Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday's Words for June 10, 2009

In the years between when I was a parent of young children and then became the grandparent of young children I seem to have forgotten one salient fact about them that has been brought home to me these last couple of weeks: little kids stink.

No, not figuratively, literally and don’t yell at me please, I love the little critters with all my heart, but they do stink.

Not only do they stink, they cause stink to happen in their absence.

Let me share with you how I came to re-visit this truth.

First a little background. As you know from these essays we quite often have the two children of our late son here with us overnight. Their mother—our second daughter—is a nurse and sometimes during the school week must work a three to eleven shift. Rather that have the children picked up so late at night, they have a sleep-over here. Mom comes early in the morning before I leave to take my beloved to work, and usually crashes on the sofa.

I return home and let her sleep until seven-thirty. At that time I get the children up, and get them having breakfast. They then dress and brush their teeth while mom packs the lunches she made for them in their school bags and then she takes them to school in the next town, where they live.

One day recently things weren’t progressing as smoothly as usual, so I decided to pitch in and give mom a hand in the lunch-to-school bag process. Now, when the kids return with me here from having gotten off the school bus they tend to just drop their bags by the door. I ask about home work, but in first and third grade, there’s not a lot of that so most times the bags sit until needed the next day. These bags are the standard, over-the-shoulder sort that many children own, and contain their school agendas, a book or two, an extra sweater, and their insulated lunch bags...and as I was soon to discover, sometimes something more.

Grandson had already opened his bag, pulled out his lunch container and given it to mom. Granddaughter was taking extra long in the bathroom so I grabbed up her bag and whipped that zipper open.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I thought I was going to pass out right there on the spot. I have never, in my entire life, smelled anything quite as rank as what wafted out of that innocent little girl’s school bag.

“I think something died in here,” I told mom.

She frowned and reached for the bag just as granddaughter came into the room.

Mom gagged. She looked at her daughter and said, “Did you not notice this stench?”

Granddaughter shrugged her shoulders with classic insouciance, as if she could deal with the rankest stench any day of the week and not even break a grimace.

Mom proved herself that day to be a woman of rare and stunning courage. She reached into that font of fetidity, that pouch of pong, and began to extract its contents one by one.

The culprit finally emerged, a plastic zipper-type bag containing mulched, two-week-old unwanted and very rotten egg yolk.

Holding my nose I carted it outside to the trash container. I then wiped that school bag down with disinfectant, sprayed it with an odor neutralizer and left it outside to air.

This was two weeks ago. This past week, we had the children on Wednesday. I picked them up from their bus stop in the next town, and brought them home—a drive of about twenty minutes. On Thursday afternoon I prepared to get into my car to go and fetch my beloved from work. The car had been closed and locked all day, the sun shining brightly—and hotly—upon it. I open the door, get in, and think...something stinks in here. But I was running late, so I just headed out. When I reached my destination forty minutes later, I got out of the car and opened the door to the back seat to investigate the source of this sour, rancid smell.

And discovered—courtesy of grandson this time I later learned—a plastic zipper-type bag containing liquefied, fermenting watermelon.

Grandma now has a new rule! No opening of school bags while in the car.


Feed the flames of your passion…with a novel by Morgan Ashbury

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