Thursday, January 1, 2009

Visiting the Cousins

Today we ate lunch with relatives from out of town: two of my sisters and a nephew named Will. It was fun visiting with everyone. Even Will seemed to enjoy listening to us old folk telling our old stories. He even laughed at this old gem:

Back in December 1989 (when our oldest son Andy was eight years old) my brother Roy (who was then in the Air Force and stationed at K.I. Sawyer AFB in Michigan's Upper Peninsula) went TDY (on temporary duty) to Carswell AFB in Fort Worth for a couple of weeks. Roy came by the house several times while down here in Texas and helped with some landscaping work I was doing. On one visit he asked, "Bobby, what would you think of my taking Andy back to Marquette with me and letting him spend Christmas with his cousins?"

I told him that sounded like a a dream come true for Andy. So when Roy finished his TDY, Andy and he headed to DFW Airport and thence flew off to the frozen north. Now Marquette, MI at Christmas is (to kid who still believes in Santa) the functional equivalent of the north pole. And that was especially true for Andy since he fits chronologically into a gap in Roy's family. You see, in 1981 just days before Andy was born, Roy and Sally lost their one-month-old son who'd been born with a heart defect. Tom was Roy and Sally's third son. They went on to have two more children who are also boys, so (as I said) Andy fits right in a very tender gap in Roy's family. And naturally, whenever we'd visit my big brother, Andy always felt right at home among his cousins -- certainly more at home among them than with his own two toddler brothers (who are five and six years younger). The poor little guy didn't have any brothers to play with, he had brothers for whom Mom had him incessantly fetching diapers.

So as I was saying, Andy flew off with Uncle Roy to Santa's 'hood and visited his dearest cousins for Christmas. On Christmas morning Uncle Roy called and reported that Andy was greatly relieved that Santa had apparently received our letter warning him that Andy would be in the neighborhood, and thus he could save himself the bother of schlepping Andy's presents all the way down to Texas. We told Roy we were pleased that Santa had come through, but weren't overly surprised. As I remember it, Roy reported that although Andy's faith in Old Saint Nick was unshakable, he was less certain of his Mom and Dad -- or at least in the efficacy of our letter informing the Jolly Elf of Andy's TDY status -- so he'd insisted on leaving a note by the tree. So I guess we'll never know if it was our letter or Andy's last minute instructions that did the trick, but (in any case) Santa delivered Andy's loot without a hitch.

Sadly, all good things must end. Upon the turning of the new year Andy was loaded back onto a plane in Marquette, successfully escorted to a DFW-bound flight at O'Hare and was back in the loving arms of his mother before the spring semester of second grade began.

Sometime shortly after Andy's return to Texas, he had occasion to ask: "Mom, if you died, what would happen to me?"

Sensing Andy's insecurity, Joyce tried to assure him: "Oh, don't worry, Daddy loves you and would take very good care of you."

But that only led to the logical next question, "But what if both you and Dad died?"

Joyce had to ponder that one, but (again wanting to reassure the tike that he'd be provided for) she quickly recovered: "Ahhhh, well in that case, we've named Uncle Roy as executor of the estate, so it would be up to him. I suppose he'd just adopt you into his family."

Without a moment's hesitation Andy pumped his little fist and exulted, "Yessss!"

As I remember it, after that Joyce and I started locking our bedroom door at night.


JAMIE'S CREW said...

Excellent story!

Hula Doula said...

He probably still has a tender fitting right in their family.
I'm either crying or laughing over here.

Bou said...

LOL!!! That's GREAT!

Bob said...

Yeah, I thought so, too.

I think Andy's given up his dream of moving in with Uncle Roy and Aunt Sally.

It made me laugh when Joyce told me about Andy's reaction.

Buck said...

Bob... that's a GREAT story, but the capper was your final sentence! THAT made me laugh right out loud! Kids... ;-)

ShalomSeeker said...

Obviously, I am little behind and just catching up around here...but I just GUFFAWED at your final sentence. I seem to recall parts of that story, but was totally unprepared for the conclusion. I'm going to have to warn people at work when I take my lunch breaks to catch up on blog reading...lest they have me committed. *wink*