Friday, August 1, 2008

Holy Smoke!

The kids are at my parents' place this week. I took them there on Sunday so they'd be cared for, fed and entertained during my last seven-day workweek before school begins.

Though there are not dogs, ducks or horses on the five acres that my folks call home, there are three shy cats, tree frogs and cucumbers. Audrey had no cause for concern as I left for KC on Sunday because Gramma & Papa's garden boasts a couple of plants that produce enough cucumbers to satisfy Audrey and maybe even a couple other people per day. She's been harvesting them regularly.

Once my kids are out of the city limits, they always have high expectations for pyrotechnics. So after they washed Papa's car (that's definitely what I'm looking for in a visit to the grandparents' -- manual labor), they were entertained with smoke balls, bottle rockets and a fountain or two. At least Dad is in his electric wheelchair when he lights things on fire. Sure, he's got a big flammable battery attached to his butt, but he can also make a quicker retreat if he drops a firecracker where he shouldn't.

I know they went swimming at a nearby pool. A big water slide kept Emily and Isaac going round and round and up and down for hours. Mom didn't understand why they didn't collapse of exhaustion. And Audrey kept Mom at a tight tether at the pool until she made a little friend -- a specialty of hers in almost any public setting.

But my biggest concern of the week is what they did last night. . .Vacation Bible School. I believe there are only three days of activities, and I have yet to speak to the kids or my parents after their first evening of playful indoctrination, but I do wonder what kind of detox I'll have to do next week. Most of you know that I fall fairly left-of-center when it comes to religion and spirituality. A big fan of being a good person for the sake of being a good person, I don't think scaring the hell into a kid is a great way to instill a sense of personal responsibility. Hopefully they'll return with a paper mache boat, a plaster of paris hand print and few Bible stories that will serve as cultural references. And no requests to attend that weekly festival of judgement and hypocrisy that was the cornerstone of my childhood.

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