A weird little friend, with a strange little name that I’ve forgotten, used to play road hockey with my son. They used the scoop of a front end loader that was parked on the street for their goal. This kid, who was half my son’s size and a glutton for punishment, stood in front of the scoop and tried to block K’s shots. “Come on, sonny boy!! Shoot it! Shoot it!! Arrrrggghhhhh….. Okay, try that again – you won’t knock me down this time, SONNY BOY!” He was hilarious. For awhile, the nickname stuck. You could spell it either way.
When we lived in the north we all made ‘little while’ friends, but our son was the best at making the most. Now he is the best at making the kind that last. At the risk of sounding like a demented doting mom, I have to say he has one of the sunniest personalities I’ve ever known. I’m not talking about the fake cheery stuff either. He just is a very happy person from the inside out. Nobody has a stress free life, but he’s one of those lucky people who can roll with the punches and see the funny side of every situation. He will not dwell on the negative. The one and only time he got sent home from school was the day that a friend drew a funny picture and K. could not stop laughing about it. What kid gets in trouble for laughing? It was a bit out of control. Even when we asked him to explain the problem, he could not stop giggling about it.
He’s still a big spaghetti fan. And a fan of good food in general. And the kind of hot sauce that brings tears to your eyes.
He has never been afraid to improvise.
He was influenced at a very young age by his maternal grandpa, who passed along to him an incredibly goofball sense of humor.
He has become a fun uncle and a loving and patient dad.
I know, Kale. He’s a bit crazy. But if you turn out to be even a little bit like him, that will be a very good thing.
I used to get super annoyed whenever my father-in-law would start blathering away about his army days and the war and his good buddies. There is his life before going over seas, and then there is his life after coming home. But those few years inbetween are the ones he dwells on incessantly, usually after consuming several rums. His memories are vivid. They’ve become pretty vivid for the rest of us too, after having heard them so many times. He’s hard to stop once he gets going. W. is like a little boy when it comes to this, and appears to dearly love hearing these things told to him, over and over. He is very proud of his dad, and his dad is a proud man. I suppose I need a kick in the ass for being petulant and impatient about it, since I really have no idea at all what it was like for him and what kind of an enormous impact it had on him and on his life. My daughter asked me once, “Mommy, why does grandpa ALWAYS talk about the war?” “I don’t know honey. I guess he thinks we want to hear about it.” BZZZZZ!!!! Wrong answer. Now I understand a little better. Now I know he still has horrific nightmares about the things that happened, and that by talking about them he is trying to make sense of it all. Some things defy reason, but we all have a need to look back and sort through events that shaped us into what we are today. So, I’m sorry dad. For all the barely concealed eye rolling I’ve done over the years and the sighs and the mind wandering on my part.
Because, look at me! I’m doing the same thing. Although I didn’t have any one major traumatic episode in my life that drastically changed everything (unless you count my marriage to your peculiar son as one of those), there have been phases and adventures and experiences that I feel compelled to chronicle. Sometimes when I’m writing these things I imagine my audience sighing audibly and wandering off to make a sandwich. But I’ve learned from you and I don’t let it deter me.
My sister in law was a little more blunt when she listened to his meanderings. “Dad – do you have a point? If there’s a point to this, could you please get to it?” Well, sometimes you just don’t even know yourself what the point is, let alone if you’ll ever get to it, or recognize that you’re there if you do.
Which brings me to the point of this little diatribe. Ummm….. Oh yeah, time travelling. I know I’ve been bouncing all over the place with disjointed digs into the past so that only the very brave or foolhardy can make a good guess at what decade I’m in. It’s like one of those exasperating movies that shows you the ending at the beginning and jumps back and forth and sideways all the way through so that by the time it’s over you’re so thoroughly confused you think you actually enjoyed it.
Now if this were all to make some kind of logical sense I would probably post a picture of my father-in-law in uniform and tell you some stuff about war torn Italy. So of course I’m not going to do that at all.
Instead, here’s an artist’s conception of what he may have looked like in Italy in the rain. It also mirrors the sour puss expression I am so sorry to have shown him when he was trying to enlighten me on the experience.