Calvin, Julie and their three boys came home for a whirlwind visit this weekend. We were excited because we hadn’t seen them since Christmas. Calvin had warned me about the boys’ shaggy hair, so I wasn’t surprised when they came in.
When Trey, the oldest of the three, was a toddler, he hated haircuts and screamed every time we took him to the barber shop. Finally, I took desperate measures; I bribed him.
“Trey,” I told him, “if you be good and let the nice lady cut your hair, we’ll go by the Dairy Queen and get any kind of milkshake you want after we finish.”
It worked. Nine years and two brothers later, it still works. Last week when Calvin broke out the clippers to trim their hair, Will said, “Dad, you’re going to spoil our milkshake tradition if you cut our hair. We want to wait till we get to Grandma’s house.”
So when they came in shaggy, I wasn’t surprised. I was surprised at how much they’d grown. It seemed like several inches. I promised them that Saturday morning they’d be at the barbershop and then the DQ. However, Grandma had a funeral to attend so Mom and Dad would have to substitute for me. Reluctantly, they agreed. That was far better than no milkshake at all. I made sure everyone was fed and that Mom and Dad were ready by the time I left the house. And then disaster struck!
The children were loaded in the Durango and Julie sat in the passenger seat as Calvin turned the key in the ignition. It cranked right up and they set off. He took the less-used driveway and cut across the front yard. I guess he didn’t realize that we’ve been in the monsoon season here in Pine Grove lately because the vehicle sank down into the mud right up to the axles. Before anyone could stop them, the boys were out to check out the situation. Boys and mud, mud and boys—what can I say? A match prepared in the ancient sludge?
Julie corralled her brood before they got too muddy, loaded them in another vehicle, and headed for the barbershop. Calvin enlisted Larry’s help to rescue the Durango.
“I got the tractor out and we still had to work for an hour to pull it out. It was really deep,” Larry told me later. “For a while there, I thought we’d lose the tractor in there, too.
They tell me that all’s well that ends well. The boys got their milkshakes and their hair cuts, Calvin and Larry rescued the muddy vehicle, and I drove up just in time to hear the finished story. And yet the day was far from done.
I put together a quick lunch—sausage, cabbage, macaroni and cheese, and hot cornbread. After everyone had eaten and the kitchen was cleaned, I sat in my rocking chair, certain that I’d earned a few minutes there. Trey was in the living room in the recliner, reading a book, but I didn’t see or hear Jakey or Will.
“Trey, where are your brothers?” I called.
“I don’t know, Grandma,” he replied.
I checked the house to no avail and then went outside. Creatures from the black lagoon greeted me as they romped and frolicked in the mud hole left by the Durango’s misadventure.
“Boys, get out of that mud right this minute and come to the back deck. It is not summer time yet,” I scolded.
They came immediately. Probably they were a bit chilly.
“Can we play in the pool?” Will asked.
“Maybe when you come next time it’ll be warm enough, but today the weather is still too cold,” I told him.
I removed as much mud from them as I could on the back deck and then brought them straight to my big bath tub and a cozy warm bath.
“Grandma,” Jakey told me, “I really hate baths. I don’t see any sense in them. I just get dirty again. They’re teaching us at school how we’re supposed to save all the water that we can and I’m trying to help do that.”
When the Durango pulled out of the driveway this afternoon, I could still see just a bit of mud inside the fender well, in spite of Julie’s best efforts.