28 May 2006

That's My Boy

Last week I took my son, Robert, to a preview of Over the Hedge. (Thanks to the kind folks at Mix 92.9 sponsoring this preview at Opry Mills.) To tell the picture's story, I have to go back a few weeks ago. Hearken back to a time a few weeks ago at Reelfoot Lake.

Laura and I took the little guy up to see her folks. They have a very swank pad right on Reelfoot Lake. During the visit Laura’s mom wanted to ask me if I wanted to go to the Armory with the girls to buy tomatoes. Given that I wasn’t quite sure why any sort of Armory would be selling tomatoes, I was in. For all I knew, it was some code for purchasing black market grenades. For all of you that don’t know, the folks on the lake can be very protective of their property. Dutifully, I loaded everyone up in Sweet Jane to make the trek to the mysterious Armory.

The Armory in question is in fact a National Guard Armory. Or at least, a gravel lot to the side of the Armory. There, the fine lake folks set up shop in the spring and summer months to sell anything from produce to the finest remnants of garage clean ups the world has ever seen. Upon hitting the only happening scene in the Reelfoot Lake area on a Sunday morning, Robert and I decided to examine the vendor’s wares. Laura and her mother busied themselves poking produce and haggling like proverbial Arab traders.

My eye was immediately caught by a rather large stuffed squirrel sitting on a huckster’s table. I have a soft spot in my heart for dead stuffed animals, and evidently my son does too. Robert looked up at me and ask, “Daddy do you see the squirrel?” Who could resist the chance to brighten your son’s day and take home a dead animal? Quickly purchasing the treasure, I was almost bowled over by my son going to show the girls of what would become his new friend.

Running over to the produce stand, Robert’s excitement could be only be measured by a Richter scale. Yelling all the way, “Look, I’ve got a dead squirrel. His eyes are open and he cost $10.” I’m not sure if the look on the girl’s faces were of horror, confusion, or abject love for my own squirrelly tendencies. Robert then promptly asks Laura’s mom if she would like to pet Burt. Now I know this was a look of terror in the woman’s eyes. Petting a dead animal of unknown origin was not high on her agenda of things to do that Sunday morning. Being the gracious woman she is, she waved her hand inches above the rodent declaring, “I’m sure he can feel the love from here.” God bless you Sara…

Burt sneaks into Fort Donelson in a piece of luggage

The rest of the trip was mainly about Burt. The drive home was about Burt. And the melt down at Mom’s house was about Burt not staying with Robert at Mom’s house. I will give the little guy points for trying every known tactic in the book to secure Burt’s rightful place in his room before melting down. So eventually, feeling like a heel we drove to Fort Donelson, hoping I hadn’t broken his heart too badly. The next day I found out that after a few calm minutes and promises of mac and cheese the trooper’s demeanor cleared right up.

Flash forward to dinner the next week with our friends Tracey and Jerry at the New Century Buffet in Antioch. That is such a good story in and of itself; it will have to wait for another time. Tracey being the kind hearted person she is gives Laura a nice Mother’s Day basket. Included in this basket is the plastic squirrel, seen being held by Robert in the above picture. Tracey had no idea of the tale of Burt. She had gotten the plastic friend for Laura, because I refer to myself as a squirrel most of the time. This got a big chuckle from the peanut gallery, because we had brought Burt that night to introduce him to some new friends.

To wrap up this convoluted tale of taxidermy, emotion, and coincidence in a fail swoop. Robert finds the plastic squirrel, who he quickly names Ernie and latches on to him. My son makes the grand statement that he wants to have Ernie by his side all that day. This would include taking him to the preview of Over the Hedge that night. I had read in a Dr. Spock book that it is advisable to allow your children to do such things.

Upon entering the theater, Robert was clutching a bucket of popcorn under one arm and Ernie under the other. A boy with a plastic squirrel is not easily missed in a movie theater. Especially by one of the Mix 92.9 promo people. Upon seeing Ernie, one of the ladies yelled, “Is that a rat?” Robert and I very politely informed her that it was not a rat, but a squirrel. I’m sure the guilt of misidentifying one of God’s creatures made this woman gives Robert a poster with some stickers on the back of it. These stickers turned out to be key to winning some Over the Hedge swag. Whew… now that was a tale. But the end result was that my boy got his first contest win and media exposure all in one night. Huzzah Robert.

1 comment:

WordSmith said...

It thrills my heart to know that I have had some small part in providing your child with happiness. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.....it's a Bert moment.