Tasting Life Twice

Archive for the category “A Child’s World”

Birthday Fun

Even if it rains on your parade, keep marching.

At Carley’s birthday party, a bunch of silly second grade girls painted their fingernails, competed for prizes in the limbo contest, a sack race, a three-legged race and a water balloon toss.  Their cheeks were bedazzled with the colorful creations of a face painter.  And they were enchanted by the stories of a mysterious stranger from the order of tall hats and tall tales.  Later they threw water balloons at the same storyteller. Who does such a thing?



In between it all, the girls danced to Miley Cyrus (“Party in the USA”), Jessie J, (“Price Tag”), “Cha Cha Slide”, “Party Rock Anthem” and a bunch of other boogie tunes.


Birthday Girl!


Yesterday was Elizabeth’s birthday.  In her honor, last night I reread some of Shel Silverstein’s poems, including a couple of Elly’s favorites.  Here are a couple of ones we especially like.  The first is “Whatif” from A Light in the Attic and the second is “Spaghetti” from Where the Sidewalk Ends.


Last night while I lay thinking here,
Some whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old whatif song:
Whatif I’m dumb in school?
Whatif they’ve closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there’s poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don’t grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won’t bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don’t grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then
The nighttime whatifs strike again!


Spaghetti, spaghetti, all over the place,
Up to my elbows—up to my face,
Over the carpet and under the chairs,
Into the hammock and wound round the stairs,
Filling the bathtub and covering the desk,
Making the sofa a mad mushy mess.
The party is ruined, I’m terribly worried,
The guests have all left (unless they’re all buried).
I told them, “Bring presents.” I said, “Throw confetti.”
I guess they heard wrong
‘Cause they all threw spaghetti!







Memories of a Son and our National Pastime

JET Baseball

Jonathan would have been fourteen today.

The start of baseball season and the discussion of Albert Pujols’ future with the Cardinals, got me thinking about my son’s first trip to a professional baseball game. I had four tickets four rows behind home plate for a Sunday night nationally televised contest between our beloved St. Louis Cardinals and the powerhouse Atlanta Braves.  My father, brother, niece and I were seated in the “big dog” seats at the old Busch Stadium and Jonathan was watching the game from my lap.  In the green seats, you get pampered with goodies. Instead of going to the concession stands, the ushers come to you.  You fill out a menu request and they serve you food and drinks until you’re ready to explode like a home run fireworks display.

When I was given these tickets, they came with very specific instructions from the generous donors: “don’t be like those people that are on their phone the whole game, because you’ll be on television every single pitch.”  I happily accepted the terms with special permission to make one or two phone calls during the game.

I called Jonathan’s grandfather and told him to find the game on ESPN.  I had Jonathan take his shirt off.  I said, “Jonathan, look out there at the pitcher and flex your muscles for papa.”  Little Hercules complied and did his part with astonishing aplomb.  And I heard his papa’s loud voice on the other end of the phone: “Oh, looky there! There’s my grandson!  Slim, come in here and look at your grandson on t.v.!”  image

Jonathan’s first professional baseball game was one to remember.  Rafael Furcal completed an unassisted triple play against the Cardinals, an unusual feat in the history of baseball. And one future Hall of Famer, a young Albert Pujols, hit an 8th innning home run off of another future Hall of Famer, the veteran John Smoltz.  That key hit extended Albert’s hitting streak and produced the go-ahead run.  The Cardinals won the game 3-2.

They Keep Getting Bigger

Caleb fishing in Alaska

Caleb fishing in Alaska, pictured here with his Uncle Steve.

Gone Fishin’

My son absconded from scorched-middle-earth of the Midwest and has been fishing in Alaska this week.  Here is a picture from yesterday’s haul of king salmon.


Ready for College and a Chance Meeting with Mr. Jefferson






Finding a Ray of Light

(iPhone picture by Elly)

The Dog Days of Winter

One week ago, our family entered the world of dog ownership by obtaining a vizsla puppy. The children had been asking for a dog for the past few years, and like Jesus’ parable of the persistent widow, the children were finally heard because of their importunity. The vizsla breed is a Hungarian short-haired pointer that has only been in the States since the 1950s. I was looking for a energetic, athletic dog that had a good temperament for children and was friendly to allergy-sufferers. A friend mentioned to me this breed and researching it a bit more I was hooked. Outside the house, the breed has a hunter’s nose and alertness; inside the house, the vizsla is a lapdog who loves to be close to you.

The children learned of their puppy on Christmas morning as Elizabeth opened up a dog crate and Jonathan opened up a leash. Anna and Micah received dog books describing the breed and pictures of the litter and some background information on the pedigree. Sadie’s parents, Pete and Penny, earned junior hunter titles a few years back. For now, we’re working on crate training and potty training (sub zero temperatures and five inches of snow are a wonderful incentive to doing your business quickly, by the way).

The Riddles of a Child

Elly sent this to her grandparents and received the correct answer back from my father.  I’m not sure what prize the correct answer won but I’m sure my parents were happy to see that there was a participation prize for all contestants.




Doing Business with the Christmas Drone

image Today we went to Hallmark to get Christmas ornaments.  Each year, the  children pick out new ones that capture something of recent interest to them, such as the Lollipop Guild, a violinist, Luke Skywalker, Barbie, Harry Potter or Club Penguin. Taken together, the ornaments on the tree tell stories and mark the passage of time.

They made their selection and I took the ornaments to the register.  Working  the register was an unenthused cashier in his mid-thirties who really didn’t like his day or his job or both.  Our conversation went as followed:

“Do you want postage stamps with this?”

“No thank you.”

“Do you have a rewards card with us?”


“Would you like to open an account and save money with no cost to you?”

“No thanks.”

I turned to get the children and realized that Micah was still holding his ornament in his hand and that I had only paid for four of them and not five.  Rats.  “Let’s try this again.  I forgot one of them.”

I placed the last and final ornament back on the counter to start another transaction.  Would you believe it?  The cashier asked me the same set of questions:

“Do you want postage stamps with this?”

Didn’t we already have this conversation?… “Uh, no.”

“Do you have a rewards card with us?”

You’re joking right….“No, I still don’t.”

“Would you like to open an account with us and save money with no cost to you?”

I can’t believe this…“Again, no thank you.”

I left with my laugh for the day.  I couldn’t decide who he was.  I thought he might be an alien from Men in Black.  Or the modern-day company man who had to keep to the company script even when it wasn’t necessary, and especially then.  Or the most naive literalist who ignores the spirit of any text.  Or Mr. Roboto.  Caleb concluded he was a drone from Star Trek.

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