Our home could use an interpreter service department. A few of us speak our own language. One of us is deaf. For instance, Rosey calls napkins “gumpkins.” So, when Rosey asked Xavier for a “gumpkin”, he responded with exasperation, “Rosey they aren’t called’ gumpkins”, they’re ‘tattins’ “. This prompted Rosey to calmly remind Xavier that the past is not called “yesternight” but rather “a long week ago”. Then there’s Dexter who has become hearing impaired. Rosey’s “gumpkin” sounds like napkin to him. If I suggest to Dexter that we talk, he enthusiastically answers, that he would love to go for a walk. Or if I ask him if he would like some dinner, he smugly reminds me that we are all sinners. Alex refers to litter as “glitter”. if only trash were “glitter”, what a sparkling world it would be!
You say potato and I say potahto
You say tomato and I say tomahto
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto
Let’s call the whole thing off
But, oh, if we call the whole thing off
Then we must part
And, oh, if we ever part, then that might break my heart.
You say potato
No headbands in bed.
You can’t just eat the croutons, you have to eat the salad too.
You can’t just show up.
If you’re a girl,don’t take your shirt off in real life, except if you’re Evelyn.
Don’t throw the mulch up the sliding board.
You can’t eat the dog food unless you’re the dog.
Never put matchbox cars in the toilet.
Do not stick your fingers into the turtle pen.
Do not write on yourself with markers. No writing on others with markers.
Always put the ladder up when you are finished swimming in the pool.
Do not eat the mulch.
Do not feed M+Ms to the dog.
No crying in baseball.
No licking your plate.
No licking your sister or brother’s plate.
No licking the water ice from the steps at Citizens’ Bank Park or from any steps for that matter.
No saying damn it unless you are Pepere.
No peeing in the pool.
No BabyRuths in the pool.
Don’t answer the door when mom’s in the shower.
Disregard previous rule, mom never has time to get in the shower.
Talk about your feelings.
No diving into pool.
Snitches get stitches.
Love one another!
For some reason, I seem to attract people who are a bit offbeat and eccentric. It happens everywhere I go. For example, in line at the pharmacy, the lady behind me told me how she is the smallest in her family and has five year old twins to whom she gave birth when she was 41 years old. Her parents are dead and she has sixteen nieces and nephews. Then there was the time the girl asked me if Nathan’s hot dogs were meat or beef because she was just thinking about it. And then there was the car wash attendant who raved about the colored bubbles sauna effect and told me I would be amazed when I saw my wheels.
So, it wasn’t surprising to me, today, when I was getting out of the car, that I heard a voice call to me. “Hey sweetie, have you seen any angels flying around here?” It was the man I see at our church every Sunday. Throughout the mass he keeps his eyes fixed on the stained glass windows. His Mona Lisa smile betrays a hint of mysticism. In other words, he’s crazy. This gentleman walks all about town and I see him talking to invisible companions, gesturing as he speaks as if he is trying to solve all the problems of the world. He walks in every kind of weather, in Winter and in Summer, for miles…always with a smile on his face. He wears a baseball hat backwards over his long blond disheveled hair. His face is boyish and I would imagine, as a child , he was cherubic, angelic. “Yes”, I answered. “There are angels flying around all over the place. They are everywhere.” He pointed up the street and I told him he was headed in the right direction. With obvious delight, he gave me a hearty thumbs up . And off he went to find the angels.
I find angels in all the oddballs I meet. I am grateful to be blessed with an angel magnet in my soul.
There was a knock at the door. Before I could answer, I found a woman of bohemian appearance, standing in the foyer. She had dreadlocks and carried a lot of bags. She greeted me and then asked if this were a place that cared for animals. “I saw a cat outside and the wheel chair ramp” she said, “so, I figured this is a place that takes care of animals.” I found myself thinking, certainly, that makes perfect sense. A cat and a handicap ramp, why wouldn’t someone come to the conclusion it’s a place for disabled felines and other furry creatures (cats in wheel chairs at the very least).
I explained to her that this is our home. I told her, that, despite what it looks like, it is not a facility for crippled cats or any other kind of challenged animals. She apologized profusely as she tip toed backwards, out the door, repeating in a whisper, “Sorry, sorry sorry”. Our 23 year old son, Sonty, just looked at me and said, “Do you think maybe we should keep our doors locked?” “Perhaps we should,” I replied, “but if we do that, we might miss out on entertaining angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2).
On an unusually warm day this past May, I had to pick up our seven year old grandson, Lucas, from school. This takes a bit of orchestrating because, on any given day, there are three or more other kids that have to accompany me on this excursion. This day it was 22 month old, Xavier, aka ‘Zabor’, two point five year old Amelia and Lucas’ four year old sister, Evelyn. It was hot in the car. Evelyn decided to take off her shirt. Lucas, exasperated with his little sister’s disrobing, shouted in alarm, “Evelyn, you can’t do that in real life!”
What constitutes real life anyway? Certainly not fake news, boobs, noses, nails, lashes nor the way we often use social media to embellish our otherwise ordinary lives and mask our imperfections. Maybe real life is our beat up, worn out, naked selves with all our vulnerability loved, like the Velveteen Rabbit, in a way that makes us real. After all, the great spiritual traditions say God loves us just the way we are (and so does Billy Joel). In any case, Evelyn retorted to her brother with gusto, “Lucas, you’re not the boss of me! I can do whatever I want.” And she can. She’s a red head. No one in his right mind should mess with a red head… in real life.
When we think of a miracle, we usually think of something improbable or impossible. We think of those extraordinary events like water into wine (one of our favorites); the inexplicable cure from a terminal disease, a blind person recovering sight, the Phillies winning, your kid listening the first time he or she is told to do something, beating the odds to win the lottery, St. Anthony finding a long lost something or other or, for me, drinking my coffee while it’s still hot, a minute alone in the bathroom, two minutes passing without the word “Mom”.
An ordinary miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One plus one equals a thousand. This is a perfect description of our eight year old daughter, Rosey. If her individual parts were for sale, they’d all be on the “as is” rack. Crossed eyes, short leg, missing septum pellucidum (Trust me you need a septum pellucidum…Google it!) leaks like sieve and talking with her is like playing a round of Mad Gab. Put them altogether and you have a miracle! Magical, holy, inspirational. But, just for the record, our ordinary miracle, Rosey, was also not expected to see or walk or talk. So she’s an extraordinary miracle as well. With her we did win the lottery. Blessing!
Our eight year old daughter, Rosey, loves to sneak my phone and send texts. Usually, they go to a family member. Most often they are gibberish mixed with emojis. Tonight, however, one of her texts went to a number I didn’t recognize. The content of her text was “A..s on your face.” The return text inquired, “Who is this!?” I quickly realized it was the lady from whom I’d purchased an antique typewriter on Craigslist. I immediately sent her an apology about Rosey and explained about her special needs. She answered that she herself is a Special Ed teacher and perhaps Rosey was connecting with an energy they both shared. You bet your a..s! To me it was just a silly covfefe. Sometimes, I think our world could use one universal auto-correct. Enjoy!