Okay...I got hit by the writing bug again this week. This doesn't happen to me too often, so I try to capture it while it's there. This is a little fictional story inspired by true events this past Saturday. Thanks for indulging me! Andi ***** This past weekend Neil and I got to spend some quality time with his only nephews. Cooper is 10 and Cade is 7. They live in Hico Texas, population 1,253. Small town with no stoplights and only one little IGA grocery on the main strip. It's a small town where everyone knows everyone. The annual Billy The Kid Day is the big event of the year. Many townfolk meet at the local Koffee Kup on Saturday morning to catch the latest gossip about who is having an affair with whom or who won the latest 4H turkey-calling contest. Although everyone is nosy and gossipy, any one of the town residents would give their left arm to help their neighbor in need. A tiny Southern USA town you'd imagine in a Norman Rockwell painting. Cooper and Cade were born in Hico and have lived there all their short little lives. Their mom is THE fifth grade school teacher and their Dad works at a local oil drilling company. They live on a small farm with horses, cattle, goats and countless barn cats and hunting dogs. I've never seen the boys in anything but blue jeans, t-shirts, Justin Ropers, and their silver rodeo belt buckles. Yes, the ones they've won at rodeo roping contests. They are little miniature cowboys with lots of promise in the rodeo ring and future girlfriends. Cade won first in county in the calf-roping contest just last spring. Cooper isn't quite as accomplished even though he's older and more experienced. But he enjoys racing horses more than anything. They are cute as buttons with freckles, cowlicks, and sparkly ornery eyes that ALWAYS look like they're up to something. That's because most of the time they are. They are boys through and through! Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails...just like the old poem. This past Saturday we took them to Six Flags for their summer "treat". They were really coming prepared for the water rides so they both wore t-shirts and their bathing suit trunks and tennis shoes. We rode rides all day, ate hot dogs for lunch, funnel cake for dessert and countless bottles of water and Lemon Chills because it was 103 degrees out that day. (It was miserably HOT!) Some of the rides were too scary, but this was the first year they were both tall enough to ride the Big rides, so we coddled them through the long waiting lines. Not once did they bail out although you could see a little fear in their eyes. Actually more often than not, they screamed their heads off during the ride and at the end breathlessly said, "Let's go again!" So for 8 hours straight, Neil and I endured rampant rollercoasters, little boy chatter, little boy body sounds, and a million questions about how scary the next ride was. We exchanged dozens of private glances that day, either full of confusion or trying to hide laughter. We realized more than ever that we're NOT ready for our own children! Being an aunt and uncle was fine, but man...our own kids? No thanks! At the end of the amazingly fun day we told the boys they could have ONE souvenir to take home with them. I'm imagining stuffed animals or maybe a cool t-shirt. We said they could spend $10 a piece to get whatever they want. So we begin browsing the little shops, giving advice on what might be fun to purchase. After almost 45 minutes of browsing, Cooper decides on his souvenir. Was it a stuffed animal? No, those are for girls. Was it a t-shirt? Nah, got plenty of those. It was a silver-plated scorpion pendant that was about 2 x 3 inches and a matching chain. (Something like a cheap rap gangsta would wear.) I am mortified and confused at the same time. He says he "has to have it!" I said "Coop, you don't even wear jewelry. What makes you want that?" Because "it's cool" he says. So I look at Neil who is trying to contain a giggle with a shrug and walks away from me! I can see he will be no help whatsoever. Cooper tugs on my shirt and says, "Andi you promised us ANYTHING we wanted under $10." I'm beginning to realize how his mother is going to KILL me when she finds this out. But to a 10-year old a promise really is a promise. So I begrudgingly nod and say okay. He takes his $10 bill and hits the cashier counter with the biggest grin I've ever seen. In the meantime, here comes little Cade. He's always trying to be just like his bigger brother in so many ways so I'm REALLY nervous. "Cade, please don't tell me you've chosen a scorpion pendant too." He giggles as he hides something behind his back. Cade has a slight lisp, so a lot of his words run together like Porky Pig. "No Andi, I didn't get a thscorpion pendant." What did you get? I'm thinking to myself, he's younger, he has a few more childish interests. Again, I'm picturing a stuffed animal. But no. Cade pulls out from behind his back a silver plated cobra pendant that's even bigger than Cooper's scorpion pendant. My breath catches. Oh my goodness, their mother is REALLY going to kill me! I begin to imagine my funeral with women in black hats and black dresses weeping into embroidered handkerchiefs and the men with dour faces patting their wives consolingly on the back. Neil as always would be standing silent and tall, tears in the corners of his eyes. But Cooper and Cade would be proudly wearing their gangsta pendants with their tightly creased Wrangler jeans, Justin Ropers and straw cowboy hats. My little nightmare is interrupted with another tug on my shirt, "Aunt Andi, you pwoooom - isssethdd!" I think there was even a little foot-stamping. My word, what have I gotten into? I could see Neil standing outside in the sun with Cooper, both of them examining the shining silver-plated Scorpion. He was too far away to call to. I realized I was going to have to handle this all by myself. How can I let Cooper get his desire and not let Cade? Could there be any major damage to his little psyche if I broke this one promise? Oh brother. What to do? What to do? "Andi?" Again the tug. "May I pwease have this cobwa neckwace?" I looked down at him. His face serious, his blue eyes piercing and focused. He was trying to hard to be polite and grown-up. "Pwease?" Good grief this was hard. How could a little 40 lb kid be so darn cute AND obnoxious at the same time? I smiled and nodded. "Yes, Cade. You can have whatever you want under $10, remember? A promise is a promise. Remember that." His face brightened with a smile and he throws his arms around my waist. "Aunt Andi, you are so cool!" And off he runs to the cashier's counter. I breathe a sigh of relief. Or maybe it was a sigh of defeat, I can't really remember. Yes, his mother is going to kill us for letting her little boys get those. But I'll worry about that when we drop them off. We've just had a fantastic day with two little boys that won't be 7 and 10 forever. I've taught by example how to keep a promise even when it's hard. Besides, this will be great bribery ammunition when they get their first girlfriend in high school, right? Right. Cade and I walk out of the storefront into the bright sun to meet Neil and Cooper. Neil smiles, grabs my hand and kisses me on the forehead. As we walk away we watch the two little boys compare their wares, chattering excitedly about wearing them to church the next day. Did he say church? Neil and I steal silent giggles. Oh yes - it's great to be an aunt and uncle! Positively great!
A Summer Saturday afternoon...
*LOL* Andi....that was a great story...thanks for typing it up for us. Boys will be boys, even if they do have to go to church or the KH. They might not be wearing it to church, but you can bet dam well it will be in a pocket or a book bag...*LOL* How do you think kids keep their sanity?..I remember when I was about twelve and I had secretly been playing Dungeons & Dragons. Well, I looked all over to find D&D stuff and lo and behold!!!! There was a Lone Star Comics right around the corner of the old Circuit Assembly hall in Arlington! Oh my lord! Saved at last! I snuck off during lunch time and went there....it was like being in wonderland I tell you....no parents, no judging, just the comic guy behind the counter and me in my best dubbie clothes...The first time I went back to the assembly firm in the knowledge that I had toys...something...anything just waiting for me. I bought several robots from japanese animation and the rest is history.....ah the memories. I also looked forward to going to the CAs...*LOL* Especially after they cancelled the fresh made donuts...ehe...Have a good evening and give my regards to the mozz...
Really cool story, Andi!
Hico sounds like a place where I'd fit right in... so long as I had my laptop and a phone line. I hope you know that you done went and created a memory those boys will carry with them their whole life -- the day that Aunt Andi and Uncle Neil went on an adventure to Six Flags!! The thought of it brings a lump to my throat, it does...
Thanks for sharing this, Andi. You're a great aunt. Nice writing, too. :-)
tj ~ who's having a hard time figurin' what's wrong with a 2 x 3 inch silver-plated scorpion pendant and matching chain. I thought ever-body had one
Ha, ha. Just be glad they didn't buy a giant plastic sword or knife. Nice story and good writing.
Great story Andi! Okay, Lesson #1 about kids: Never use the word "anything" as it applies to purchases. It can, and will, be used against you in a court of law. However, that's also the great thing about being an aunt and uncle, you can do things like that and get away with them. That's what you're there for!
There was a Lone Star Comics right around the corner of the old Circuit Assembly hall in Arlington!
Hey! I remember that. You're right, it was just down the next block. You're far smarter than me Valis, I was never allowed to skip out during lunch.
Big T...I always did a lot of work during the conventions, so I got overlooked by my parents....they knew I was doing something good....*LOL*....The first time I did it was such an adventure....all by myself, because the guy who eventually left the same time I did was too chicken to leave the building...eventually I also ventured to the Army Navy Store which was in the opposite direction on the street nearest the hall.
Oh and BG...every young man has the right to be a bad as in his own mind....it just works that way...*LOL*...We just get to laugh and let them enjoy a brief moment...you and the mozz are so good for taking them and letting them have a great time. I miss you both and love you too.
The old assembly hall in Arlington - I used to go watch movies there when I was a kid before they made it an Assembly Hall. Am I dating myself or what?
My parents used to take me there on Halloween night to get out of the house.
I never skipped out either, too many roving eyes in my family to do that!
Hey I worked during the assembly too, I was just stupid enough to do it around people who would have noticed me skipping out!
Man I would have loved going to Lone Star during lunch. I was a huge comic book collector back then and I could have had some fun. D&D came along after me though.
Remember the mold on the walls and that moldy smell throughout the whole theater? I remember the first assembly there after the Society bought it and the place was a major dump. There was this old ratty brown carpet, and they still had the concessions stand up just as you walked in. I don't think they built that addition (the lunch room area) until a year or two after they bought it.
But I will say this, it was a much easier place to get to than the one in Denton.
Johnny High bought that old assembly hall (movie theater) and it's now a showcase for country music. Best known alum from Johnny High's Country Music Revue - Lee Ann Rimes.
Great story Andi!