Get the Flash Player to see this content.

Thursday, October 16, 2003:

Sharon, Caitlin, Drew and Sarah around in Southern Utah hiking. Spence has his longstanding dream come true, as Officer Turnbow gives us a tour of the Springville Police Station.  We see the processing and interrogation room, the dispatch centre, the DUI room, the place where reports are done.  We talk about firearms, door crashers and violence. Spence is utterly wide-eyed, and so quiet and modest that you might not mark it.

We go outside to see Officer T.’s truck, with its lights and sirens.  Spencer has some questions written down.  How old are you?  How do you do your job?  What’s a nice part of what you do?  A hard part?  Why do some police have partners and some don’t?  How do you become a policeman?  The answers emphasize the friendliness and the service elements of the institution, and our guide of course is exemplifying them.  Spence is glowing, while I find myself touched by the kindliness of the whole exchange.

At home we have lunch.  We read Bill Peet’s Hubert and Dr. Seuss’s Horton.  Everyone goes to work for a brief bit and then we have a treat. After leaving them some free time, we read some more Mickey Mouse, visit a police web site, look up elephants in the encyclopedia.  We take our baths, eat some ice cream and end with some spooky tricks from a Halloween book that I had when I was seven.  That’s the way a day should be, for bigs and littles alike.

Friday, October 17, 2003:

Sharon and the girls are still on that camping trip. The kids go with me to work.  They’re okay at the start of their two hour sentence, but they reach the end before the class does.  Fun with chairs and curtains gives way to general mewling.  Claire takes my face in her hands.  “I wanna bwottle!”  The boys have been drawing on the blackboard.  Spence, who’s in a scoundrel-y mood, erases one of Matt’s pictures, just to be upsetting.  Matt quite reasonably gives Spencer a big elbow in the gut.  Spence responds by an enormous roundhouse, with Germand the dog at the end of it.  I’ve noticed that kids don’t always have a full sense of decorum.

Later, out of the corner of my eye, I see Spice Cat vaulting twenty feet across the room and bouncing off of one of the student’s heads.  Then while I’m talking to students afterwards, Matt and Claire zip through the door and disappear.  It takes me twenty anxious minutes to find them.  We get back, and I find that I have not further ambitions for the day.

Reflections on single parenthood: it’s possible, even fun, as long as you cut way back your expectations of what you’re going to get done.  I mow the lawn.  The late afternoon is October beautiful.  The kids take all of Sharon’s seasonally decorative pumpkins to the picnic table and make a town out of them.  Grandma Pumpkin falls and cracks her head open.

We have a leisurely dinner, and the hikers come home.  Drew brushes past me.  “Don’t ask!” says the affectionate Caitlin.  Sarah at least is willing to tell all.  Everyone got lost.   Everyone laughed when Caitlin—who apparently had been trash talking—fell in a big mud puddle.  Then she behaved very gamely, and they all did well and had fun.  There was a scary part over some chasm.  Sharon savaged her knuckles.  Sarah spidered her way up and across some huge expanse.  After their initial post-trip reticence, the gang actually comes up and starts to share and laugh and embellish.  It sounds like both sides of the family flourished this weekend.

Videos in this Cluster:

Posted on March 2, 2012. Category: self and other · Cluster: ·