Saturday 30 June 2007

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Boy Wonder II

© John Sawyer – June 2007

“Mick wants to talk to you about visiting Old Tom’s grave. Here I’ll put him on.” Mick doesn’t work the phone on his own yet, but he sure knows how to work your emotions. Old Tom is my father and Mick’s great grandfather who’d died about 8 months ago. I’d better sit down.

“Well we can’t visit his grave Mick. Tom was cremated so he won’t have a grave. Some time soon we’ll all take the ashes up to Daylesford and put them under the same tree where we put your great grandmother Anne.” Silence.

“What were you thinking Mick?”

“Well I’ve been thinking about Tom and I miss him and I just thought I could go with you to visit his grave.”  I suck in air and bite my lip.

“His ashes are with Aunty Helen and I’ll talk to her tomorrow about setting a date when we can put Tom’s ashes with Anne’s. Probably spring would be nice.

“I’ll email your mum a photo of the tree.”

Mick and his twin sister have just turned 7. I love them both, but there is something special about boys. We push our boundaries and then retreat under mum’s wing for a cuddle when our knees get grazed or our egos become deflated.

“Who’s the best footballer in your grade Mick?”

“I am!” (“Why would you ask?” is not said but inferred) “But my friend Riley can kick very… very… high.”

Mick likes his sport.

“This is a special game of cricket Grandpa. I have to bat all the time and you have to bowl and chase the ball.”

“Thanks Mick.”

“The Tigers aren’t winning because they are drinking too much drugs.”

Mick’s peers must also think pretty highly of him as he was elected as class delegate to the Junior School Council. Maybe it’s because when he finishes his work in class, he helps his classmates instead of going and playing on the computer.

Mick also understands the need for a progressive taxation system. “What happens to the money when we buy something Mum?”

“Well the money goes to pay the people that make it, the shopkeeper, the people that work there and the people who deliver it.”

“What about the poor people? Don’t they get some too? They need to get something too.”

Mick is already planning a career, as a clown. His best trick it to balance a pencil on his nose, stand on one leg and place his hand in is armpit and flap his elbow up and down, generating a farting sound. I can take some credit for suggesting the pencil and the one leg be added to the act.

I keep thinking of the near disaster we nearly had. Mick and Hannah were riding their bikes along the side of a country road. I was walking behind with the dog and generally trying to keep them safe by yelling warnings and instructions. Just as a car was about to overtake them, Mick decided that he should be leading and peddled madly past his sister, swerving into the path of the overtaking car. The driver swerved to the wrong side of the road and barely missed an oncoming car.

The driver of the oncoming car shook his fist at me and his passenger shook her head. It was not necessary. I feel really stupid. I feel very irresponsible. I will no longer judge those people you see on TV who back over their kids in the driveway. I just think how lucky I am.

It seems strange but Mick like Boy Wonder I, his Uncle Mark, before him is my hero. Both manage to do those things that I was never able to do.

There is apparently a scam running in the US:

  • Someone sets up a caravan in a shopping centre car park
  • “We deliver the latest Body Armour to your loved one in Iraq.”
  • Grandparents are the target customers
  • When they hand over their money, the scam artists deliver nothing or just rubbish.

This grand father would probably be conned if he had to face that.

I have to keep being political – I was lucky with Boy Wonder I – No bastard is sending Mick to a war.


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