Thursday, August 31, 2006

RASCAL, One More Time

Rascal, One More Time...

Well, it seems that I have had mail asking what Rascal has been up to lately. Seems I have put Spook on both blogs a time or two and have been neglecting Rascal. Well, he has been busy Cricketing – Rascal the mighty hunter! Did you know most cats actually eat crickets? But they spit out the legs. Or maybe they save them for tooth picks, I don’t know. Guess they are the kitty version of Fast Food. But not fast enough! I know, totally disgusting!

Sometimes he plays with his Teddy Bear.

Sometimes he plays in his cube.

Sometimes he just gets on his magic carpet and takes a trip! This is one kitty who does not need catnip!

Then remember the blog posting where I wondered if I had fleas??? As you know, Rascal loves to be on the back of the computer chair whenever anyone is working on the computer and often when we are not.

Earlier this morning, as I was working here on the computer, Rascal got up on the back of the chair and decided to “groom” me. As he nibbled on my imaginary (I hope!) fleas, I reached slowly out for the camera. Unfortunately, I disturbed him so he took his paws and held onto the sides of my head. As soon as he had me “firmly” where he wanted me, he began to wash my hair! Now, that was a funny sensation. When I tried to move away, he got a tighter grip. Obviously I could not see what I was doing – I just turned the camera on and shot. Here just when we thought he was a computer geek, all the time he was studying to be a beautician!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

the August Garden revisited!

For some reason, blogger decided to not take any more pictures and so these did not get added to the Garden - so here they are. Look for the deer!

And below are the 3 Mouseketeers checking out the squash collection. The white ones are patty-pans.


August Garden

Oh the joys of retirement! Normally this has been the week of Supreme Panic – the week when I admitted defeat – another summer had passed me by – no time left to do all the things I just didn’t get to and time to start to load up the van for another year at the brain factory! Well, the only good part of that was the barns got emptier for 9 months, but the chores never quite got all done. Now, I do not mean to imply that all the summer chores are done, oh, no. but I really do not give a _____. I have next week. And the next week. And the next week. Ah, yes, retirement. While all my former inmates from the institutions of higher learning are back sweating it out in their classrooms and meetings, preparing for the little darlings to come back, listening to all the crap they pound us with in the first week, swearing under their breath about all the new complications the Ivory Tower has thrown their way, I will be calmly watering my garden, picking my tomatoes, pulling weeds and planning what I am going to plant where come next spring.

In all my years of teaching, I always wanted a garden – a vegetable garden. Not a big affair, mind you, but just enough to be able to go out and pick enough to eat and have some to share. My first attempt has been a learning experience. I have learned that all those squash blossoms will not turn into baby squash. Some of them are boy blossoms. Some of them will be eaten by rabbits. No two squash will appear to be the same although they all came from the same original squash.

I learned that the Japanese beetles can devour 48 bean plants overnight, leaving nothing but lace in place of leaves.

I learned that nothing tastes better than going out and picking a handful of fresh blueberries to put on your cereal… unless it is your own strawberries… or your own raspberries or blackberries.

Have you ever tasted a tomato one second away from having been picked, wiped off on your shirt, still warm from the morning sun and wet with dew? There is absolutely no way that tomato can be compared with the red cardboard things sold in the grocery store for $4 a lb in the winter. I am definitely going to build a walk in greenhouse up next to the back of the house where I can keep a couple cherry tomato plants over the winter. The little greenhouse I have is great for over-wintering the geraniums and impatiens, but not big enough for more than one tomato plant.

In the flower dept., some of my crape myrtle are starting to bloom, a few have finished. The fall azaleas have started and I can see the buds on the fall camellias filling out. The phlox looks good. I have a couple glads that are late and put a bit of surprising color out around the Circle. The hibiscus is struggling, one bloom at a time. Again, the beetles have eaten the leaves down to the stalk. The Rose of Sharon is looking nice. Mine are doubles. I want a white one with the deep crimson center.

My blue garden has morphed into the purple garden as all the blue flowers have died off or have given up their struggle against the violets that have taken over the St Francis - birdbath garden. My favorite, commonly known as Persian Shield or Strobilanthes is doing quite well. It is supposed to be an annual, but I have had it come back up for me a couple of times. It is one of the few annuals I will plant as I am turning to perennials in my old age. I must have pansies and I must have a few Strobilanthes around or my yard is naked!

Soon it will be a bit cooler and I will be able to work out in the yard longer each day. Now I seldom last beyond 10 AM – it is just too hot. So a lot of things have not gotten done. I have 4 or 5 bags of mulch from the spring I just never got open. They are patiently waiting. I have covered a large area around the tomato (and bean!) garden with that black garden cloth cover. I bought a whole big roll of it. It kills the grass under it so it will be ready to turn over and plant next spring. Sounds lazy to me, but if it works, I am happy. Soon it will be cool enough once again to sit in the Adirondack chairs to rest up a bit between dumping bags of mulch or trimming trees or pulling weeds. Move over Spook!

I am thinking I should just pull out the bean poles and cover that part of the garden, too. Yesterday I had to readjust the netting over the blueberry bushes, they have grown so much. I was going to uncover them completely now that the berries are done, but I surprised a deer later in the day out back munching on god-knows-what. Can you see her standing way in the back of the picture? I don’t know if deer eat blueberry plants or not, but it would be my luck that they do.

I also took pictures of my daily harvest. The cats were quite interested and just would not stay out of the picture. Oh, well. Hope you enjoyed the trip thru the garden. Just wait till next year!!!!!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Paradise from the sky

Clock tower, now

According to, the clock tower is now completely destroyed. The pictures of the nearly buried tower were from 2002 or 2004... I have not been able to pin point the date.
The site has the most up to date pictures I have been able to find. Definitely worth looking at.

However I must add Montserrat is not dead! She is alive and thriving on the other side of the island. And Vue Pointe is open and functioning even tho the golf course right next door is not. Vue Point was right on the edge of the damage. I have heard from some people who have been to Foxes Bay where some people are trying to reclaim their homes. Foxes Bay is even closer to Plymouth, if I remember correctly.

Clock tower in the 60s

The war memorial clock tower, Plymouth Montserrat. Postcard probably purchased 1968.

More Montserrat - then

This is the clock tower, a war memorial I believe, in downtown Plymouth. The blogger is refusing to print the old postcard it says it has uploaded... maybe because it is in a different format - damdiffino! So, I will try it next - separate posting. I am not sure who took these pics - they were sent to me by a friend and I have seen similiar ones on the web but could not find any copyright stuff with them. I do not take credit but thank whoever the brave soul was who wandered into restricted territory to take them. All I can say is it is hard to believe how often I waited at this clock to be picked up and taken back to the hotel and look at it now. Breaks my heart.

For more pictures go to or

Thursday, August 17, 2006



I guess I will stick with the island theme here and move south, way south from Maine, down to the British West Indies to the little island of Montserrat.

I first went to Montserrat probably around 1969 and returned again and again for many years until the trip became too much for Elizabeth. It was our favorite island in the Caribbean and the one on which we spent the most time, usually 2 or 3 weeks each June, as soon as school was out, and school used to be out a whole lot earlier back then. We were often on the plane by the 10th or 12th of June, and didn’t get home until after the 4th of July. We usually spent a week or so on one or two other islands, just to see how they were or to shop, but we always went back to Montserrat for the longest time.

My story of Montserrat will be a story of then, not now, as the volcano erupted in 1995 and kinda destroyed a big part of the island. The capital, Plymouth, is now buried under tons of volcanic ash and lahar from Soufriere, once about 3,000 feet tall. Believe it or not, I climbed that volcano back in 1972 and have a piece of the sulfuric rock here to prove it! It was a scary climb, the sulfuric “rock” path we climbed up was more like butter fresh out of the fridge in texture though not temperature, and crumbled under our feet from time to time causing the bigger members of our little expedition to slide down hill a bit. I remember our guide showing us where they used to climb, but the trail broke away during a serious cloud burst. “But,” he said, “It doesn’t look much like rain today!” That was so reassuring. This picture is from the top of Sufriere, probably 1973???

One arrived on Montserrat on a tiny plane from Antigua, a short hop away – maybe 20 miles or so, flying in parallel to some cliffs on one side, the sea on the other and at the end of the runway. Then there was a 45 minute ride to the other side of the island, a short distance on a flat map, but quite a long trip on a volcanic island! The trip wound its way thru tiny villages with half naked little brown children who would stand and wave at the passing cars, their little shirts clean and pressed and nothing else on down. The houses were painted all sorts of bright colors and often had goats, chickens and donkeys wandering around the yards, even the occasional cow might be seen. Our driver was always full of information about the island and who the people were, cousins or Brits or his brother’s house. We would detour to take in the government house or a favorite church. Sometimes he would stop and pull some bananas off a tree and give them to us or offer to take us to the local market place for some fresh Montserrat oranges or pineapple which I must say tasted like no other pineapple in the world. Talk about sweet!!!!! The fruit on the island was pure and untreated with chemicals and sweeter than anything you have ever tasted. I drool to think of it.

Eventually we would arrive at Vue Pointe ( where we would stay for at least 2 weeks. Several days out of the week we would go into Plymouth. Most days, however, were just spent on the beach or in the water snorkeling. The sand on Montserrat is black except for one little side of the island where the surf is high. We would often walk the length of the beach until we got near the cliffs, wading thru the Belham “River” which was sometimes a foot or more deep where it met the sea.

Did you know that there used to be a very famous (in music circles) sound and recording studio on Montserrat?
On September 15, 1997 at Royal Albert Hall, Sir George Martin assembled an all-star cast to perform a benefit for the island of Montserrat, an island in the Caribbean that was devastated by a volcanic explosion. The artists that appeared at this show had all recorded some of their biggest hits at Martin's recording studio on the island. Included in this group are PAUL McCARTNEY, STING, ELTON JOHN, JIMMY BUFFET, AND ONE OF THE FINAL APPEARANCES FROM CARL PERKINS.

There are a number of songs that featured Montserrat – I don’t remember the titles, but one was about “Where we gonna go when the volcano blows?” Montserrat is mentioned in Kokomo. I remember when Ebony and Ivory was recorded there. Lots of steel drum music… one of the best groups that played back-up on many of the songs at that time lived on Montserrat and often came up and played for the folks at Vue Pointe. They were awesome! They could make those drums sound like a full orchestra. Sometimes they did classical music, sometimes pop.

Montserrat was a very relaxed, laid back little island with the friendliest people in the world. There was none of the cut throat high powered tourism stuff, no casinos, no phony glitz. Montserratians were content to be who they were, comfortable and proud without being arrogant. I don’t know how to say it, but going to the island was a bit like going “home” in a strange way. It was like putting on your favorite pair of slippers after a rough day at the office.

Vue Pointe is open again, new and improved, as they say. Personally, I cannot imagine anyway anyone could improve on the place. It is still owned by Cedric Osborne and his wife. You can read their story at How I wish I could go back, just one more time – but they say “you can never go home again.” Ah, my grieving issues rise up again – grieving not only for my past but for an island so drastically changed. I adored the little town of Plymouth, wandering thru the shops, the market places, buying all kinds of treasures and the most delicious fruit at the outdoor markets. And the people – oh, the wonderful people with the Irish lilt in their speech, the kindness in their eyes and the joy in their hearts! Everyone was a friend.
I wonder if I could physically handle traveling to Montserrat today, if my old body could handle the trip, the walking, the climbing. I wonder………….. sigh.

Please visit for pictures of Plymouth from 2004. They are so amazing… I must confess, I cannot view them without getting tears in my eyes. I just stare at the shots in disbelief. How could this be the place I loved to wander? The main index for tons of Montserrat photos can be found at More general info can be found at, or

These photos were taken by me or Elizabeth probably in the early to mid 70s, so the color is a bit faded. Oh, well… I guess I am pretty faded now, too. Several pictures are from postcards from the late 60s.

A friend sent me some more current shots of Plymouth and the volcano - maybe I will put them on another post. This has taken several hours... I am tired! And I do have some other things to do today. I hope you have enjoyed my little trip down thru memory lane to a land now partially buried in volcanic ash but still very much alive in my heart.

And, yeah, this last one... at the airport on my way back to Antigua and home... see? I told you I once was, well, maybe not skinny, but definitely not fat... and look at that hair! Not a gray hair to be found!

Montserrat - a preview

This blogging is not for the technically challenged, is it? This is a postcard, probably from the late 1960s of Vue Pointe where we used to stay on the island of Montserrat, British West Indies. I will be scanning a number of old pictures and a few old postcards for the next posting - so I just needed to see if it would work. The scanner has not even been plugged in for over a year, so it will be a learning experience. I hope you enjoy the pictures... hey, I hope I can get it all to work!

Friday, August 11, 2006


When I started this Blog - I promised myself to be "kid" friendly, non-controversial, not to get into politics or religion, and I have done pretty well, for me - well, maybe except for the piece on Beirut. But I think I have become overwhelmed with all the killing and desire for killing and causing hurt around the world - not just by THEM, oh, no...

Anyway, my thoughts went back to what I had been taught about the God of my childhood because I was reminded just this morning (on the radio) about how God loves us... Remember hearing that God is Love?

So I thought...

If god is love,
then the godly must be loving.
So who does that make those who kill
or want to kill
or hurt
or maim
or want to see others killed,
hurt or tortured?
Who does that make those who lie to gain the power to kill
or torture
or destroy?

If you are “God fearing…”
Are you afraid of love,
and being kind?

Someone has lied to us somewhere........
Who was it?

Saturday, August 05, 2006



I wonder how often we experience “the perfect life” – if only briefly – and are totally unaware of the miracle while it is happening. Or, maybe it is just in looking back thru the half closed eyes of time that all seems so perfect. I am not sure. So often we remember scenes from our past, especially periods of time from our childhood as being far more wonderful than they really were – then. Our brains have the wonderful ability to forget so much of the bad stuff and just keep the better moments for us… well, for most of us, anyway. Or maybe those of us who remember horrible childhood experiences just didn’t have that much good to remember.
My memories of childhood are mixed, probably like most folks, some was good, some was bad, most just was. Know what I mean? Many kids who lived in serious poverty were totally unaware of it. They were loved, they were happy. Just as many kids who are born to great wealth just assume that is how life is and do not realize their advantages, if indeed wealth is an advantage and I am not sure it is. I think a bit of, well, maybe not serious poverty, not starvation type poverty, you know, but not having everything you want the moment you want it might be better than growing up in a house that looks like the annex from Toys-R-Us. I think having chores to do and learning responsibility is a good thing – it gives kids a sense of self-worth and an appreciation of life and other people.

I will not use this venue to discuss the miserable part of my early life, the shame of wearing second hand clothes from a cousin who was several years older than I and not at all the same size. To this day I despise green jackets or coats. It must have been Jean’s favorite color. But, I digress. Sigh. My favorite sport. They should have an Olympic event for being able to digress more than anyone else in a 5 minute period… see? I have done it again.
What I really wanted to put on here today are some pictures and a bit about one of the best summers of my life – the summer I spent living with my Aunt Kathryn and her family on Peaks Island in Maine a gazillion years ago. Maybe it was because it was my last summer as a child, my last time being carefree probably forever. I was 10. It was the mid 1950s.
I had been an only child for all of those 10 years. Spoiled, no doubt, by loving grandparents with whom I was blessed to live for the first 9 years. My father was in God-knows-what-country in the early stages of his Foreign Service career when my mother divorced him and moved on with her life which really didn’t include me much. She remarried in ‘52 and, unfortunately, I had to go and live with them. Grandma always said if you can’t say anything nice about somebody, don’t say anything at all. So I won’t even mention my stepfather’s name. All I will say is he was jobless again in ‘54 so we migrated to Maine and more or less moved in with my Aunt Kathryn, her husband, his uncle, and 4 cousins on an island just off the coast of Maine and stayed there until he found a job.
As much as I missed spending the summer with my grandparents back in Pennsylvania, I was excited to be with my cousins. It was almost like having brothers and sisters, I thought, as if I knew what that would really be like. And to this day, I feel closer to these cousins than I do to the people with whom I share a parent’s name on my birth certificate.
And then there was the ocean. For the first time in my life I got to experience the ocean. Waves. Starfish. Seaweed. Sand dollars. The magic kingdoms of tidal pools. Wild strawberries. Wild blackberries. Not wearing shoes for a month or two. The freedom of an island, an island where kids were safe to come and go… well, at least safe from human predators and traffic. There were few cars on the island.
We left the house in the morning and headed out, usually to the beach, a few hundred feet from our door. We never wore shoes, I doubt any of us owned bathing suits. We just jumped in the frigid water in our shorts and shirts and eventually dried off, more or less. We made it look like so much fun! Tourists would see us in and out of the water like sea lion pups and assume they could do the same thing. Ha! You could hear them scream on the other end of the island when their pampered little feet hit the cold water. So we had the water all to ourselves. “A bunch a wild Indians!” they said. Well, yeah, that works. Musta been the braids. Ya think?
Well, the reality is, we were not safe, at least from the danger of the rocks. My “boyfriend” of the summer, David Barren, age 12, was killed diving off the rocks… and hitting his head on one. What is amazing is that none of us ever got hurt as we had no adult supervision once we left the yard. Who could have found us?
We wandered here and there, out on the rocks on the point that was separated from the island at high tide. We dug thru the seaweed to find crabs and starfish. We dried starfish and sand dollars on the birdbath in the backyard stinking up the entire neighborhood. The only time there was water in the birdbath was when it rained.
My cousins and I personally kept our end of the island free from bottles we found where the teenagers had partied the night before. We got 3 - 5¢ per bottle depending on its size. 5¢ in those days bought you a fudgesicle which was more than twice the size of fudgesicles today and ten times as delicious. Once in a while we would stumble on a mother lode of bottles and have a serious snacking day! We were easily pleased.
We walked everywhere we went, almost never on a paved road. We took short cuts thru just about everybody’s yard, as did everyone else. No one seemed to think much about it. There was a playground down near the ferry landing. The path to the playground, the “downtown” area, went thru a field full of wild strawberries. We picked that field clean! They were delicious on our cereal each morning.
There was a big hall back behind the bowling alley (duckpins) where they showed movies on Saturday afternoons. One Saturday we discovered the huge bushes all around the building were filled with the biggest blackberries! Of course, I later discovered they were not all that big, but I hadn’t seen any that big before. So our breakfast got a change from strawberries to blackberries.
We also made money collecting and selling periwinkles, mussels and rock crabs to the tourists. That’s periwinkles the snail, not the plant. Don’tcha love the name Periwinkle? I was going to name Rascal that before we found out he was a Rascal. (I did it again, didn’t it? sigh.) We thought it was the dumbest thing and utterly gross to eat periwinkles or mussels. I still don’t like to eat crab. We will not mention lobster. I am ashamed to admit lobster still makes me drool.
We did lots of things we should not have done and would have surely felt the ping pong paddle if found out. A few years ago I told Aunt Kathryn about exploring the old WWII bunkers and caves on the other side of the island. Her eyes got big. She said, “You didn’t! Why you stinkers! You could have fallen in one of those pits and we never would have found you!” and she went on like that for a moment or two until she realized it was now 40 some years later and we all survived.
I cannot think about the island without thinking about the foghorns at night. How I loved the sound of that foghorn. That is one of my favorite sounds in the world. And we were close enough to the water that we could hear the waves breaking when there was a storm somewhere, though we were not on the seaside of the island. Another favorite sound!
By summer’s end we were brown as we could be with feet as tough as the rocks we ran and climbed over. We climbed over rocks covered with barnacles, edges sharp as razors, and never got a scratch. Our calluses had calluses. My uncle Leigh used to strike matches on the soles of our feet. Tourists just stared at us as if we were little mountain goats happily jumping from one rock to another like no human would ever be able to do. How we ran over those rocky beaches and did not do serious damage to ourselves, I will never know. Tourist kids used to try to keep up with us but it was no contest. They soon gave up and stumbled back to sit on the rocks with their parents whimpering about their now sore feet.
Check the water temps and conditions at As I write this, they have a warning up for boaters to cut their speed because of the many whales swimming thru today. Is that cool or what?????

I often dream of going back to the island… just to have one more night sleeping with the ocean breezes blowing thru the windows bringing the sound of the fog horn, the lapping of the waves on the rocks. Periodically I look at the house rentals on the island. My sister and I often talked about renting a house up there for a month and inviting our cousins to come and spend some time. As I post this, my Aunt Kathryn is on her way back to Maine with one of her children. I am so filled with envy I can hardly see straight. I know I must go back even though everyone tells me how crowded it is, how built up it is, I would not like it anymore, etc, etc, etc. Yeah, I know all that. But it is a pilgrimage type thing, an honoring a moment of time when I was carefree and a kid, my last summer of childhood.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


In response to the email I got about the Poconos, especially the question, “Is this your favorite place on earth?” I honestly must answer, “No.” Quite simply, I don’t know how I would decide what IS my favorite place, and since I have not been to a few places that I just know would fight hard for first place, it seems almost silly to proclaim one place or the other as my favorite. I am sure, if I got to Yosemite, that it would climb up to spot #1, at least while I was there. And then there is Alaska… I never tired of watching the movie on Alaska I used to show my kids each year. I watched it at least 25 times a year, more than that if you consider I had to do it in 2 showings. I MUST go there. Or the canyons out west… so many places, so little money!
Then there is Maine. I feel so lucky to have lived there and got to experience the rocky coast. One of our houses had a balcony off my bedroom from which I could see the snow capped Mt Washington most of the year.

Some people just love the Eastern Shore of Virginia, but, to be honest, I find it flat and boring, but it is home now and I love the memories I have here, even though they make me so sad at times. And I appreciate the lack of snow and no hills to climb. Maybe that is why I find so much pleasure in the plant life around me here. The majesty of the mountains, the music of the rushing water in the streams and waterfalls, the comforting sound of the fog horn at night is not there, so I get to focus on the smaller things, the iris, the azalea, the camellia in bloom, the animals.
I do love the mountains, maybe because I was born in them – the change in seasons, colors that change daily from sunrise to sunset, the surprise around every corner and beyond every hill. So my favorite place would have to have mountains if only the Poconos or the Blue Ridge… but, oh! The Rockies! Denali! The Alps! How about a trip to Nepal? Living in the mountains is like the comfortable nestling between your mother’s breasts – or I imagine it to be. Not that I ever got to do that, but my picture of security would be sitting on my grandmother’s lap, leaning against her ample bosom, knowing that all was right with the world as long as she held me. So I feel that sense of security, though probably false, when I am in the mountains.
“How about cities?” you might ask. I hate cities. Period. The only exception being Istanbul. Istanbul is a world unto itself. There is no place in the world that can even begin to come close. Venice was fascinating, Cairo was interesting, Beirut, years ago, was very beautiful, Izmir is beautiful, and that is the end of my city list. Well, I could list the cities I hate, but what would be the point.
Then, of course, there is the question – why do you love this place or that? Well, some places are just plain beautiful to behold. Some are fascinating, almost magical in their uniqueness. And maybe I just love some places… well… just because. Maybe I was just very happy there and I associate that happiness with the place and that makes it all the more attractive when it would seem quite ordinary to someone else. Maybe it is the way people treat you in a place that makes it special – or horrid.
So I thought I might do a series on some of my favorite places here and abroad. Some are obscure to most people – Peaks Island, for example, or Cappadocia – but to those who have been there, they are very, very special. I will not bother with individual places like the Louvre, for example, but areas. Paris would not be on my list, in spite of the Louvre. I guess I will start close to home, in the USA.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006



This is a story of my little buddy Bob. I am not sure if that is his “real” name or not… I mean, it is not the name on his birth certificate nor is it the name most everyone called him before he was born, but if you ask him what his name is, he will tell you, with no hesitation, “Bob.” Now whether he is Bob the Builder, Bob the Plumber, Bob the yard man, Bob the janitor, Bob the fireman, or just plain old Bob I guess depends on the time of day and the mood he is in.
He is Andrew by birth, which was not even 3 years ago. Yes, that is right, Bob is not quite 3, not until nearly the end of November. Prior to his birth, his name, to many of us, was Harley. Not that they really were going to name him Harley and not that there is anything wrong with the name Harley, but his Dad jokingly said he was going to name his son Harley Davidson because it was the only way he would ever have one. A Harley, that is. So, many of us called his mom’s big tummy Harley.
I took my sister and her husband to Maine in October of 2003 and we visited, among other places, Bar Harbor. There is a little store in Bar Harbor that specializes in Harley, uh…, stuff, including Harley receiving blankets and new born sets. For real! So I bought him a baby outfit that even included a baby sized dew rag with tiny Harley things on it. I must admit, that was funny seeing him in a Harley dew rag! Later I found a pint sized “leather” Harley jacket complete with all the zippers and chains.

I remember his mother saying one time that they were not sure if Andrew would end up being a “Drew” or an “Andy.” Time would tell. Little did she realize at that time he would end up being a “Bob!” But, one day, that is what happened. I am not sure if it was because of his Bob the Builder stuff or because he met so many men named Bob – the plumber, the guy that cuts grass, a mechanic, a fireman – you name it – it seemed every other man was named Bob. So it must have seemed natural to this little two year old that to be a grown up and use all these toy tools and things he had, one must be named Bob. I don’t know. I don’t remember how my mind worked at the ripe old age of 2, so I will not even hazard a guess. Just one day he announced his name was Bob. And he stopped answering to Andrew, well, most the time anyway.

Whoever wrote the first dictionary with the word precocious in it had to have had Bob in mind. Well, yeah, there was Mozart, too, and probably a few others. Personally, I hope Bob is nothing like Mozart, although the world would be a bit emptier if he had never been, but I believe from all I have read that he was not a particularly happy person except in his moments of musical creativity. I hope Bob will be a lot happier than many of the geniuses we know about. One thing in his favor (and he has so many things in his favor) is that he has a sense of humor. Bob has made jokes about things since he turned two! Not just repeated the silly baby level jokes, but he has displayed a true sense of humor! Wit! That’s the word I was looking for – he has wit. It that a correct sentence? I am not sure, but to me wit implies far more than just being kid-silly. It takes thought and comprehension and the ability to play with a subject. It also takes a certain fluency of thought as well as speech. Not gonna find that in a 2 year old little boy, you say? I must admit, it is rare. Plus, boys usually speak later than girls. Boys generally have a harder time verbalizing concepts. No problem there!
Maybe it is because I have been around so many, ummm, slow kids for so long that I am just so impressed with Bob’s conversations. Maybe I just have not seen enough normal kids in the last 20 or 30 years to know one when I see one. After all, the 2 year olds they bring to public school are there because they are so handicapped, most of them have no speech capabilities at all. (We had 3 classrooms of these kids in my old school when I retired, or about 30 kids out of a school of less than 600. Do the math on that one!)
Anyway, Bob is, well, fluent comes to mind. He may not always be grammatically correct, and sometimes his mom has to translate because he speaks so fast and still has a bit of a – umm, I was going to say a 2 year old’s accent, but that would be incorrect, his speaking ability is way beyond a “normal” 2 ½ year old. But he chatters away about things in a way that is probably more comparable to a 5 year old. He has good manners. If he wants to see something or play with something, he asks first. He puts toys away after he is finished playing them, and he offered to cut and weed whack my grass for me. He did a mighty fine job, too, I must say. Unfortunately he is faster than the camera, so the pictures are not that great, but you get the idea. Note the ear protectors! He even picked up some of the deadfall from the storm a couple of nights ago.
Bob likes the cats. But only one of my cats seems to enjoy Bob. No, not Rascal. Rascal was intimidated by Bob’s energy. Hadji hid most of the time. But good old Snuffy came out to see who was visiting (most people NEVER see Snuff) and stayed near by even putting up with a bit of tail tugging - not hard, but Bob had one of the possum puppets and the possum wanted to play with Snuff.
Remember the pictures of Hadji in his cube? Well, now we have one of Bob in the cube. He must be a bit of a contortionist to have gotten in there, but he made it. Good thing his mom is a chiropractor! That even made Rascal come in out of the hall to look at him.

Now it may sound stupid to some folks, but there are many of you who will understand the importance I place on the fact that I used to dream about Bob before he was born. Sounds like an Indian thing, I know, but I had numerous dreams about this little boy back when he was still “Harley!” And I have been interested in every stage of his growing. If you believe in reincarnation, you would guess that we knew each other – before.

In some ways I can hardly wait for Bob to grow up just to see what he is going to be like.