The washer breaks. The repairman is not due for a week. The kids are forced to dip into the dregs at the bottom of their drawers.
C (halfway through a warm Sunday morning walk of the dogs): Daddy, I don’t like this shirt. I wish I had a short-sleeved shirt to wear. I’m hot.
D: Yah, it is warm today.
C: Daddy, guess who my favorite character is on this shirt.
C: Uh huh. Then who?
C: No, Sven, then Anna. And guess who’s last?
C: Yep. I don’t like Elsa as much.
D: You don’t? Why not?
C: Well, I will like her in the new Frozen when she makes those baby snowmen. You know, when she sneezes? Because she has a cold? And she makes little snowmen instead of boogers? But, that’s not until the Frozen 2. I don’t really like her that much right now.
Daddy volunteered to drive for one of the kindergartners’ field trips, Princess and the Pea. Both classes are going, so Cory and Fisher are each in the car, as well as three of Cory’s female classmates.
D/C/F (nice day, windows down, volume up): I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed! Get along with the…
One of the other three girls is singing. The remaining two are just smiling shyly.
D (next stoplight): Show me some moves, guys!
At the next chorus, Cory haltingly shows some of the usual wiggles. Fisher, hamming it up, goes for broke. Daddy puts together a few car moves. The next song is “Brave.” Fisher and Daddy go all out. Cory and the girls whisper and giggle. Daddy sees in the rearview mirror the two girls in the back row just staring at him, smiling, but staring. Daddy’s not sure their daddies sing and dance like this. Or they think all this driver’s seat activity is a little unsafe. But the guy who wins the energy award is Fisher. Clearly the kid needs an audience of peers to give it up. Cory always wants a dance party at home. Fisher needs a little nudge to join. Not today. Not with Emma, Sophia, and Lily right there. Daddy smiles, imagining the conversations around their dinner tables later that night. Hopefully, the play is an impressive enough experience to eclipse the funny drive to see it.
F/D (Fisher mostly mouthing vague words): Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly, I want to see you be…
For Father’s Day 2015, the kindergarten classes make keychains for their dads.
C (opening Daddy’s card): And, I made you…
D: A keychain! I love it. Is that me?
C: Uh huh. I made you dancing because you like to dance with me. See? You are dancing in the house, that’s why I put those…(pointing to the musical notes)…things there.
D (hugging her): Thanks, Cory. I do like to dance with you. You got me perfectly there!
Daddy looks at the keychain over her shoulder. Subliminal message: keep that dancing foolishness in the house? Daddy smiles bigger. Nah, not gonna happen.
There used to be an occasional sighting in the front yard a few houses down. Now rabbits run openly up and down the street, and the folks next door have little black pellets coating their back grass. Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits.
The only safe location in this backyard has been under the shed. Kohl had kept them penned in there, occasionally digging at the edges to keep them terrified of ever poking more than a nose out. With Kohl gone, though, one adult rabbit would sneak out from under the shed’s protection, first onto the patio, then under the outdoor couch, and finally all the way into the yard.
The twins, excited, would watch him from the couch inside.
C: Look, Daddy!
F: He’s so cute!
Once or twice, they try to take a carrot out to him. He skedaddles, of course. The most he ever gets comfortable with is sitting in the grass, chewing away at something, while the kids ooh and aah through the glass.
One day, Daddy finds the little guy, body lying half under, half out of the shed. Daddy disposes of the evidence.
F (week or so later): Daddy, how come that little rabbit doesn’t come in our yard anymore?
Daddy hesitates but then explains what happened, life, death, dogs, rabbits. It’s all very circle of life.
F: But, Daddy, where did you bury him?
C: But, what did you do with his body?
They are upset at no burial ceremony. Daddy explains that giant schnauzers have very sensitive noses and are very, very good diggers. They are not happy to learn about the pooper scooper, the brown grocery bag and then the trash can.
F: You just put him in the trash can!?
C: Oooooh, that’s not very nice, Daddy.
D: Well, guys, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
The six-month rabbit reign in this yard is over. Cinder’s here now. And, he’ll take ‘em live…or stuffed.
D: Because people in some states don’t think people like Daddy and Papa should be able to marry or that parents like Daddy and Papa can be good parents.
C: Is that the state where Mitt Romney lives?
D (laughing): Well, no. People who think like Mitt Romney live in every state, but there are more of them in certain states than others. There are more of them in my home state, Missouri, than there are here in California.
C: I don’t want to live in a state with a lot of Mitt Romneys.
D: To be honest, Cory, I don’t much want to either.
Not until this whole bigoted chapter fades well into history.