Fox Puppy

Her grandparents came back from a vacation out west with this backpack with all these whack-a-mole holes containing little animals.

She announced that they were all ‘puppies’.

So we had a bear puppy, a ram puppy, a chipmunk puppy and a fox puppy.

For several days’ they had to all accompany her whereever and so there was a roll call because inevitably one would go missing.

I was in another room when I heard her say: ‘Where’s F**K puppy?’


She just said THE WORD!

I hasten to where she is.

‘What did you just say?’

‘F**k puppy, where’s F**K puppy?’

‘Ooooooh! Fox puppy!’

So she says it again.  The word ‘fox’ was banned in the house for a time.  W’ed say ‘volpine’ or something else.

We must be reminded that when I was a similar age, I described a heavy duty work vehicle as a ‘Fruck’ my own parents must have been none too tickled by that!

I recall Holden announcing at breakfast: ‘Some people say F**K.’ And both of us trying to explain why four-year-olds NEVER say that word.


‘Look, there are words you just DON’T say, ok?’

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Throwin’ Shade

So, early on if my daughter didn’t know you or decided she had forgotten you or was generally displeased with you, she had this dirty look she’d give.

We called it ‘throwin’ shade.’ I’m assuming the parlance comes from my wife’s time in the South Florida library system.  She could have written a hilarious blog about all the shenanigans that went on down there.  Like when the kids would come to the desk and tattle that someone was ‘crackin’ on their momma’ and she had to threaten to suspend the next kid that cracked on someone’s momma . . .

So the grandparents would get shade, total strangers . . . us.

You’d have to try to make her laugh to break the spell, but sometimes this would cause the shade to deepen, like she was going to stare a hole through whoever the unlucky person was . . .

We have to have a picture of it somewhere . . . just can’t locate it.

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After ‘mamma’ and ‘dadda,’ one of the first things Esme said was ‘okee.’

Any suggestion: ‘Time to go.’


‘Time to change your diaper.’


You get the idea. Everyting was ‘okee.’

She pronounced ‘Holden’ as ‘Holdo’

We were at breakfast one day and I said to my wife: ‘Where’s Holden?’

Esme walks into the next room and bellows: ‘HOOOLDOOO!!!!’

He was, literally, in the next room.

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Crossing the Bar

My wife’s grandpa passed away in his early nineties.  He grew up in a rough part of St. Louis.  I’ve written in an older post about the gangster William ‘Dint’ Colbeck (1890-1943) who Grandpa’s dad had worked for.  He was on a rescue tug in World War II and told tales of how the Texans would steal everyone’s underwear, the officer that wanted to paint everything white, how they saved a boatload of Russian women and the harbor defense in Frisco wouldn’t open the Golden Gate for them.

I actually tracked down a picture of his boat after the war.  It became a tuna boat called The Scarlet Queen, we framed the picture for him and he seemed to really enjoy it.

At the funeral, I got up and read some of the stanzas from ‘Anchors Aweigh.’  I didn’t know that was a college fight song!  I left off that verse.  Then I read Tennyson’s

Crossing the Bar

Sunset and evening star,

And one clear call for me!

And may there be no moaning of the bar,

When I put out to sea.

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam,

When that which drew from out the boundless deep’

Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark!

And may there be no sadness of farewell,

When I embark

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place

The flood may bear me far,

I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crost the bar.

Out in the Fort Snelling cemetery, a rifle team from Rochester, I think did the twenty one gun salute, seeing the brass drop and smelling cordite always takes me back to my own military experience.  It was very moving and I was sad he crossed the bar . . .


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Lost Time Part II McGuire’s Way

I know I’m skipping ahead a bit, but I don’t really want to go into a ton of detail about quitting my last job.  It was a dirty company that employed nasty methods and in about a six week period we’d all been sick.  You’d get a day off on occasion but everyone else in the house was sick.  My wife’s grandpa was in a hospice.  I’ll probably write a quick post called

‘Crossing the Bar’

About when he passed away, but we were all miserable and I skipped work twice.  This was after my boss wouldn’t let me off for the funeral-they actually had to schedle it on my day off!!

But calling out was an unforgivable sin.  Those guys didn’t call out.  There was an incident illustrating it beautifully: One of the drivers was too sick to work, got in his truck and couldn’t finish his route, he had to be rescued by another driver and taken to the E. R.

The other guy finished his route!

So you weren’t allowed to be sick and I was punished, harassed in the weeks after and I put in my two weeks . . .

I felt bad because the people on my route were good people, country people, it was like going back in time driving through all those towns . . .

But I figured sometimes you have to choose between a paycheck and your family and I’d choose my family every time.

So, two weeks notice and I was on the job hunt again.

Next time: ‘Crossing the Bar’

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Just recalled this little anecdote . . .

We’d gone to Holden’s preschool conference.  We were a little anxious because sometimes the teacher won’t recommend that your kid start kindergarten.  She glowed with praise and said something like: ‘If I tell him he can’t do something, he explains in great detail why he should . . . some other kids will say awful things in response . . .’

I did witness this woman dealing with another kid, can’t remember what he said, seemed innocuous, but she looked at the kid, mean, and said: ‘We’re NOT saying that word!’

Meanest I’d ever seen her . . .

But at one point she said:’I can tell you two have been to college because Holden uses words . . . well with lots of syllables . . .’

So I couldn’t help myself,

At home we were talking about it and I said: ‘Esteemed one, these hirsute, domesticated quadropeds can be quite irritating at times!’

Meaning the cats . . .

Holden thought that was hilarious!

More soon . . .

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In Search of Lost Time

A Proust allusion? At the backlogg? Proust, really?  I’ve read Proust, actually, tried to reread it when Holden was small. Believe it or not, seven interconnected stream of consciousness novels requires too much time and attention when you have a one year old!

So I have a whole string of ideas after the lost time alluded to, so maybe I should just skip ahead . . .

I popped awake with this awful incident we had with a neighbor kid that I’m not going to go into.  Most of the kids around here are fine.  They of course, wake up one day and decide they don’t like your kid for a day or so, but that’s pretty typical.

I was sort of in limbo at the time anyway, I’d put in for this route sales job and been accepted, it took several months to actually get me on the route.

Once on the route I pulled in resolution and began to doubt . . .

I learned a lot of interesting things out in Western Minnesota.  Bonnie and Clyde robbed the bank in Okabena.  I talked to someone who said an older gentleman from her church remembered standing on the school steps as the gang shot up the town!

The good people of St. James and Madelia put together a posse and tracked down the Youngers who had split from the James gang after fleeing Northfield after that disastrous raid.  I got out a map and tried to figure out how they got from Northfield all the way to the middle of nowhere near St. James.  Via Mankato, of course!  The James brothers were still with them and there was a little shootout at Minneopa which has a famous double waterfall . . .

Knut Hamsun, a Norwegian author, who won the 1920 Nobel Prize for Literature worked in the area and lived mostly in Madelia.  I tracked down his most famous novel and a short story he wrote about the James-Younger Gang . . .

The main thing I learned though, was that route sales was NOT for me, but more on that later.

Thanks for reading!

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