Friday, December 11, 2009

Two Zits defines zit as, “A pimple or skin blemish.” The term can, however, mean much more than just another unwanted skin condition; at least for me.

Grange Simpson

Last Friday morning, I noticed two assignments Grange had left on his bed before heading off to school. Jana and I are generally conscientious about going over the assignments Kira and Grange bring home, so I placed these on the kitchen counter for later review and discussion. As I grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch, Jana perused the documents. We are accustomed to seeing 90s or 100s on Grange’s class work, so I was surprised to find 75s written in red pencil on the worksheets.

While Jana and I discussed the reasons why Grange had not performed as well as expected, he came strolling in. Friday is a short day in this district, so he was home early. As we talked with Grange, I noticed he had developed two small blemishes on his forehead. I vividly remember the unhappy time when similar blotches began appearing on my own face. To my surprise, however, rather than worrying about Grange’s complexion, and immediately dialing up the dermatologist for a remedy, I was overcome with delight. These spots conclusively demonstrated that my 10 year old son is growing up and developing all the characteristics of a young man, including the widely detested zits.

When I expressed my fascination with his blemishes, Grange was clearly displeased and became seriously self-conscious. There are times when I don’t express myself well and this was obviously one of them; my enthusiasm was lost on him. In those two red dots, however, I saw both his past and future. A myriad of memories flooded my mind, making me smile broadly.

Remembering Grange’s first day on earth, I recalled proudly displaying him to Kira. Her response was, “Dad, can you give him back to his mother?” “Yes,” I said, “but I don’t think that solves your problem.” Although there were the expected bites, scratches, snubs and scrapes from his sister, over the years Grange and Kira have grown exceptionally close, as have he and I.

From the time he was old enough to walk to school, Grange and I have taken morning journeys from the house above Twin Rocks Trading Post, past Far Out Adventures and Calf Canyon Bed & Breakfast to Bluff Elementary School. During our walks I am often reminded of the opening scene from the Andy Griffith Show, where Opie and Andy stroll down a dirt road towards a fishing hole. Bluff is, I am convinced, much like of Mayberry.

As Grange grew and became more coordinated we began having short foot races, playing football or tossing a baseball. For me, this is treasured time. Once in a while he even tell me he loves me, something I have always found difficult with my own father.

Even now I can hear the lyrics from that old Harry Chapin song, Cat’s in the Cradle:

Well, he came home from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you, can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head and said with a smile
"What I'd really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?"

Seeing the pimples on Grange’s face reinforced my conclusion that he is growing up faster than I would like, and that our morning walks will soon end. Next year he will attend fifth grade in Blanding, and instead of the 15 or 20 minutes I have with him each morning, I will see him board the bus and be whisked away. Not long after, there will be high school, car keys and see you later can I have them please.

With Warm Regards,
Steve, Barry and the Team.

Copyright 2009 Twin Rocks Trading Post

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