D (singing): …and all those children (sigh), heaven bless them, they will look up…hey, guys, what are the names of the captain’s seven children?
F: Maria’s children, Daddy?
D: Yes, Maria’s. Can you name them?
D (surprised): That’s right, Fisher. Can you name another one?
D (very surprised): That’s right, too, Fisher.
The rest require hints.
D: God bless…
D: No, Maria is praying on her first night, and she is asking to bless each of the kids, and she can’t remember the second boy, so she says, “God bless…”
D: Well, no, she says, “God bless…” and then his name.
F: What’s his name?
D: That’s the question.
Who’s on first continues for a bit…
D: Kurt! His name is Kurt! Maria says, “God bless, Kurt!”
Couple of days later on the walk…
C: Ask us who Maria’s kids are!
D: Who are Maria’s kids?
C and F (jumbled): Liesl! Friederic! Greta! Liesl! Marta! God bless Kurt! Luisa! Friederic! Greta! Marta! God Bless! Friederic!
D: Okay, Cory, walk me through the seven.
C: Liesl, Friederic, Greta, Marta, Kurt, Luisa, and God Bless. That’s seven, right, Daddy?
Typical summer Saturday, sitting outside an ice cream shop, Cory runs down the sidewalk of the outdoor mall and stops, staring into some store down a bit. When she comes running back…
D: What store were you staring into, Cory?
C (through a bite of ice cream): A haircutting place.
F: Daddy, can I get my hair cut today?
D: No, you don’t need…
Cory races back down there, staring in and gesturing occasionally, clearly interacting with someone. After the gang’s all done, we walk down that way and stop in front of the blow-dry bar that she’s been fascinated with. The stylist working on a client at the very front smiles at Cory, and now Daddy and Fisher. Fisher starts climbing on a bicycle next to that shop, from which Daddy tries to disengage him. When successful, he glances down to see Cory interacting with the stylist and her client. Daddy glances at that client…um, Lindsay Davenport.
Daddy tells the twins later that that woman in the chair was once the best female tennis player in the world, that the other day, when at the tournament at Stanford, she was wearing a red dress (Daddy had pointed her out), and that she was probably getting her hair done before going on TV again. After a pause…
C: Why does she get her hair blowed dry before playing tennis?
D: She’s not going to play tennis; she’s going to comment on the tennis match. She tells people what’s happening.
C: And she’s the number one at that?
D: Yes, she’s good at it, but she was the best tennis player in the world, when she played tennis.
C: But, why does she wear that red dress to play tennis in?
D: No, she…
Whatever. Clearly, unimpressed, as they should be, at four and a half. Now, if it had been Dora getting her hair blown out…
The twins (briefly) attended their first tennis tournament yesterday at Stanford. After overcoming her disappointment that she wasn’t going to see Maria Sharapova (who pulled out with an “injury”), Cory was shocked that so many people (obviously not in this picture) might watch you (i.e., her, someday) play tennis, at which point she decided she’d rather be a ball girl.
Fisher pointed at the shaded, box seats and said, “Daddy, I want to sit over there. Why can’t we sit over there?”
Thankfully concessions was selling strawberries and cream; otherwise, the whole thing might have ranked among our more middling adventures…
The twins have been transfixed by “Brave” for weeks, which justifies Daddy’s marching around the house, saying in something approximating a brogue: “I cannae and I dinnae!” They don’t understand what that means, nor does Daddy really, beyond the actual words, but it seems to fit the mood, if not each exact situation, wrapping the house in a tartan, inspiring lots of other drawn out vowels: King Fai-ai-ai-air-gus and Mor-dooooooooo. Cory always comes to get Papa or Daddy as the wisps draw Merida toward the cottage of the woodcarver-cum-witch (“Come sit with us!”), and Fisher always whispers a warning, “Don’t eat it” when Elinor leaves the gamey cake within her redheaded triplet princes’ later reach.
One morning, Daddy washes the dishes, listening to the twins babble, as Fisher repeatedly fires nerf bullets from a toy gun that (clearly) someone other than Daddy or Papa gave him as a gift…
C: Fisher, no! That’s not right! The first MacGuff does hit the circle, it’s just not in the middle, I told you!
F: But, Cory, that boy misses. (Muffled by running water.) …and, he does worser than, than, than, er, uh, than, than the other boys.
C: But, I told you, he’s…arrow does hit the circles.
F (loud voice): I am Merida! I live in a house Dunbroch! And I will shoot bullets myself.
C: Fisher, I want a turn!
More bullets fire; lots of barely audible sounds waft around an occasional “Mac-this” and “Ding-that.” Dishes done, lunches made, hair detangled, Daddy passes by the window to the back yard to get kids off to school, thinking, “Cute, nerf bullets.” Dogs fed, shower taken, kids gone, Daddy passes back by to gather computer, etc. to head to work, “Oh, their Scotch tape snowflakes are targets, how fun.” Work crap gathered, music for the dogs on, Daddy makes one more pass by and…their morning activity dawns on him…
MacGuffin misses badly, MacIntosh hits the target outside the bullseye, and Dingwall’s “arrow” lands dead center. By the look of things, neither was as good a follow-up shot as Merida…yet…
That evening, they ask whether they can each have a bow and arrow. No. They are not getting a bow and arrow. Hear that, gift-givers? No bows and arrows…you cannae and you will nae!
When friends gather at the house for a July Fourth BBQ, they have to park their cars in front of neighbors’ houses. The elderly gentleman across the street, struggling with some combination of alcoholism and dementia, is none-too-happy about the cars. Eventually he accosts a party-goer, questioning the hubbub, indicating that he knows “what’s going on,” suggesting that “the queers over there” are having a party. Auntie Ann-nuh’s response: “Well, that’s just inappropriate.”
Since then, Daddy hasn’t spared many kind thoughts for the guy, despite his sad, lonely predicament, the whole thing really just an example of how time, though generally cruel, does remedy certain ills, including this particular brand of bigotry. Whatever he imagines is “going on” over in the queers’ back yard, it’s a toddler or two that ends up on a water slide over here, you know, sporting Mardi Gras beads…naked…with a plastic shovel…for no reason, just cuz, some version of which randomly happens behind every other house with young kids. Nothing newsworthy here.
No, not many a nice thought to spare for the guy since the party…until…
Last night, Daddy and the twins play tennis in the driveway: green turtle out, new rackets in hand, balls whizzing across the street into the old guy’s driveway. Out he comes and up a notch go Daddy’s shoulders, bracing for the exchange…
Johnny (for the tenth time now): Hi, I’m John.
D: Hi, I’m Mike.
J: Who is this?
D (louder): His name is Fisher.
J: Fisher? (Hearty laughter.) And this one?
D (Cory silently sweeping a tennis ball from under a car): She’s Cory.
J (big smile): Cory!
Johnny’s eyes roam around, as an awkward silence ensues, twins staring.
J: Well, I’m just a crusty old bachelor over here. And I..
D: We’re just playing tennis. I hope the balls flying into your yard aren’t bothering you…?
J (struggling): Oh, no! I just…
J (making eye contact): Well, I know what’s going on.
Daddy keeps smile on his face, thinking here it comes.
J: Yes, I know what’s going on over here.
D (continued smiling): Yes?
J (adjusting cane and reaching out a gnarled hand): Well, and, I want you to know that I am on your side.
Daddy shakes his hand. Johnny smiles, shuffles back across the street, and spends the next half hour working to pick up any tennis balls that enter his yard, carefully bouncing them back over to us when no car is coming, laughing up a storm, and having the time of his…well, week at least. At one point, he yells over to us, laughing, “Your kids are just so wonderful!”
There are many interpretations for “I am on your side,” but it’s probably worth a clean read here. Guess there are other remedies available, besides the march of time.