Friday, February 17, 2006

Making a Difference

An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. "Why do you bother?" the old man scoffed. "You're not saving enough to make a difference." The young main picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said. You make a difference every day.

Author unknown

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Main Street

The boys

As young kids, Nick, Dan and Jon could have brought any Mom to her knees. I guess I am not just any Mom because I thought they were hysterical. All of them were not your typical boys…. That would have been easy. These boys were out to relieve boredom. Now normally that is not a problem, but with three “too smart for their own good” boys, it was a problem.

Summertime was especially challenging. I never knew what would happen next. One day I opened the door only to be squirted with a super soaker that was attached to the handle of the door. That was installed after the water balloon drop over the door failed. Another time, I found them in the backyard tossing those Styrofoam peanuts out of a box I had left in the garage. It looked like it had snowed in July.

I learned to check on them often and keep them BUSY. Keeping them busy was fun but it sometimes backfired. They enjoyed doing some science experiments including mixing baking soda and vinegar in a bottle and putting a balloon over the top of the bottle. The gases that would form from the concoction would inflate the balloon. When they were older they found that dry ice in a plastic bottle would do the same thing but in a more dramatic style. (I heard a boom and saw a plastic bottle sail across the lawn.)

On a hot summer day I found the backyard grass completely covered in plastic, 3 sprinklers running and the boys sliding happily across the yard. Who needs a Slip-n-Slide? Another time Nick and Jon were sitting on the patio relaxing in some lawn chairs, in front of them was a long string. One end of the string was attached to the birdhouse. The other end was lying in front of them smoldering. I had to ask, “What are you doing?” They answered, “Blowing up the birdhouse”. “Well, let me know how that works out for you?” I asked, as I walked away shaking my head knowing full well that they were only doing that to make me crazy. Even if the string burnt long enough to reach the birdhouse, there were no explosives in it. (Or was there?)

Now days, I don’t jump when someone tries to scare me. I have, maybe they have conditioned me to not react. My neighbors haven’t been very understanding. Dan is a drummer who loves to practice. He played every chance he could until he drove everyone but me crazy. I didn’t mind because it kept him busy and I knew where he was. Since his bedroom was over the neighbor’s driveway, he drove them nuts. Their house went up for sale and they moved a year later.

All three boys are adults now. They have wonderful friends, jobs they love and never lost their sense of humor. I am sure they will all make great parents if they ever decide to do that.
By the way, although it sounds like all three boys are my sons, they aren’t. Jon is a friend since kindergarten and just seems like one of the family.