mama," he said, "if you can't stop sitting on the puppies you have to get out of the boat. You have to share you know."

Jordan is not Michael's sole imaginary playmate. An only child, at least for now, Michael changes the size of his family regularly. His desire for a sister has produced anywhere from one to five female siblings at the drop of a hat. Keeping up becomes quite a challenge.

An animal lover of the first order, Michael also has had a pretend dog which he named "Chitid". Don't ask. I don't know where he gets the names. This particular moniker was a great source of amusement for the family until my son actually had a guest register at the hotel in which he works under the name "Mr. Chitid".

A sometimes farmer, Michael has five farms, only one house though. When we went to Wonderland for the day Michael informed us that the farm was `open' but Jordan and his sisters were looking after the animals. Another time `bad guys' had come and killed all the animals, but, we were told, Michael had called the vet and `they're all better now'; would that life and death could be so simple.

This past week Michael and his `Mampa' had to take our car in to be fixed. (It's a guy thing, you know.) Well, our little blue Sprint became an 18-wheeler while at the garage. Quite a trick, don't you think? Any time after that, when Jim and Michael went anywhere alone they were truck drivers. Imagine my surprise when on the next trip we went together, I was told to sit in the back because Michael had to help Jim drive. When I refused to fold myself in half to climb into the back seat I was told that was `okay' because now we were on a fire truck and Michael had to work the siren. Since it was about a 32 kilometre drive from the mall to home, I knew I could not participate in the charade that long. My ears could not stand the undulating sounds emanating from the back seat. I tried, in true adult fashion, to employ logic, in an effort to preserve my sanity.

"Michael, we have reached the fire now. Let's put it out." That didn't work because in Michael's logic, we had not stopped driving. Sometimes reality becomes very convenient for this little person. Once more I tried. (I don't give up easily.) "Michael, if we take too long to reach the fire the house will have burned down."

The response: "That's okay, Mama. The firemen will build a new one this afternoon." The siren continued all the way home.

That trip became almost as bad as the one on July First when we covered the same ground listening to Michael sing his favourite song, "Oh, Can-da-da". Unfortunately, those were also the only words he knew.

This summer we have played a lot of pretend games as well as real ones. We have had sharks, dinosaurs; several types, of which Michael knows the names because his Aunt Sheryl taught him when he was a baby; any number of different farm animals; farmer and tow truck driver. That was one of my favourites. On Tuesdays and Thursdays Michael said he took his tow truck to jobs in Africa. The remainder of the weekdays were spent on calls around the rest of the world.

I will be very sorry to see these little characters disappear, as we all know they will. I am sure their removal from his everyday life will herald an end to a time when trips to Mama and Mampa's house are the highlight of Michael's summer `baycation'.

Michael is almost a young man now but we still have lots of fun. I must say I do miss Jordan occasionally and all his other friends.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Nancy Herkness, new author

I wanted to let you know about a new author I have found. Her name is Nancy Herkness. She has had two great books published and I truly loved them both. Her first book is "Bridge to Love" and the second is "Shower of Stars". Nancy is currently working on a romantic suspense novel. Get both these books and enjoy!