Saturday, January 26, 2008


I have a great niece that I've never met named Gracie. Her grandmother, my sister Maeva, often sends me pictures and stories about Gracie and her brothers. The photos make me smile and Gracie's many adventures make me laugh.

Gracie can’t read or write so she draws pictures. Last week, Gracie visited her grandmother at the office. As Maeva described it, "Gracie asked me if I know how to make cookies. I said kinda. She asked if I wanted her to write down the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Attached is what she gave me. The large circle is dough, the 4 small circles are eggs and the 3 others are chocolate kisses."

Gracie's birthday was last week. She looked forward to the big day and kept everyone amused with her comments. Right before the big event, she stepped on a toy and went splat on the floor hitting her forehead on the doorjamb as she fell. The first thing she said was that it was going to ruin her 5 year old pictures.

Then, the night before when her mommy put her to bed, Gracie hollered, "Wait! You need to get a picture of me because this is the last time you will see me 4." Her amused mother thought that made sense and photographed the little darling holding up 4 fingers.

The next morning, Gracie woke shouting for her mom to hurry and take her picture because she was now 5. Then, she ran down the hall calling for her mother to bring a pencil so she could be measured and see how much she had grown overnight. Luckily, it had been 6 months and she had grown 3 ½ inches. She seemed very proud of this achievement and told her mother that now she could reach her toothbrush without the stool because she grew 3 ½ inches during night.

That's not all of Gracie's birthday saga, though. At her party that evening, Maeva said something to her rambunctious granddaughter about growing 3 1/2 inches overnight -- and Gracie started laughing. Seems that when her dad got home, he measured her again because it seemed like such a lot of growth in 6 months. Turns out, the mark was only 2 inches over her head. She started giggling and told her dad that she tricked her momma by standing on her tiptoes while being measured.

Don't ya jes love 5 year old humor?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Quarter's Worth of Fun

My son Nate recently married a beautiful young woman named Nora. Aside from being warm and loving, she makes me laugh – a lot.

Here’s an example of why.

I was just checking into the Holiday Inn Express in Elizabeth, NC when Nora text messaged me on my phone. “Did you find my coat?”

Me: “What coat?”

Nora: “My coat that Nate left in NC.”

Me: “Where did he leave it?”

Nora: “Dunno. Airport?”

I sat down on the bed and had a good laugh before I picked up my phone to text back.

Me: “Tell you what. I'll look for coat in NC if you find my quarter that I dropped in LA in 1965.”

Nora: “What's it look like?”

Me: “Round. Silver. Has pic of GW. circa 1964.”

Nora: “I'm going to Hollywood tonight. I'll look.”

Me: “Cool. I'll look for coat. What’s it look like?”

Nora: “Black.”

Me: “Sounds nice. When I find coat I might like it and want to keep it.”

Nora: “I might want a gumball.”

“What are you doing?” Johnny mumbled in his sleep.

“Texting with Nora.”

“Do it quieter.”

“Right.” I laid my phone down on the nightstand, turned out the lights and rolled over.

The next morning, I checked my messages before brushing my teeth. There was a picture message from Nora. I slipped into my clothes while I waited for it to load.

“Is this it?” She texted.

I squinted at a reddish photo of a star on the star walk. Something shiny and round lay in the center of it. It was unclear if it was a quarter or a beer bottle lid. I scrolled down.

“Guess not,” she added. “I’ll keep looking.”

“What’s wrong with you?” Johnny asked as he pulled on his socks.

I showed him the exchange of messages.

“I guess we need to look for coats while we are here,” he said.

Hours later, I sent Nora a picture of a boat in someone's drive way. “Is this it?”

Nora: “COAT not boat.”

Still later, I send her picture of a goat. Johnny and I snickered together before going to dinner with friends.

Weeks later, I received a text message from Nora with a picture of a quarter of undetermined vintage. “FOUND IT!”

Me. “Cool. I can’t wait to see it again. It’s been lost a long time.”

Recently, Nora sent me a package. Inside was a bright shiny new quarter circa 1964, silver with picture of GW.

I knew Nora was at work, but I couldn’t wait. I texted her. “Got my favorite quarter in mail.”

Nora: “Good. Was about to bust from secretkeeping.”

Me: “Where did you get it?”

Nora: “Bought from magnet man.”

Me: “Magnet man?”

Nora: “Man walking around town with magnets stuck to his head.”

Me: “Ah.” The next time I’m in Los Angeles I’ll request a personal meeting with magnet man. There’s bound to be a shriek there, if you know what I mean.

Nora: “He said to hold it by edges.”

Me: “Magnet man?”

Nora. “Yeah, he special ordered it.”

I bought a silver bezel to hold my shiny 1964 silver quarter that I dropped in LA in 1965 -- that showed up at my door in 2007 courtesy of my darling daughter-in-law Nora. I wear it on a silver chain around my neck. What a great keepsake.

I'm still looking for Nora’s coat that Nate left in North Carolina. My friend Larry Wikoff is keeping an eye out in case it shows up in Raleigh. My other friend Lloyd King offered to look for it in Lafayette, Louisiana too. I’ve got Pennsylvania covered, but if anyone happens to see a stray black coat please contact me. It gets cold in Los Angeles, you know.
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