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Off Grid

Once upon a family vacation a long, long time ago, Nephew1 was watching Grandpa bring groceries from the car into the kitchen which was located on the second floor of their house. Nephew1 was about three years old and was watching the progress with fascination through the bars of the railing at the top of the stairs. 

On one of the trips, Grandpa bought a watermelon almost to the top of the stairs and then reached across to the landing and nudged it through the bars which were wide enough apart to accommodate a watermelon but not to allow a three-year-old to fall through. They were wide enough apart for Nephew1 to observe wonder what would happen if you gave a watermelon a little push through the bars to the ugly indoor-outdoor carpeting below.

Grandpa realized what Nephew1 was wondering a moment too late and yelled out a warning just as the watermelon began to plummet. The moral of that story is that thanks to curious three-year-olds ugly indoor-outdoor carpeting will never go completely out of style.

I tell that story because I have been conspicuously absent from my blog for the last week. Thanksgiving week – complete with a house full of guests and meals to plan for – required full focus. There was no time for art or stories, I thought.

The week started on Saturday with cleaning and the entire family was drafted for the duration of the weekend. Monday was the beginning of the shortened workweek, combined with holiday grocery shopping. Tuesday was for making beds, greeting the first wave of family, and doing a little pre-feast cutting. Wednesday the rest of the guests and my first book arrived.

The books, like my blog this week, sat in their box, ignored, for most of the afternoon while I got our slow cooker meal on the table and made sure cousins had pillows and enough blankets. It wasn’t till after dinner that I pulled a few copies out to look at and to share with the people who had inspired them.

Kids and grown-ups laughed as they recognized themselves and the chaos in the pages. After a few flips of the page, Thing1 asked if I was taking revenge on the kids. I leaned over to see which page he was on. He was reading “R is for Rumpus,” in which Nephew1 and Thing2 (who often seem to share a brainwave) were re-creating the watermelon incident. 

I thought about the weekend of cleaning and cooking and screaming laughter from the assembled cousins, and I answered him honestly, “No, I’m celebrating you.”

The stories and art hadn’t stopped because of the cleaning and preparation or the five course meal that was devoured minutes. They had just gone off grid, which happened to be the best place for them to grow and remind us of all the reasons we have to celebrate and give thanks.