Monday, June 15, 2009
My Son's Birthday Party Turns Into Public Service... (Summer Visitation 2009)
Photo By John Hoff, above, contributed photo, below
Some friends of mine in NoMi threw a little birthday party for my son, Alex, on the first day of our extended summer visitation. We also watched Game Seven of the Stanley Cup. Since we were cheering for the Red Wings, I guess the birthday party was the more successful aspect of the party.
Sitting around a bonfire in the backyard, messing around with some of Connie Nompelis' hula hoops (she's obsessed with hula hoops) Connie mentioned how there was a hoop stuck in a tree right in front of her house. How did it get there? Well, it wasn't exactly a long story: in an act of neighborly kindness she'd given some hula hoops to some down-and-out kids in the neighborhood, but in no time at all the hoops were trashed and one hoop was in Connie's own tree right in front of her house, where it had remained for quite a while.
My son asserted he could get the hoop down with a long branch.
"Go do it," I told him, remaining comfortably seated by the bonfire. "Bring me back a war trophy."
My son came back a while later and told me...
...the branch wasn't quite long enough to reach the hoop. So I went outside to help. Well, "not long enough" was an understatement. I stood on top of a trash can to get closer, with my son holding the trash can steady. I switched the branch for a rake. The rake could just barely touch the hoop, but the thin metal tines weren't sturdy enough to pull down the object down.
"Run and get that sharp metal hoe in the back yard," I told my son, and he dashed off to get the implement, completely "mission oriented." I see my own personality in him at moments like this. Given a job, he will do it to death. Even casual suggestions can turn into jobs which must be "done to death."
Taking the sharp hoe in hand, I pointed out to my son that we must be REALLY CAREFUL.
"Doesn't this look like something that would love to accidentally end up in a person's chest?" I said, running my thumb over the sharp edge of the hoe before getting on top of the garbage can, once again.
In a short time, the unsightly broken hoop came down, and Connie posed with my son and the urban revitalization "war trophy."