Monday, November 16, 2015

A Post in the Wind

I guess, today, I am posting something just for me

It seems so few are listening here these days that I can indulge in a little self-pity and

Songs have long held for me a significance beyond the meaning of their words, above the beauty of their melody, inside the significance of their story

Mass shootings, terrorists, Paris is

Nope, none of those seem to work this morning.

I think I'll just go ahead and sing a song if you don't mind. You can go away if you want - I'm really just doing it for me.

I'd guess that was one of the first dozen or so songs I ever learned on the guitar. There is no end to the ways one can play this song, Dylan himself did it about four different ways, and Peter, Paul and Mary and every-damn-one else have interpreted it for themselves, and it seems to come out different every time I do it. It might seem trite and cliche after all these years. It's not. It is, and shall unfortunately ever remain, topical to the second, to the instant, to every now that shall ever be or ever was.

I've mentioned before that I sing and play the songs I have long known when I am feeling down. Not, truly, just to lift me or make me feel better, but, to... it's hard to explain.

To make me feel more.

Yes, I suppose that's it.

When I sing a song, this song specifically, I do so atop the echoes of all the other times I've done it. The harmonies of friends come back and to fill the lonely refrain. The tune floats along on the vague, nearly forgotten memories of the times I've done it before and it becomes something else. The memories make it new. Or, perhaps the now, the event that led me back to it, adds new weight or maybe it just lightens the burden or... I'm not making sense.

And, why am I crying?

Things happen that I don't understand. If I don't understand them, how, God, can I explain them to little boys?

This song is my lame explanation to them.

Sorry, boys, it's the best that I can do.

When I went away to college - and I've mentioned this before in some post past, but I'll be damned if I can find it - I typed up all my songs on my Mom's monster electronic typewriter...

Damn, this is a rough post to write. In looking at this now, I see that below Blowin' in the Wind is a song that we wrote as freshman in college which means I didn't type this particular one up until after college started. Now I remember. I think a couple of buddies and myself promised we'd type up the songs we knew over Christmas break. Yeah, that seems true enough, at least plausible.

Anyway, I typed them up on something called "erasable bond" paper, an almost vellum like paper that one could erase typing from. It streaked terribly. I remember, this seems impossible but it is true, that we'd agreed to use carbon paper and make another copy of each one so there would be one to share. Of course I couldn't erase the carbon copy but, I worked hard on the project - hours and hours. It is funny what comes back to you when you dive right into it.

I've redone all those songs, modernized them, digitized them, but, in a folder on a shelf are all those old sheets, crisp and brittle, yellowed like parchment, coffee stained and worn out.

(Yes, those are seed burns, no denying the obvious.)

It is funny how deeply this stupid piece of paper affects me. I think of all the hands that handled it, all the times I've looked at it, all the places it's been, all the stories it holds - like a touchstone, a talisman, it soothes me. It makes me remember that I've been somewhere, been through stuff, known folks, loved others... lived.

And, I think that is what this whole thing is about today.  I can't figure things out sometimes, I can't make sense of the seemingly senseless, the arbitrary, the evil, the sad.  But...

I know this song, I've figured out this thing, maybe that gives me hope that I can figure something harder out.

I dunno.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..." 

Z: "Why did you laugh?"

M: "Because you are funny."

N: "ish"

I'm funnyish, too...

Thanks for coming by, Peace to you, Peace to us, Peace to the whole damn world, we sure as hell need it...

Hey, boys.  I think everyone else is gone.  When you find me, as you both have, playing a song and crying or screaming it with my eyes shut or just mumbling it into the wind, know I am just trying to figure things out.  It's a coping device.  Don't let it scare you.

I love you both so much...

... hand me that guitar, won'tcha?

Friday, November 6, 2015

On Turbines, Titanium and Time

I witnessed something profound the other night.  It made me wonder and worry and marvel and dream.  It scared me and lifted me.  It made time irrelevant and exploded memories like long buried, forgotten landmines.  I laughed and wept.  I felt simultaneously infinitesimal and embiggened.  I was at once a little boy again and then a very old man.

Baseball season is over so, a few nights ago, I took my hard apple cider out in the backyard, sat in an old lawn chair and looked up.  The moon was down over the edge of the yard and the sky was was black and the stars were bright and twinkling, The Big Dipper danced and just a scant smear of The Milky Way could be seen.  The maples in the yard are bare now and those beautiful black-blue branches traced a latticework in front of the stars.

And... somewhere in between, was the thing that overwhelmed.  A jet, high up, red running lights, a faint roar, soared through the night.

I wondered and worried about the souls on board, maybe the cockpit crew of a cargo plane casually ferrying the precious and mundane to those who do and do not need them, respectively.  I marveled at the inconceivable technologies that keep a plane up and guide it through the night.  The Wright's dream seemed manifest above me, true and perpetual.  I was scared with those on board who were frightened of either the turbulent bumps in the night or the more turbulent destination awaiting them.  Time folded on and around itself and settled on now which is both past and future and which always scares me so.  I felt small at the thought of all the importance that jet represented, the commerce and humanity of it when extrapolated across the skies upon which we all gaze and I felt bigger, superior perhaps, because of that same humanity, our Mankindness, that conquered the impossible and shortened and made manageable the vast and painful distances between us all.

And the memories, God, the memories...

My father was a metallurgist and worked for General Electric for a great part of his life designing and testing metals that went into the fabrication of jet engine turbines.  I probably understood the theory and some of the mechanics of jet propulsion well before I understood them in the lowly internal combustion engine.  He brought home pieces of the metals he was developing, powder technologies in those days, and I remembered holding them - which was like holding a piece of him - as he smiled on eager to tell me about it.

As a little boy, we'd go up to the Dayton airport and climb the stairs to the "observation deck" and watch the planes roll around or land, screeching tires and little puffs of smoke, on the tarmac while we waited for the one that would bring grandparents or my dad to land, to safety, to home.

In my twenties I boarded a red-eye from NYC to LA to see a girl who didn't want to see me.  Such high hopes going, bitter embarrassment on the return.

Meeting Marci at an Arizona airport and knowing the importance of it all.

A long flight to Europe, a longer flight back.

A first flight for me in a suit and bowtie and stewardesses in skirts and men in hats and silver wings on the lapels of heroes and china coffee cups and hot roast beef.  My most recent flight in jeans and sweatshirts, heroes double-locked behind closed doors, sad flight attendants, stale cookies and plastic cups and not a silver wing in sight.

All these memories and so many more hit me at once, which is a phenomenon that no longer surprises me as it used to.  Memories do flood.  One becomes another and that triggers another and it happens faster than seems possible.  It happens all the time.  It's a wonder our heads don't explode.

Back in the yard, under the trees, beneath the stars, I had to make a decision.  I knew that trying to imagine all that that plane held, all it represented, conjured, all the souls and collective dreams a pressurized tube of aluminum can carry, would overwhelm me.  I feel this way in crowds and on the interstate and at parties and in restaurants.  It is a sort of social vertigo which renders me scared and silent and lost.

So, as that jet made its inevitable way into the horizon, I let it go.  I prayed for the people on board as I often do when I see a plane overhead, and I whispered my goodbye.

And then I tried to remember every detail of a piece of titanium I once held in my hand, and the man who made it.

Peace to you today, I suppose this isn't very much about the boys, but, I can't help but wonder which of the memories I've put down here might stick, which ones might be important, which ones will linger, which ones will wait, which ones are theirs, which are mine.  Sometimes I think I get the social vertigo I spoke of for a reason.  Perhaps my mind or soul or intellect or whatever, the collective that is me, is saying wait, stop, hold on - we don't need new things to think about, new memories to imprint, we need to think about the ones already planted, already rooted.

Perhaps that is elderhood, perhaps it is selfishness, perhaps it is...  oh, hell I dunno.

From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

Nick: "This is the ultimate test of manliness."

Mom: "What is?"

Nick: "Opening this pack of Ritz crackers."

Zack: "True. They are hard to open."

Expectations of manhood have changed when I was kid...

Thanks for stopping around, I appreciate it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

This IS a Halloween Post

I've been trying to get an upper hand on this post today.  So much to consider - the Feast of All Souls' Day; it's the second day of November, a tempestuous month; it is two days past the gluttony of Halloween and twenty-four days until the comfort of Thanksgiving and a mere fifty-two days and ten hours and seventeen minutes and four seconds until the gift that, behind all the stuff, is Christmas.

I don't see a clever way to get all that in today, so, screw it... I'll do this instead.

A Bug and a Bee  '05 & '06

"Workermen" '07
Pink Zebra and Yellow Bunny  '08 & '09
Angel and Devil  '09
A Cowboy and a Pirate  '10
Wizards  '11
A Bat and a Skeleton  '12
 A Mime and a Scarecrow  '13
A Bankrobber and a Clown  '14
A Cow-boy "Literally" and a Hippie (not Dad)  '15

I can't imagine what I should say about this series of images.  Well, that's not true, actually, I can think of dozens of things.  In fact, I'd guess I could write a novel-length piece on them, stories within stories.  The story of the "wizard sticks" that went along that year.  The mime whispering "Timeout.  Can mimes hum?"  The time we went to their preschool party and they made folks weep in their Bunny and Zebra costumes.  True story.  The tool boxes they treasured and used as their goodie buckets that year.  Bones falling from skeletons, makeup running in a cold rain, the clever incorporation of an old black umbrella in a bat costume, the ancient silliness of a boy dressed as a scarecrow, raffia straw tickling bellies and faces.

I could bend it all so easily and expose the love story that lies beneath each costume, each smile.  The love song that is a mother tenderly crafting costumes year after year so two little boys would be happy, will linger a lifetime.  The love story that is hands held in the twilight, words of encouragement to a boy afraid of the doors and stranger and scary decorations.  The gentle reminders - to say thank you and to let the little ones go first and to be careful, and carefree and wild - last like letters in an old trunk, love letters from a past that once was now.

Yes, a past that once was now...  I see these individually and remember each story, each year, but, perhaps, the bigger picture is in the march through time the whole represents.  I constantly see time as an enemy.  It is, he is, she is, not.  Without the journey through the seasons and years, I wouldn't be able to see the whole of it.  The completeness of it.  The journey that is life, that is childhood, simply must play out, as it always has, with time as its ally.  Each shutterclick piled on one another is the essence of time.

There is one final frame I might use here, it's a little more complicated.  In her beautiful, lyrical novel, Gideon, Marilynne Robinson says- speaking in the voice of her main character who is writing a long memoir to his young son, the old and holy and dying pastor, John Ames:   

"For me writing has always felt like praying, even when I wasn't writing prayers, as I was often enough.  You feel that you are with someone.  I feel I am with you now, whatever that can mean, considering that you are only a little fellow now and when you're a man you might find these letters of no interest.  Or they might never reach you, for any number of reasons.  Well, but how deeply I regret any sadness you have suffered and how grateful I am in anticipation of any good you have enjoyed.  That is to say, I pray for you.  And there is an intimacy in it.  That's the truth."

I have often called this thing I am doing here a long love letter to my sons, maybe the truth is, as Mr. Ames suggests, more than that.  Perhaps this is a long prayer for these boys - my boys, your boys, our boys, all boys.

Thanks for coming around, I've got to go meet a bus and start thinking about the next story, the next love letter, the next prayer.

Peace to you, peace to us.

Friday, October 30, 2015

This Is Not a Halloween Post

Sometimes I see a group of people at, say, a soccer game - perhaps the parents of the team - and marvel at the disparity in them.  So different economically, politically, socially yet all focused on one goal, or two or three.  It happens at the boys' school, too.  At a student council carnival the other day I witnessed little gangs of youths arranged in the damnedest ways, it was cute.  I see it at its most jarring on Facebook sometimes, I've laughed aloud at the notion of the seventeen people who "like" something I posted at the same party, mingling and baffled and flabbergasted that they all agree on things.

(This sounds like I am heading towards the theme of egalitarianism, or worse, peaceful coexistence... I'm not.)

The other day I wrote a piece called Metaphorically.  I got to thinking about how that all came to be, what different elements and characters and memories and ideas meshed to make those rows of words coalesce into one singularity.

It's a weird list that includes Andy Goldsworthy, the story of a sunset, the memory of a crippling blizzard, backyards, porches, loneliness, heartbreak, red leaves in wax paper, photosynthesis, puberty, my childhood friend JB, a girl named Kari, lightening and the deep and daunting conundrum of Faith.

Oh... and this...

On the back is this sketch which began the whole process.

I think that the word "Elements" so aptly titling Zack's work, added to the ruminations about the weather and the seasons that I have every year as Fall ends - or Spring begins, for that matter - mixed with the melancholy that is Time and the hope that is childhood fermented into a new realization for me.

Life is like that.  This was that and is now this other thing because this that was that and is now this.  I know that doesn't make sense, but coming to understanding never does.

That's all for today.  I just wanted to share the rest of the story of my last post.

Crap... there's more to this story.  Sorry.

When I was thinking the other day about writing about these colored pencil drawings Z did - well before they became entwined in the story above - I thought it might be fun to ask Zack to help me photoshop, if that's a verb, the images.

We started with this one, which, in sequence he made before the two above.  I use Picmonkey, most photo editing programs are way above my level of skill and it is simple and effective.  Here is his final edited piece.

Here's the original.

Yeah, weren't we all a little heavy-handed on our first encounter with an editing app - I know I was.  Hey, the image is much clearer in his and, the, uh color is nice and...

Thanks for stopping by.

Here's a TYDETHFTBS* (worst acronym ever) from Marci:


Nick just referenced Sisyphus in describing what it will/would be like when/if the Cubs win:
the Cubs winning is "like that mythical guy pushing the thing up the hill and actually making it."

Best sports metaphor ever.

That's my boy...

Dammit... there's more.

Yesterday Zack's anthropomorphic, and silly, stuffed bear decided to make a Baseball pennant that said "Go Mets!" which was promptly ripped to shreds before he could explain it was just a joke.  To atone for his transgressions (honestly, I thought it was a clever joke from a not-always-so-clever bear) he made a new one today.

Peace to you and yours.

*"...things you don't expect to hear from the backseat..."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


And, just like that, autumn closes and winter wakes behind the trees.  It rained and blew all night, a hard rain blown in gusts against the dusty screens, streaking the windows and rattling the doors.  The wind chimes sang a crazy six-note melody along with the wind, tonally perfect against the wild rustling of the dry leaves in the maples.

This morning the rain still falls, there is a chill in the wet wind - a winter wind - and the leaves have left the trees, some still cling but are loosing their grip in the downpour.  The sky is gray, like steel, not with the tinge of blue or purple you see in Summer or Fall clouds, but the dark, low and ominous skies of snow and sleet.

It has been an inglorious fall.  The sometimes red and yellow that can paint the Midwest have been muted with umber and sienna, ochre and loam.  The woods are not ablaze this year, they are sepia.  Curiously, the maple leaves in the back yard - turned an uninspired yellow with veins of sad green -  have nearly all fallen face down showing their beige underbellies, ashamed of their lack of initiative this year.

Winter will come with its blacks and blues and searing whites.  Spring will follow bathed in an astonishing variety greens, and then summer heat and humidity will lay heavily, varnishing those greens and, as always, that varnish will wear off and the leaves will age into decay.

I love the seasons.  I love the cycle of renewal, growth, harvest, decay.  I love storms and blizzards, lightning and thunder.  The feel of August's blistering heat makes the biting chill of December somehow sweeter; the stinging wind and rain of March echoes the crunchy feel and taste of dusty, dry September.

I somehow need the wildness of weather just as I crave the wonder that is decay and rebirth.

Wildness and surety.

I have for as long as I can remember watched the sky, turned my head up to the stars, stopped for the sunsets, marveled at the rose.  I've stood on mountains and mounds, in rivers and oceans, in dry desert and fertile creek bed.  I have sat at this very table and watched the yard fill up with snow and at my childhood table doing the same.  I've laughed along with young boys, marveling at the rain in the front yard and sun in the back; I've jumped into and out of a wall of rain in a meadow as a young man holding hands with a pretty girl.

I've observed so much outside, been drawn into it all.  I've considered it, wondered at it, been mesmerized by it, but...


I think I know, now.  It is so difficult to explain or even define our feelings.  Words, though lovely, are sometimes so inadequate, impotent.

But... I could point to a driving thunderhead coming at me when I was thirteen - churning clouds and bright inner flashes and low, painful growls - and say that, that, is how I feel.  Mixed up, beautiful, frightening, inexhaustible, wild.

I could point to a sunrise and say that is Love.

A shovelful of Ohio soil, rich and loamy and alive is Home - the essence of family, place and time.

The moon rising over city streets as a little girl looks on is Wonder.

Tulips and crocuses poking through dirty snow is Hope.

The crazy blizzard wind, shifting direction and blinding, crystalline snow is Fear.

There is Despair in the long dead, decaying doe over on the fenceline.

So many of my emotions and feelings find antecedents, find definition, in the seasons and the weather and the forces all around us.

Stars are Faith.

Flaming red maples are Victory.

Fire is Desire.

The woods are Safety.

The wind is Grace.

Sunsets are Forever.


I write a lot of words here, I appreciate you reading them.

I try, sometimes, to write on the words I've capitalized above, to describe them to you - and you dear boys.  But they are enormous words, enormous thoughts, and my prose fails.  I apologize for that, but, the rain is Truth and it is pouring out side.

Peace to you all... and Peace is a floating feather.

That's all.  Take your feather and go...

Thursday, October 22, 2015


A boy was bullied yesterday.  I know, I know, a million or more boys - and girls - were bullied yesterday.  But yesterday it was one boy, a specific boy, a boy I know, a boy I like.

I went to pick him up for practice, his parents both work and the practices were bumped up to five recently to accommodate the earlier darkness.  His neighborhood is, well, not upscale.  There are no three-car garages, more likely there are late model cars on jacks or cinder blocks waiting for new rotors or brake pads.  There are no manicured yards or potted mums or sculpted yews.  It is a working-class area of small ranches and carports and little yards and big trees bumping up the sidewalks and staining them with mulberries and crab apples.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I drove up and there he was, sitting in the dusty, brown grass, knees scrunched up to his chest which was racked with sobs.  Tears stained his dirty face, his usually clear blue eyes were red and his sleeve was wet with snot and tears.  He looked small and hurt and confused and oh, so very sad.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I parked my truck in front of his house and surveyed the scene.  Four boys stood off in a yard next to his to my left and down the sidewalk to my right another boy, a bigger boy, an older boy, stood looking smug and, well, prickish.  I got out and walked up to my little friend.  I knelt down by him and asked him what was wrong.  A fusillade of anger and pain and hate and hurt was hurled my way.  If you've ever heard a ten year old boy try to speak through tears of injustice and hurt you'll know I didn't understand the details, but... I got the gist of it.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I pieced together the story.  A football, a taunting older boy who wouldn't give it back, keep-away gone wrong.  When the bigger boy got the ball taken from him, in anger and spite, he threw this little boy's water bottle into the street where it broke and shattered and spilled and still lay in the gutter just behind me.  The water bottle had his last name written on it.  It was a nice big red plastic jug with a handle and a screw-on top with a flip-up sippy thing on it and he was proud of it.

A boy was bullied yesterday.

I went to get the bottle, hoping I might salvage it somehow.  He told me not to bother, that it was all "fucked up" now.  I gave him the f-word, he deserved it, he needed it.  The four boys came towards me, trying, I think, to offer the support they had not given before because the older boy still stood watching down a ways.  They all talked at once, hoping to collectively explain what had happened, how it had happened and why they'd let it happen.

I knew one of the boys, I'd coached him for a couple of years in baseball, and recognized the other three from the years I'd volunteered at the elementary school.  "There was nothing we could do, Mr. Peebles."  I asked him then why was this boy boy crying alone in his front yard as you watched on.  They told me they didn't want to get in trouble with "him."

A boy was bullied yesterday.

"Him" was slowly working his way towards the scene.  I looked at that older boy with a look that would have burned Satan.  Remember, I look like a hard-ass, long gray beard, I had a bandanna on my head, and I looked right into that boy.  And, he was scared.  He realized that here was someone who could bully him.

"Did you do that?" I asked pointing at the water jug.  He said he did and began to justify what he'd done, something about it being his ball and...

"Why?  Why would you damage someone's thing?  Why would you hurt someone like that?"  And then I said something I shouldn't have said, but I did anyway, "What the fuck is wrong with you?"

His lower lip began to quiver a little.  I wanted him to cry.  I wanted to break something important to him.  I wanted him to hurt.

I knew that was wrong so I drew in a deep breath, I got right down into his face and said, "You don't get to break people's things, son.  It's not something people do.  It's not something I'd do.  It's mean and stupid and that's not what men are."

I turned to my sons' teammate and said let's get going.  He said he didn't want to go and ran into his house and slammed the door.

A boy got bullied yesterday.

I stared down the older boy.  "You proud of yourself?" I asked him angrily.

"No, sir," he mumbled.  He knew he didn't have the one thing he needed, perhaps the one thing he never gets, perhaps the very thing he longs for at night when he cries himself to sleep - my respect, anyone's respect, self-respect.

"Caps," I said to the boy I'd coached using his nickname, "you're a good boy, I know that and you know that.  Your Mom and Dad know that.  Don't just stand by and do nothing.  I can't tell you to fight or stand up for others.  But, if that boy is your friend," I gestured to the slammed door, "at least sit with him when he is hurting.  At least do that..."

"I know Mr. Peebles, I'm sorry."

I considered trying to get my friend to go to practice, but I knew I couldn't.  He was embarrassed and mad and ashamed and... well, so was I.

A boy was bullied yesterday.  A sweet little boy who has trouble saying his r's.  A funny little boy with crazy blonde hair and yellow soccer shoes and a Star Wars watch and a vulnerable heart and a beautiful soul which was shattered like a drinking jug in a gutter by a boy who thinks that is alright.

So often we think of bullying in broad sweeping statements and treat it like a noun, a thing, a syndrome.  "Bully" is a verb, an action.  It is something that happens to someone.  It's happened to me, it's happened to most everyone I know.  It can only be addressed with action.

You may have noticed that, besides the names, I put a of lot details in this story.  We need those details, details make it personal, details make it hurt more, details make the inherent injustice of it all the more real, all the more hurtful.

October is National Bullying Awareness Month. I am not a guy to jump on causes, but maybe this is one that I can.

On the way to practice the boys were uncharacteristically quiet.  They didn't talk or argue or punch or complain.  It was a loud silence.  I could feel them thinking about it, taking in all that they'd seen and heard, looking out their respective windows and looking into their collective future, a future where there would be two boys, two men, two souls who knew what ugliness bullying can bring.

Talk to your kids about bullying.  Don't use broad, sweeping generalizations, though.  Be specific, use details, tell them the stories of your youth.

A boy was bullied yesterday and so were millions of others.

Change that, I beg of you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


For the many of you (I considered few of you but I am trying to be positive) who have been following around here for the last several years, you know that I find Nick's misspelling quite amusing, and, well, a bit frustrating.  There is, in fact, a whole label devoted to it here.  In school this year there is a renewed focus on it with vocabulary and spelling tests.  I's are preceding their e's - except when... -y's are being changed to i's and ed's added, the sordid there/their/they're menage is clamoring to explain itself, that sort of thing.

Nick brought this home the other day:

I am sad to say, my days of picking fun at them are over.  I mean 100%.  And, honestly, I am hard pressed at spelling the bonus word, inferential, as well.  I also told Nick that in my fifty years of writing I have never used that word in a sentence, there's no doctorate certification on my wall.

I am glad for him, he studied hard and we've been working on them at home, and he deserves the score.  Also - and here's where I may go too far with this - it is all a good metaphor what is happening around here, where I write these words.  I look at this and see an ending, not of everything or anything dramaticky like that, but an end to one more part of childhood.  Not only is he not going to make as many spelling errors - a sign of mental maturation and personal growth - but I am going to stop seeing them as the piece of childhood I have always seen them as.

This forces me to look again at the boys, see them in the new light in which they shine.  To watch differently, perhaps more carefully, as they coalesce into the adolescents they will soon be.  It is easy to grasp the silliness and wonder and cuteness and color and cacophony of childhood.  It is, frankly, pretty easy to write about that all as well.  But now, as that layer begins to bury itself, a new layer of seriousness and work and purpose and understanding surfaces.  It is harder to write about.

But - to carry the miserable metaphor further - if they are willing to get the words right, understand the meanings, go deeper and further into themselves so, perhaps, must I...

Yeah... well, I hope you see my point.  Boys grow up.  It gets different.  And we must look at them anew from time to time and grow up alongside them.

But I'm not gonna do that right now.

Nope, I'm just gonna dive into the "take-home folder" (there's a label for that as well here) and see if I can find something silly.

Actually, on his test, Nick made a couple of drawings.  (On a side note, I asked him why - knowing that this would simply not have been acceptable when I was in fifth grade - he made them.  He said his teacher doesn't mind, "she knows I get bored with stuff I already know."  If only someone would have recognized that when I was his age I'd have not gotten into the trouble I did.  Thanks Mrs. C.)  I like this uh, sword-cross-stars-thingee, maybe there's a future in tattoo design for Nick:

I love the yin/yang effect and who doesn't love stars?

And there is this little guy crouching absurdly on his spelling test:

He plays for the "Backward C's"

How, you may ask, do I know he is crouching?  Well I found him on another bit of classwork standing up:

I'm pretty sure that's him, that signature tongue move is pretty unforgettable.

I found this one on a "Restating The Question Center" worksheet.

Here's the assignment:  "Below you will find a number of ridiculous questions.  Your job is to restate the question and answer in a complete sentence.  Your answer can be completely silly as long as you restate the question!"

He nailed it on number three:

It's funny, for sure, but, behind it is a truth I think many adults miss, don't forget the obvious rules.  I'll save that thought for another time.  Also, I'll save the notion that it might be fun to write a post using all the words on Nick's list... that'd be joyous, marvelous, adventurous and inferential (dammit, you're gonna have to learn that one too, Nick.)

Thanks for stopping by, I know you're busy.

From Marci's  "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."

"Stabby weapons are best for me."

Know your tools, son, know your tools...

There one more thing I noticed on the worksheet.  I think it is a self-portrait:

It is either that, or this is my fifth grade student picture.  You know what?  That's pretty much what middle school felt like to me, exactly the look on that face.  It's funny how it all comes 'round.

God's Peace to you all.