Benny ran up to me, “Hi, Poppa Mike.”
“Hey, Benny, what’s up, little man?”
“Pick me up!”
“Pick you up? You’re five now. Aren’t you too old to be picked up and held?” “Poppa, pick me up!” He grabbed my hands, pulled, and began to climb up my legs. He hung upside down with his feet braced on my thighs. “Please, Poppa.”
I swung him back-and-forth like a pendulum. His hair swept the floor at the bottom of each arc. He looked up, giggled and asked one of those questions only an innocent child can ask. “Poppa Mike, what did you guys look like when you weren’t old?”
The football bounced haphazardly across the yard. Benny ran after it, changing direction each time the ball took an awkward bounce. It came to rest against the fence.
Benny picked it up and threw it to me. I was about to throw it back, but noticed he was staring up at the sky.
“Look at the clouds.”
“They’re pretty aren’t they?”
“Yeah.” He looked up at them again. “Poppa Mike, clouds move.”
“Uh huh! I seen them?”
“Uh huh. Sometimes they don’t, but I seen them move.”
“Did you know that when it rains, the clouds are melting?”
“I didn’t know that, Benny. What are the clouds doing when it snows?”
He looked up at the clouds and then back at me. “They don’t know.”
“The clouds don’t know what they’re doing when it snows?”
“Uh huh! They don’t know.”
Benny came to spend the afternoon with me, while his mother and Ginny went shopping. He put his fishing game on the table and proceeded to stuff four chewy candies into his mouth.
“Benny, are you going to eat those all at once. You should eat them one at a time?”
“I like to eat them all at once at a time.” he mumbled and continued to chew.
After his candy and a couple rounds of his fish game, we went out to the backyard. A few drops of rain fell. Benny ran around with an umbrella. “Poppa, this umbrella is just …”
“What’s wrong, Benny?”
“I thought I heard Seth and Josh.”
“Your brothers? That can’t be. They’re with your mother and Ginny.”
“I heard them around front. I’m gonna go see.” He ran around the corner and out of sight.
He returned a minute later. “Did you see them?” I asked.
“It wasn’t them?”
“No! It was just some girl across the street making boy noises.”
Benny saw a news program from New York. They showed a picture of the Statue of Liberty standing tall and proud in New York harbor. “Look, Mama! It’s The Statue of Delivery!”
“The Statue of Delivery?” Heather asked.
“Yeah! It’s The Statue of Delivery.”
“How do you get to it?” She asked.
“You can’t walk to it.”
“Nope! You can’t walk. The only way to get to it is by plane.”
“Uh huh! You have to get to it by plane. When the plane is over top of it, you have to jump out and land on top of the statue.”
Benny looked at Ginny. “I’m going to tell Mama and Nathan to get you a molonger.”
Ginny was puzzled. “A what?”
“You need a molonger.”
We rent. Benny had seen the lawn care people taking care of the grass. “Yeah, GinGin.
Then you can mow your own grass.”
Josh ran up to Ginny. “Hi, Gingin!”
“Hi, Joshie!” She gave him a hug. “You poor thing! Your mamma told me you had a cold. You sound stuffed up.”
“I’m not stuffed up. I just have plugs in my nose.”
“Plugs in your nose?”
“Mamma says a cold puts plugs in your nose.”
“Well take them out.”
Josh limped up to his mom. “Mamma, my toe hurts.”
“It does? How did you hurt it?”
“I bumped it!”
“Which toe is it?”
“My thumb toe.”
“I’m sorry, Joshie. Does it hurt bad?”
“It does, Mamma. It’s beeping.” meaning it throbbed.
The boys give me a lot of love and laughter. It’s the beauty of being a grandparent. We get the joy without the stress of raising them. In return, they brighten our days one flash at a time. The best part is the things kids say.