Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dirty Dogs, Messy Kids, and Just Some Men

Living on the lake, our dogs quickly became experts at finding the nastiest dead fish or other species of stinking critter when the children took them on their daily exploration trips. The children finally gave up watching out for dead things because the dog(s) were permanently banned from the house. In all probability, if they could have managed a club house big enough for all three or four or more children, the kids would have been willing to stay outside as well. It wasn’t that they minded taking baths and cleaning up, it was just SO much fun to get totally yucky dirty and come home and rinse off under the water hose. If they got chilled, they all piled in the big tub for a warm bath—clothes and all. Sitting here shaking my head and remembering a room full of kids and towels everywhere.

Over the years the children brought home a couple of ducks that had been wounded and needed attention. Fang wasn’t too appreciative when he came home tired from work and found a duck in the bathtub, but that beat the big fish that he had to kill and clean because Mom didn’t ‘do’ fish. But the day he came home and found Ma Bell in the bathroom just about frosted his flakes. The kids were concerned that someone’s rabbit was loose and the neighbor’s dogs were chasing it. We caught the rabbit, and she dropped her first baby right on the doorstep. Before she was through, she had produced six bunnies and had stripped all the plastic off the telephone cord—thus the name Ma Bell. At least the number of little rabbits was handy—one for each hand for three children.

Our grandchildren visit for a week at a time and always manage to get impossibly dirty—even the little girl. They roast wieners, climb trees, dig in the dirt, and paint anything that isn’t moving. The boys always look for geckos or lizards in the summer time, and little girl wants to paint pretty pictures or decorate things—glue, glitter, polish, shiny things, and tiny beads. But whatever Fang is doing, even if it involves grease and grime, ALL the grandchildren want to be a part of it.

Which brings us to the real kids: men—at least SOME men—just love to get dirty. Just like a pile of dirt is an open invitation to little boys, something with a motor and a little grease calls to some men like the sirens of the fabled seas. Anything that requires a big shiny wrench or one of those things that says ‘impact’ has an irresistible lure to it. A few hundred pounds of torque means something to some men. And if the tool can make a humongous amount of noise, so much the better.

Fang took a course under Dr. Phil Plubell and learned how to take apart and put together a computer. In fact, he even built a new computer for me. Now he is working on a laptop and a remote system that is way beyond my understanding of computers. But when the weather is pretty, the grass will begin to grow and give him an excuse to go outside and play with his big tractor. He will dig a few holes, topple a tree or two, and spread an acre of gravel or two. Then he will have to ‘service’ the tractor. That means he gets to get greasy, grungy dirty, and as happy as a man can get. And frankly, that must be the best kind of man because those boys grew up to be good men, and they are just like him.

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