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Climbing Trees

Captain von Trapp: Now, Fraulein. I want a truthful answer from you.
Maria: Yes, Captain?
CvT: Is it possible – or could I have just imagined it – have my children by any chance been climbing trees today?
M: Yes, Captain.
CvT: I see. And where, may I ask, did they get these… ummm…
M: Play clothes.
CvT: Oh, is that what you call them?
M: I made them. From the drapes that used to hang in my bedroom.
CvT: Drapes?
M: They still have plenty of wear left. The children have been everywhere in them.
CvT: Do you mean to tell me that my children have been roaming about Salzburg dressed up in nothing but some old drapes?
M: Mmm-hmmm. And having a marvelous time!

Noisy Onions

D (seeing Fisher tear up): Fisher, what’s the matter?
F: I’m just sad.
D: Why?
F: I’m sad that those er, uh, eh mandrakes just gotta die for the potion.
D: Well, mandrakes are plants.
F: They aren’t people?
D: No. They are plants. Like onions. Or carrots.
F: Like onions?
D: Yes.
F: Oh. I don’t like onions.

Problem solved.

Children of the Fall

Winter captures a year’s wisdom
A million memories frozen into flakes
Their stories ready for the telling
But spring has little time to listen

Its shoots break through shells soaked in yesterday
Melting away, dance, play, paint the world in color
A swirl of activity reaching, so much sky
Spring has nothing to say to itself

Summer’s energy matches spring’s frenzy
Teaching sun and rain. And sun and rain. Again
Smile. Yours is the smile before the laughter
That warms the heart, feeds the earth, and lasts forever…

…and a day. Forever and a breezy autumn day.
Autumn knows both summer’s strength and winter’s chill
The dance’s end an urgent beauty
As yellow leaves trace the acorn’s fall. Slowly, child. Slowly.

Between Intolerance and Hospitality

F (breathless): Daddy, I was the king!
D: You were?! That’s cool. Did you say anything as king?
F: Yes.
D: What did you say?
F: I said to the pilgrims, “No! You must believe in my god.”
D: What did the pilgrims do?
F: They didn’t like that. (The Pilgrim in the horse shirt sure didn’t.) They got on the Mayflower and sailed to where there was too much snow on the houses. It was er eh uh too cold. And, then they got back on the Mayflower to Plymouth. That’s a rock. It was cold, and there was really much snow.
D: Brrrr. Why did those Pilgrims want to be here so badly?
F: Because they didn’t like the king to say they couldn’t believe in their god.


D: Were there people here when those Pilgrims came to Plymouth?
F (still, after a year of occasional corrections): Yes, Nate of America was here.
D: What did the Native Americans do?
F: They hid behind that easel. (In the reenactment, that’s exactly what they did.) Except one, but I don’t remember his name.
C: Fisher, I’ll give you a hint. It’s Squanto.
F: Oh, yah.
D: Nice hint, Cory.
F: Then, they had a feast.
D: Who did?
F: The Pilgrims and Nate of America. Squanto, I mean. Squanto said welcome and showed those Pilgrims how to be er eh uh not so cold.
D: That was nice.
F: I know that. (Pause.) Daddy, when I was king, I got to sit on a chair that was on top of a table!

Between intolerance and hospitality began a nation of, um, immigrants.

New Parent Shopping

C (screaming from a time-out in her room, between sailor-mouthed curses): I want new parents! You don’t take good care of me! I! Want! New! Parents!

A pretty good morning turns suddenly south at lunch. A forced nap that stretches on for a couple of hours in the afternoon seems to right things.

In a calm talk later, Daddy explains (again) that words spoken can never be taken back, that sometimes, most times, it’s better not to speak when anger rises, better to just go to time-out and quietly tell all those frustrations to Cho-Cho (her stuffed dog). It’s all right to have mean thoughts when angry. Everyone does. It’s even okay to say them out loud, scream them even, just do so into Cho-Cho. Get them out, but don’t scream those mean words, words that can never be taken back, out of the door at friends and family. Don’t even say them to people. Words can hurt people, and they can’t be taken back. Apologies can be given, yes, but those words, they just can’t ever be taken back.

She absorbs all of this, shaking her head, calm ears open to things her angry mouth won’t remember next time.

C (in the morning): Daddy, what are we doing today?
D: Well, we have to take the dogs for a walk, we should eat something, I know Papa wants to look at new cars, and we do have to find new parents for you.

She gazes up with a “wait, what?” look.

C (after a long pause): Daddy, can I tell you something?
D: Yes. We have so much to do today. Those are two big tasks on list: a new car and new parents for Cory. (Taking a sip.) Ima need more coffee for this day. It’s gonna take a lot out of us. Cory, would you get me some more coffee?

After a back and forth about which button to push on the coffee machine, whether to use two hands, how to fill beans, etc.

C: Daddy, can I tell you something?
D: Yes.
C (whispering): I don’t want new parents.
D (faux surprise): Oh, wait, what!? Cory, I’m mapping out a whole schedule here for the day. I thought you wanted new parents?
C: Stop. I just said that.
D: I know. You said that, so I thought, well, let’s see what we could do. Thankfully, our Sunday isn’t too busy. So, I think we could squeeze new parents in. We’ll just have to…
C: Daddy, stop. I just said that because…
D: Because, what?
C (whispering even more quietly): …because I was mad.
D: Oh. You mean that you didn’t mean it?
C: Uh-uh.
D: Okay. Well, shoot. This changes the whole day. Are you sure?
C: Uh-huh.
D: Well, okay, but I had arranged a few good candidates. I mean, you’d probably miss Boston and Quincy and Fisher and stuff, but sometimes a fresh start is just the thing. Are you sure you didn’t mean those words?
C: Daddy, stop. I’m sure.
D: Aw-ight.

Daddy scratches that off a random list of words she can’t read yet, nudges her a little with a shoulder, then a hug.