Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grouchy Rainy Cheer

Friday night. Long week is over. Abe asked me to pull down the green mail truck, which I keep out of his reach most of the time. It's got some delicate parts that little fingers could easily break. He pulls out all the little cotton-filled sacks of mail from the back and puts them in the canoe with Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. He also pulls out all the old stamps my friend's father had cut out from magazines and asks who each person is: Walt Whitman, Samuel L. Clemens, and Washington Irving, the writers. Then another group: Douglas MacArthur and another with a group of U.S. navy men who Abe called, "the bloody red barons." Another stamp with the White House, where Obama lives. Another stamp is Lewis and Clark worth 3 cents. The last is Stephen Foster, so we sing "Camptown Races." We used to sing that when he was little, but he'd forgotten.

Lewis and Clark deliver the mail. A group of playmobil plastic people squeeze into the back of the mail truck while one solitary brunette plastic lady drives them around. Ted sings this song, the explanation for Abe's fixation on the "bloody red baron." Abe listens to this song over and over, never ever getting tired of it, the exact same way Ted did as a boy. This was Friday night.

Saturday it's pouring down rain. It drizzles a lot this time of year but yesterday was all day pouri
ng. Determined not to sit inside all day, we go out. By the time we arrive to the historic fire station, we're drenched. Abe makes a friend in the line, and after half an hour, we arrive to the front. One firefighter leans down and says, "What is your name?" Completely deadpan and confident, Abe says, "Charlie Brown." I didn't interject.

Charlie Brown wants me to go with him to see Firefighter Santa.

"What do you want for Christmas, Charlie Brown?"

"Just a yo-yo."

"Do you want a pony or an elephant?"

"No, just a yo-yo." Charlie Brown over and out.

More rain. We look for a biscuit from this place but it's packed to overflowing with hipsters in chunky black glasses and knit caps. We walk on the long way to the car. Why not? We're soaked already.

We end up eating peppermint shakes and fries at the table next to a Woody Allen look-a-like and his young girlfriend. They are snuggling and talking in hushed tones. Abe is that obnoxious kid who keeps saying, "Hey guys! What are you talking about?"

We try to get back in the car in the pouring rain in an awkward and cramped parking lot. Abe moves from the spot I told him to stand and falls in mud when I open the door. I snap at him, one of those loving, motherly "I told you so!"s. We drive on. I apologize for being impatient. He decides to be Schroeder and wants me to be Lucy.

"Hey Lucy! Why do you call Charlie Brown a blockhead?! Is he a blockhead?"

As long as I call him 'Schroeder', Abe is 100% compliant with anything I ask him to do. He gets a chocolate coin on our way out of the store, and I ask him to stop dropping the wrapping on the ground. It's still pouring rain. He keeps littering, so I take the candy from him. He cries. Schroeder is unhappy with having his chocolate gone, so he's just Abe.

We lug our things in the house, completely drenched, really grouchy. I say, "Hey Abe, strip to your underwear." We get in the hot tub. He's Abe. I'm Mom. It's still pouring. He looks over at me and says, "Hey, you're my favorite. Did you know you're my favorite?"

"You're my favorite too."

We dry off and put on our pajamas even though it's only 4:00 in the afternoon. It's just that sort of day. He watches The Point. I lay on the couch and read this book, which is surprisingly sad. I hear "Wherever we go, everyone knows, it's me and my arrow" from the next room. I grew up listening to this record and am so happy that our boy likes it.

Mail truck. Snoopy and the red baron flying over Germany. Lewis and Clark. Peppermint shakes. Firefighter Santa and Charlie Brown. Hot tub. Chocolate coin still on the dashboard of my car. Torrents of rain. Harry Nilsson. Our weekend thus far.


Sara said...

Sometimes I have to call Turo "drum major" or "Bono."

Julie said...

I love this post! I feel like I am in Portland with you. I love Abe Rooney.

Gretchen said...

I never said anything because I was overly emotional.... but this post, these pictures.... I miss you.