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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Stray socks

Fir branch done up to look like a tree.

Oldest granddaughter was here for a week.

I set up my tent, a pop-up model that has been with me to the wilderness many times, in my bedroom and we camped out on a mattress that stuck out of the tent door like a gian't tongue. Camping is what she likes to do when here, but with the torrential rains on most days of the visit, and the clod clammy conditions generally, indoor camping was indicated and it was a roaring success.

Most of the time we did pretty well together, though I think she's being raised in a culture of -- well, not as much respect for adults as we're comfortable with.

I think the purpose of respect, when it hierarchizes age, is safety. You want to be able to tell a small child to stop -- and they stop -- and the truck, or whatever is coming down the street, doesn't run over them. That kind of command-driven safety is lacking sometimes, with the result that we are very tired grandparents after these visits. The kid does try, but she's got years of helter-skelter behind her already. It's not easy for her, or us.

That said, the old lady (me) and the young lady (she) went up to the park by the boat basin and had a pretty good day. At her suggestion, we went fishing, and she hauled in an undersized kokanee, which we carefully released after a bit of a petting session. Then we moved up to the playground, where she practiced on the monkey bars for a while, and then discovered some sprouted acorns.

The acorns were a big hit. She dug holes all over the park, and basically planted a forest. We also collected mistletoe, lichens, and moss, which had come down in the big storm, and brought these home to add to the greenery on the mantel. A few extra critters appear to have been added to the menagerie -- mostly small tree spiders -- but the effect is quite cheering.

A particulary rewarding aspect to this visit is that Granddaughter has become a very good audience since the last time she was here. We went through the Sendak-illustrated Nutcracker that has Hoffman's entire, weird, but worthwhile story, with all the chapters that are missing from the ballet and the board books. Beloved would read a chapter, then later in the day I would, and when Granddaughter knew we had had come to the chapter called "Conclusion," she placed a bookmark in it and saved it for the morning of her departure. As Beloved rounded up Granddaughter's things to drive her back to the Big City to the North, we came at last to Marie's wedding to the Prince, and were all three quite emotionally affected.

After they left, I cleaned house, and kept finding stray socks and toy people, and such. I didn't realize I so much missed having children in the house.


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