F (over by the patio table): Daddy, what is she wearing on her head?
D: A towel.
F: Um, why is she wearing that towel on her head?
D: Well, some girls have long hair, longer than most boys, so after a shower, a towel can help dry all that hair.
F: Oh. Does that work?
D: Yep, I guess so.
F (whispering): Well, it just looks funny, I think.
D: A lot of things that work look a little funny.
After her shower the next night, Cory lugs her products and instruments out to the same bench. She leaves them there to search out the “other girls.” A movie and trip to feed Billy the Goat distract her, and them. The lessons from just one salon night, unfortunately none of them about posture, will have to be enough this trip. Daddy quietly returns the sprays and brushes to the bathroom.
Five minutes after arriving at the courts to play, instead of hitting on the driveway, everything appears to be going exactly as Daddy thought it might.
C: It’s hot.
C: Is there a potty here, Daddy?
C: Water break? (A minute later.) Water break?
Daddy’s about to pull the plug, when a man and a woman come and start REALLY hitting on the adjoining court. Both crack the ball back and forth. Cory’s focus picks up markedly. She wants to move back from half-court tennis to full-court like them.
D: It will still be too hard for you to get the ball over the net, Cory Bee. We need to get used to the net before we can move back like them.
She drops her shoulders but smiles. All of the sudden the “rallies” jump from three to five hits to 8 to 10, sometimes more. Daddy and Cory jointly decide that no water break is warranted unless the rally moves past 15 hits.
C (lifting the water bottle up): Daddy, I’m being really determined today, right?
D: You are, Cory Bee.
C: I bet someday we’re going to hit the ball like they are. Maybe better.
D (not sure, because the people on the next court are pretty dang good): You will probably be better, Cory Bee, but I don’t know about me. But, we’ll definitely try to hit like them.
C: Except Daddy, can you please leave your shirt on when we hit like that?
D (looking over at the shirtless guy, laughing, lifting the water bottle): Sure, Cory Bee.
C: Because you look funny without your shirt on. (Grabbing her racket, standing up, Daddy tasting a first drip.) Come on, let’s go.
Without waiting for an answer, she moves to the service line.
C: Can you make me run this time, Daddy? You are really not making me run very much.
The woman on the next court, waiting for her own partner to pick up a few balls, smiles big at Daddy. Daddy drops the water bottle, smiles back, follows orders, and gets up to make the suddenly determined little taskmaster run.
It’s a challenge to find something in the costume box that both fits and won’t sweat the kids out all day. Harry Potter for him? Out. Merida for her? Nope. Darth Vader for him? Sweatfest. In the aisle of the costume store, Cory tries on a Dorothy get-up.
D (to Fisher): …Tin Man? That could be…
F: …too hot…
D: …Scarecrow…You could have…
F: No, thank you. I don’t want to be the Scarecrow.
C: Fisher, how about Toto? You could be my Toto.
C: We could get you some ears, and…
F: No, thank you. I don’t want to be anything from the Wizard of Oz.
C: Are you sure? Toto is so cute!
D: And you’d be a nice-looking matched set.
F: Um, no thanks.
Nothing in the store catches his fancy. He pulls a three-year-old cape (an Edna Mode no-no), wristbands (still fit), and a mask (too tight) from years ago out of the costume box. He declares himself “Lightning Man.”
Dorothy, her backup Toto in basket, and Lightning Man, his mask tucked away in his backpack, head out for Jalloween.