‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Friday, June 8, 2007

Sparky

Today was the last day of school. Lucy was dismissed at 11:30 and we all descended on the beach for a picnic lunch. I am so sorry if you were there trying to have a civilized afternoon of sunbathing. You were out of luck.

If you don't have kids, it's a good idea to choose an ocean side beach with enormous waves, a rocky precipice and some sharks. Then you'll have some peace and quiet.

When Lucy goes to parties she stays with me for most of the time and then she launches herself into the midst of the fray and never wants to go home. I was that way today. I knew I was supposed to mingle with the other parents, with my daytimer handy so I could plan playdates, pony rides and what-not, but I wasn't in the mood. And I don't have a daytimer. So I sat on our blanket and watched the kids play in the water for about 2 hours. And then a friend came by and pleaded with me to come over and visit and then I wouldn't shut up.

I had to tell everyone about the chickens, after all.

And then the topic turned ever so slightly to "what do we do with the hamster over summer break" and we discussed the distribution of classroom pets for various vacations and that in turn reminded me of Sparky.

Sometimes it's best to leave me on my blanket with no tempting segues into unrelated stories.

But Sparky was once a classroom goldfish, and so the story was related and so I was justified.

Sparky went home with my sister one year when she was teaching in Colorado. She then moved east and of course took Sparky with her. I helped her drive across the country. It was the middle of summer and we were in her Corolla with no AC, a rooftop carrier and a carload of her whole life's possessions. Yes, we got a flat tire in the middle of Nebraska at 3am and had to completely unpack the trunk in search of the spare. Neither of us had ever changed a tire before. It took probably 2 hours.

Sparky rode up front with whoever wasn't driving. The driver had to keep alert for potholes, railroad tracks or whatever and would holler "Fish!" when danger loomed. The passenger would instantly wake up and grab the fishbowl, acting as a human shock absorber.

Suddenly, taking my sunflowers on a roadtrip isn't so surprising, now is it?

We made it to DC and successfully moved my sister into her posh garden apartment with a view of people's ankles from its only window.

That night, in the middle of a sound, sound sleep, I sat straight up in bed because I had heard a gentle splat. Frantically I felt around on the top of the bookcase, grabbed Sparky and tossed him back in his bowl.

He lived for a couple more years.

Meanwhile, back at the beach....

Lucy has found yet another friend and I become acquainted with her parents. We set up a play date before I realize what I'm doing. I may even have instigated it.

And as we're leaving a little girl I've never seen before walks up and says "I live on Curvilinear Circle - the third house on the left, it's number 11. My phone number is 888-555-1212. The chemicals are in the pool so we can't swim yet but it will be open soon."

It seems we have an open invitation. Most people know better than to do that with me, but she is only 5 and probably has not heard. I feel slightly smug with my new knowledge.

And then on the way home I wonder how many people Lucy has given her phone number and Google Earth coordinates to. She may have said something like, "just come on in - sometimes mom doesn't like to answer the door."

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