Notes from the Bird House – A Little Gem

Last week I introduced you to my dogs Mutt and Jeff. This week I want to introduce you to two of my favorite grandboys. Gk1, aka Superman, was 7 years old at the time of this story. Then there is GK2, aka T-R-O-U-B-L-E, and he was 6 years old. The setting is one of the hottest days on record in Memphis, TN…

While in Memphis last year, my daughter and I were taking care of family and grandkids. We needed to get out of the house for a while and decided to take the grandboys to a children’s concert in the park. It was around 6:00 pm, 96% humidity, sun beating down with flies everywhere, and around 97 degrees, which was on the downward hill from 103.

The concert was held at an open air stage. It was in the shape of a shell that had been around since before I was born. I saw my first play there. It was Peter Pan and he could FLY. I fell in love with the stage at age 5. Everything about the theater was the same except they removed the benches to make room for family blankets. David Chicken was the entertainment for the evening. At the far right, there was a huge blow up 35ft.slide for the kids to play on. A popsicle man was on the opposite corner at the entrance. As we arrived, David Chicken was already into the first song and all the kids that were just getting there were begging, wait I mean, pleading for popsicles, mine too. A resounding no was heard over and over again, my answer as well. After the fiasco with the Gameboy games, this is a story for next week, I was determined to not fall for that big, teary eyed, lip-out stuff again. We had our water and that was all we needed. Besides, I didn’t want to encourage all the flies to visit us. As we claimed our spot under a tree, I noticed that the popsicle man never stopped smiling. It was kind of like an all knowing smile and a continuous wave to every parent and child that walked in. It sort of, made me feel a little creepy.

The kids quickly got bored of just sitting there so I let them run around the blanket a bit. It wasn’t long before they spied the slide which was IN FULL SUN. And so started the begging. I walked over to the slide with them. I was baking! I hate to sweat. They, on the other hand, were having the time of their lives. I watched them run to the top. It looked hot so I reached over to touch the plastic. The heat was so intense that I thought my nails were going to melt off, and my nails are not fake! After a couple of turns down the slide, I looked up in the sea of kids to find mine all red faced, sweaty and grins from ear to ear. I gave them 4 turns each, then back to the blanket for water and a cool down. They were great. They did just as I asked them to do without anymore whining. I remember thinking this is going to turn out to be a great evening after all. We watched Mr. Chicken call kids from the audience to help him with the songs. I told the GKs to go up there. I would watch them from the blanket. “NO!”, they replied in unison. They said it was way too scary to get on stage. So, after a drenching of water bottle water to cool them down and get the swarming flies away, they were ready for some more of that slide. I agreed, but I told them I would watch them from the blanket. Their behavior was unbelievably great. So, what if there were hundreds of people there and the slide was on the other side of the stage. My gbabes were angles and would not get into mischief plus I have an eagle’s eye when it comes to kids. Especially my grandbabies. (Famous last words….)

I was watching them and looking at the popsicle truck with a wishful eye. Dang, I should have gotten some of that Italian Ice. I could just taste its lemony cold goodness. Daughter was eying it as well. Then I noticed several parents sitting both far and near looking at the truck too. Every once in a while, I would catch someone’s eye. I believe we were all thinking the same thing. And we all, at least all us parents that refused to buy into the popsicle thing, had that self defeated look on our faces. I started watching the boys again. What had started out as two timid little boys in a sea of both large and small bodies, had turned into two raging high flying lunatics! GK1 tried to jump down the length of that 35 ft slide. With one huge thrust he jumped as far as he could and made it over half way down. It scared me to death. My shy little, little never-speak-unless-spoken-to, sits in one spot most of the time, never gives me problems, angel of a grandson was trying with all his might to kill himself in an attempt to concur that slide with one jump. Next, GK2 is at the top and before I can get my eyes focused on what was about to happen, he flung his little 38 pound body off the top in a frigin’ swan dive and was headed for the outer rim of the slide. I could see on his face that he knew he had made a fatal error. My baby’s little eyes were so wide I thought they were going to fall right out of their sockets! His mouth was in terror mode! I could not believe what I saw next. This kid was attempting to pull one of those moves right out of the roadrunner cartoon. His little legs are trying to slam on the brakes in MID AIR. I was up off that blanket so fast it never even registered that I was running my butt off to get to him before he hit the ground. Too late, as I get about a quarter of the way there he pops up behind the corner safety wall, safe and sound, and then runs to the top to do it all over again! I turned around and almost crawled back to the blanket. My legs were jelly. I was covered in sweat and my nerves were shot! And there sat that popsicle man with a smile and a wave directed right toward me. Hummmm… It slowly dawned on me that he knew all along we would be back. This is what that big ‘ole grin was all about. I finally make it back to the blanket and start to watch the kids again. GK1 is making a last ditch effort to get to the bottom with a single jump, but alas, his brave attempt fails. He heads back up with a look of determination on his face. I waited for GK2 but he never came down. I waited a little longer. Here came GK1 again and no GK2. OMG!! Where was he?? I ran across the field as fast as I could, pushing people out of my way, running wildly and screaming his name. I can’t find him. I CAN’T FIND HIM!! I called for his aunt and his brother to help me. I am losing my mind, and everyone else thought so, too. I felt the blood leave my body. I am in full panic mode. FULL PANIC MODE! I am thinking I need to run up to the stage and jerk that microphone out of that dang Chicken’s hand and announce an Amber alert! I am so, so, so scared…

As I’m running toward David Chicken and all the little ones on stage, who do I see? None other than GK2 singing his heart out and doing the bounce dance right along side of Mr. Chicken and his crew of little people. I just about cried. Heck, I did cry! I stopped in my tracks half infuriated and half proud of his triumph over his fear. He made it back to the blanket before I did. I could see his ego swelling by the minute. “Did you see me MoMo? Did you see me?” (All of my GKs call me MoMo.) “Did you see me?” he kept asking. “I was brave right, right MoMo? Yes, I was really brave.”, he said. I hugged him tight. According to him a little too tight. All I could think was, I NEED AN ITALIAN ICE RIGHT NOW. To be honest, what I really needed was a stiff drink. Popsicle Man here we come.

The last song of the night was winding up, and every parent there was now eying that popsicle truck. I told the kids if they really hurried, we could “now” get an ice, as if it were my plan all along. We hurriedly gathered our things and ran to get in line BEHIND 40 other families. They were faster than we were, but I was not leaving without my Italian Ice. Twelve dollars, a few dozen flies and 4 Ices later we were in the car heading home. This is when the GKs start passing their Ices to the front. “We’re finished,” they say together. I was thinking they gobbled that down fast. I looked at the cups coming forward. I see that one bite is gone. ONE TINY BITE. Next time I will stick to my guns even if it kills me.

Now here is the part that made me think this would be a good story for the store:

On our way back to the apartment, I start seeing little zip lock baggies tied to door knobs and hanging off windows. From the car, it looked like water inside of them. I had never seen anything like that before. Almost every home and business had bags hanging from them. Once home, I asked my son if he had any idea what was going on. He tells me there’s a tale which states if you fill clear plastic bags with water and hang from any area flies enter through, it will prevent them from getting inside the house. Something about the water disorients them. To be honest, I have no idea how that works. I tried it but I couldn’t really tell the difference. When we returned home, I found a heavy fly problem here, as well. It did not take long to find a product that worked so much better. It’s an insect catcher. One of the best things I have ever used. Not only will it get flies, it’ll trap wasp, ants and bees as well. you fill it with sugar water from the top. They enter through a hole at the bottom of the jar and can’t figure out how to get back out. So much prettier than a zip lock full of water, and this little gem works. Come on in to The Bird House and check them out soon. They go fast so don’t wait long.

Until next time,