Joe was about four years old when I sketched this cartoon. We were rushing about, quickly getting ready to leave the house, when I spotted my sweet little boy, in his "Dutch Boy" hair cut, with a messy face. That wouldn't do, so I dashed to the sink and got a very wet wash cloth. I was in such a hurry that I didn't take the time to squeeze it hard enough, but was about to do a fast job of washing him anyhow. For a roudy little kid, it added insult to injury, that not only was I going to smear a wet wash cloth all over his face, but a sloppy rag at that, which was just too much.
He happened to call today, so I mentioned I'd be posting this drawing. I told him I also had boxes of journals in the attic, that I'd written while the kids were growing up. His sister, Sookie, used to love having me read them to her over the phone, and she'd end up laughing so hard she'd wheeze. She remembered a lot of the things that happened as I read them to her, but not from my perspective. Actually, I wrote them so that someday I could read them, and maybe actually be able to laugh or try to make sense of some of the illogical blur that posed as daily life for us in those days.
I'm glad that Joe manages to savor his time with his family. He regularly regales me with stories about Ashley and Zachery. Today he told me that one of Zachery's new words is "possibilities". Zachery was telling his dad, "...We could go sliding or for a ride...there's all kinds of possibilities" he said excitedly. Joe always scratches his head and wonders, "Whoa, where did he learn that one?"
Yeah, the kids were always a source of laughter for me. They still are.
When Joe called today, he was taking a break at work. (He's an highly respected computer engineer/information analyst who is head of an eApplications support team. He's usually reserved and businesslike on the job.) During our conversation we were interrupted by some kind of loud, alarm siren, which had begun wailing on his side of the phone. He tersely said, "I've gotta hang up!" and did. In this day and age, you just never know, so all kinds of thoughts ran through my head til he called back, about a minute later, saying it was an emergency fire drill and that everyone had filed out of the building and were now standing about, in a crowd, shoulder-to-shoulder, quietly waiting for the 'all clear', so they could go back inside. We continued our chat about the weather and the kiddoes, when he mentioned that the drill was taking much longer than normal, and he wondered what might be going on; other than just a regular drill. About then, Raleigh came in from outside and began rollicking with SparkyBear and MarkyBear. Joe asked me what the weird noise was. I told him it was Raleigh...he makes the strangest noises for a dog, 'mawing and yodeling'.
When Joe was about Zachery's age he loved to make the weirdest noises I'd ever heard. He had a whole repertoire of unearthly sounds. (We have a story based around one of Joe's hauntingly,howlingly, eerie, muffled noises, but that's for another time.) As we were talking about the crazy noises he used to make, we remembered that Dan had some kind of LOUD, awful 'metallic' noise he'd make in the van, out the window, in heavy traffic, that would actually make cars stop...several of them...and everyone would be craning their heads around to see what had happened. It always scared me, too, and I'd hollar at him, but the kids would all start laughing, then traffic would start moving and I'd drive on with the rest of the herd, muttering to myself, that it wasn't funny. He usually only did it as we were pulling up at red lights, but still, everyone in the the other cars would be gawking all around, even sticking their heads out their windows and looking up at the sky.
Joe said, "Yeah, it was maybe like that sound in the movie, Dumb and Dumber, when Jim Carrey asked what was the most annoying sound in the world," and proceeded to yell it, to show me he still 'had it',... "EEEEAAAAAAAAGNKKKKKKKK!!!!" Then there was a long pause. I told him, "Hey, that was pretty good." There was another awkward pause, then a quiet, embarrassed, "...everybody is looking at me. Maybe they think the drill was actually because some lunatic got loose in the building, and while they are in there looking for him, he had filed out with the rest of the crowd, and HERE he is."
Soooo, I guess I was party, in a way, to embarrassing one of my kids in public, 'stead of the other way around, eh? I still GOT it, but I didn't do it for purpose, Joe :-*