Friday, May 26, 2017

Look Dad, a Patipiller!


The other day I was talking with Eric, our Sysco representative, about his daughters. Eric, the son of Kim, who was also our Sysco contact many years ago, is greatly loved by the Twin Rocks team. When Eric shows up, we often converse several hours about Bears Ears National Monument, Trumponomics, and many other hot topics. Eric and I tend to have divergent philosophies, but there is one thing on which we agree: family first and always.

Since he is approximately 20 years younger than I, he and his daughters are experiencing things that are in my now distant past. As we talk about his girls, I see the light of love and the power of pride animating his entire being. The other day, he was explaining to me how his youngest had napped late in the afternoon and then kept him up until midnight, at which point she declared, “Daddy, my tired,” and promptly fell asleep. It reminded me of a story I wrote many years ago about my own children and convinced me to reprint that story this week. So, here it is: 

"Dad, look, a patipiller," Dacia shouted as she spotted a fuzzy red and black caterpillar slinking across the trading post porch. We both crawled on our hands and knees following the tiny creature as it inched across the vast expanse of concrete. I still remember the look of wonder in my daughter's eyes as the hairy, many-legged projectile wandered off.

I also experienced the wonder, but for a different reason; I knew the time would come when every word emerging from my little girl's mouth would be perfectly recognizable and wondered how that would make me feel. I was confident it would not give me the same warm sensation I felt at that moment.

Although it seemed I would enjoy many years of imperfect diction, that was not to be. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I was marveling at the sentences Dacia was able to form, and all those fabulous mispronunciations and malapropisms were gone. There were, to be sure, a few phrases I did not fully understand; but that apparently was intentional, not the result of misplaced letters or misused words.

Six years later, Kira came along with a completely new vocabulary, and I was once again enchanted. She has long since given up asking to play games on the "papooter" and picking the "lellow" flowers, but I think of her almost every time I turn on my computer or see a stand of daffodils. The thought of Kira struggling with her language skills sometimes helps me forget the stresses of trading post life and reminds me what is really important.

Even Grange is beginning to progress from throwing "woks," being "firsty," and wearing "wed jammies" to hurling stones, requesting a drink of water, and sleeping in red Spider-Man sleepers. Last night, the rain came, with bright flashes of lightening and loud crashes of thunder. I felt that warm glow envelope my heart when I heard Grange explain to his mother how the "funder" was cracking and the "wain" was falling.

On the west side of the trading post is a tangle of bicycles, scooters, and a "Booley" bike trailer. Some of the equipment has not been used for years because it is too small, too pink, or just not cool. Every time I attempt to thin the heap by pitching part of it in the dumpster, the discarded article magically reappears at its original location before the trash man arrives to cart it off. I have been informed that sentimentality explains this phenomenon.

Jana and I often work with Grange to improve his speech and correct the mispronounced words. Just as the kids continue to retrieve the equipment littering the porch, from time to time I talk with Grange about "fighterfire" heroes and "oneing" in the morning, just to ensure he does not grow up too fast. Maybe I am a little self-centered, but I want to keep him young a while longer. Call it nostalgia or call it selfishness, although the kids have made great progress in language arts, I find myself hungering for the days when Dacia made me chuckle every time she wanted to visit the "stupermarket" for a treat.

Living and working at Twin Woks Trading Post has given me an unusual opportunity to experience the day-to-day development of my children. Often Grange will grab a bicycle or scooter, motor up to the front door, look inside to see what I am doing, and yell, "Love ya dad!" When I tell him, I love him too, he just says, "yep," and moves on to the next item on his agenda.

I already miss the patipillars and lellow flowers and will surely long for the funder when it no longer crashes outside my door. Yep.