Tuesday, August 21, 2007
One Big Brother and One Little Sister
The kids look so pleasant when they appear non-combative. In actuality they will try your patience, hurt each other, and hurt you if they catch you sleeping, with the wing of a small metal passenger jet, in your eye. "Daddy, wake up, and make me something to eat."
The other day he asked his mother "Is that Bob Dylan?". He'd asked me that before too, but while Lucinda Williams played, whereas this time he got it right. Important things for a four-year old to know, and after all, he did get guitar lessons at the far end of the yard on a windy day from Mr. James Hendrix himself, so it only makes sense.
The boy feels those extra senses real good sometimes. Back in June, after we got back from launching the rockets in Nevada, we all went hiking near the Little Farm in Berkeley's Tilden Park. We walked down a narrow tunnel of trees and shrubs towards Jewel Lake. The stroller couldn't make a section, and just as we were about to turn back he ran down the trail as fast he could. I abandoned Sissy, the wife and her pops, and chased Gumbo all the way to Jewel Lake. When we got there he ran all the way around to the far side of the lake. I finally apprehended him playing near the feet of a man sitting on a lakeside bench reading to his two young daughters, intently reading, near a stand of cattails. I warned him not to disturb the trio, and away we went. I read in the paper the next day that shortly thereafter the reading man got back in his car with his two daughters, rounded up his wife from wherever she was, drove down the road to Mineral Springs picnic area, and shot them all and himself dead. His name was Maurice, I think. I got all kinds of goosebumps, just because Gumbo seemed so drawn to the man. That imaginary boundary between life and death fascinates so many of us.