Return of summer brings Tom, Huck, and archaeological digs

Categorized as 06/06/11 Goshen News column

Holes have also appeared at the base of a pine tree, and they’ve been treasure hunting again.  Apparently, there’s something about the pinging of a metal detector that throws a boy’s imagination into overdrive.  After all, you never know.  Maybe there’s a long-forgotten stash from a Dillinger heist still waiting to be uncovered.  Perhaps a previous owner buried his life savings in the backyard and forgot about it.  A kid can hope, can’t he?  So far, all they have to show for their efforts is an old key and a rusty toy car with no wheels.  With everyone at home, a mother’s stress level is more volatile than normal.  The outdoors can be a dangerous place, and for some reason boys are not content to sit around coloring or spending hours in meaningful conversation.  They drop down out of trees onto trampolines.  They set off firecrackers in five-gallon buckets.  They carry a little brother and his ride-on train up an old, rickety ladder and then call for help, leaving a very small fellow looking down from a very high haymow.  Is it any wonder their mother feels like the poster girl for PTSD?  Then there’s the language barrier.  Clearly, I am speaking a foreign language; say, Swahili for instance, for all the response I get.  After one such day, I distinctly remember dialing up their father and saying, “Come quick.  Save your kids!”  When I explained to him that I was awarding him full custody on the spot, the snickering on his end stopped abruptly.  With one of them being a self-described “ravenous wolf at lunchtime, Mom,” I am doing my annual review of our security protocols.  Some ideas we’ve thrown around in the past have included a slavering Doberman and an ex-Fort Knox guard.  Lately I’ve been checking Consumer Report to get the lowdown on retinal scanners and voice recognition software.  Four times two is eight, and that’s a lot of hollow legs.  You can see why I’m only being prudent.  With such endless possibilities for fun, I’m ready for the poor, unsuspecting soul who dares to complain of boredom in my hearing.  I’ll say what I always say, “Then I’ve got some work for you to do.”  They’ll do what they always do – hit the back door at a dead run.  Inevitably, there is a slam before I can even put the period on the sentence.  Then I laugh to myself and exult in the fact that I’ve just bought another hour of peace and quiet.  And that’s summer at our house. 

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