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Jack Boyd memoirs

by Jack Boyd

edited by Gary Fuhrman and Jonah Winters.
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Chapter 10

Kids Say the Funniest Things

A compilation of "wisdom" out of the mouths of babes (mostly Jack and Eileen Boyd's children)

A small boy was standing beside his Aunt looking at a map in a shopping mall. There was an arrow on the map with a statement saying "You are here." He whispered suspiciously to his Aunt "How do THEY know?"


Since this is the International Year of the Family and since I have recently retired from my umpteenth career on what is intended to be a permanent basis, it seemed like a good time to work on something in which I have been interested for a long time. Over the years kids in my life have said and done the funniest things. I often wished that I had written down these pearls.

Every family has children who have done and said the funniest things and I thought it would be a good idea to collect some of these stories too. We will be travelling this year and spending time in the USA, Scotland and Madeira and it may give us a way of meeting new friends, networking, and sharing these life experiences.

Starting with our own family, since we know them best, my wife and I are searching our memory banks to rediscover these treasures.

We have a family of four, who are no longer children. Like most other families, they arrived one at a time. Unlike most families, two were adopted and two were born to us in the normal manner. Chronologically, we really had two pairs of children, the first two being born two years apart, then a six year gap, then two more. Jackie was the first to join the family, being born in 1959, and was the star of the show until we adopted Jim two years later. Jim was of Irish, Spanish, Russian, North American Indian, and Jamaican descent and was almost five years of age when he joined us. All of a sudden Jackie had an older brother, and from that day until they left home, they were trying to get each other in trouble. We made most of our mistakes with the first two children, and passed on the benefit of this learning experience to the next two. I suppose that is normal.

Eileen was adopted in 1965, at the age of two months, and Robert arrived two years later, the normal way.

When I first announced to the family that I planned to write a book on this subject it caused more excitement and nervous anticipation than when the kitten ate the prunes. The guilty parties were all saying among themselves, "I hope he doesn't write about that..."

Kids Say the Funniest Things

Jackie and I got off on the wrong foot from the start. Eileen's mother had come to Toronto from Scotland for the birth of our first child. Some things you never live down.... I am a really sound sleeper for the first few hours of the night and when Eileen tried to wake me at 1.30 am to take her to the hospital I mumbled "you go with your mother, I will see you there in the morning." Not an auspicious beginning, you will agree.

Jackie was a little red, wrinkled prune when she was born and for some strange reason, everyone agreed she looked just like me. Fortunately she grew out of this and became a very pretty, if fussy child. Jackie had her own opinion on everything and could never be convinced of anything that was not of her own invention. She had boundless energy and was bright, creative and completely tactless.

Waiting in the doctors office with a group of strangers Jackie went around carefully inspecting each person then announced to one unfortunate man, "My Daddy said I am not to say anything when someone has a big nose. It is not polite."

Jackie was in the bathtub and her mother was telling her about the grandmother she had in Scotland. Jackie looked herself and at the size of her mother and said "Your mother must be real big."

Jackie came to me one day, upset. A baby tooth had fallen out and she had lost it. What would happen with the Tooth Fairy? I suggested that she draw a picture of the tooth and put that under her pillow. When she awoke in the morning there was a picture of a quarter under her pillow. The Tooth Fairy was not as generous in those days.

One time I told Jackie that I was going to plant lollipops in the garden. I showed her a packet of seeds with a picture of tulips on it. Neither she nor Jim believed me. That night I bought a string of a hundred lollipops, separated them and stuck them all over the garden. The next morning not only did Jim and Jackie believe me, but dozens of believers from all over town showed up to ask if they could have one too.

A similar thing happened when we discovered a circle of toadstools in a field. I told them it was a Fairy Circle, and they did not believe that either. The next day we went back and there were all these little chocolate eggs wrapped in aluminum foil. We took them away, but the kids were very anxious that the Fairies might be mad and take their revenge. Maybe they did.

Jackie was a terrible singer and when her Grandmother came for a visit, she decided to entertain, by singing a song.

"A turtle travels slowly, his house upon his back, And you would travel slowly too, if you had such a pack." The song was a real dirge, sung wildly off key, and Mother and Grandmother were stifling laughter, unsuccessfully. Jackie scowled at them as she thought about this insult. "You can laugh Mother, she said,"but she can't."

When Jackie first learned to read she found, on a pack of corn flakes that she could send away for a book. She absolutely insisted that she had to send two box tops and her name and a dress!

She accompanied me on a trip to the Veterinarian's to get shots for our West Highland Terrier. When the Vet came in she started to cry. The Vet reassured her that the shots would not really hurt the dog, but that was not why she was crying. She thought that the Dog Doctor would be another dog.

One Halloween she got our dog Charlie dressed up in a T-shirt, scarf, hat and a pair of pants and he went off cheerfully to trick or treat. Charlie had a great time and was given several treats including a bone. The pants did not work out so good as they impaired his natural functions but we had a difficult time later, persuading him to part with the T-shirt.

We attended a small fund raising auction one time where people donated things of small value and then everyone bid on them. She was sitting on the knee of a family friend across the room from us and a ball pen was being auctioned. The bidding stood at seventy five cents when I heard Jackie's voice across the room shout "Ten bucks!"

One day Jackie saw the Easter Bunny. There was no question about it, and she could not be persuaded otherwise. She was lying on her bed at the time. I asked her how big it was and she said it was about my size. I asked her where she saw it and she told me it came through her door and went under her bed. I asked where it was now and she said that it was still there. She and I both looked carefully but it was definitely not there any more. She insisted that it must have disappeared because the Easter Bunny can do that.

Jim came to us when we lived in Niagara Falls, Ontario. At the time we were sharing a large house with another Bahá'í family, the Edmonds, who had two children about the same age as the two we had at the time. John Edmonds took the whole gang to the circus and when they came home they were totally overwhelmed. They had quite enjoyed the acrobats and the clowns and the elephants performing balancing tricks, but the big event had been when an elephant performed a natural function. They were amazed beyond words.

Jennifer Edmonds was a small, serious, black haired beauty, about four years old. To the consternation of some fussy people, I introduced her to drawing on the haze produced by water vapour on the kitchen windows. She had drawn a strange looking picture but seemed surprised when I had to ask what it was. She seemed to think that it was self evident. "It's a kangarufus, of course" she replied.

One night her dad John said he was taking the dog, Shane, out for a walk up past the high school. Jennifer wanted to know why he was doing that. John told her that it was so Shane could go to the toilet. "I didn't know that's where dogs toilets are," said Jennifer.

Timothy Edmonds was about two years old and wildly funny. He was asked at a Bahá'í gathering if he would say a prayer, and he recited one which he had been memorizing. It was a beautiful moment, coming from one so young, and everyone was moved. When he finished, Timmy said "Now everybody clap." Timmy was crazy about toy guns, and when his mother Joyce was tucking a sleepy Timmy into bed, he asked for a kiss. Joyce gave him a special hug and a kiss. "Not you," said Timmy,"I want to kiss my rifle."

The Bab and Abdul Baha are two central figures in the Bahá'í Faith. Although they were barely contemporaries, since Abdul Baha was only six years old when the Bab was martyred, both were definitely on the same side, and peaceful men. Timmy asked for a bedtime story. "Which one do you want?" he was asked. "Tell me the one about Abdul Baha and how he shot the Bab," said Timmy.

I told Jim about Niagara Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Two hundred feet high, two hundred feet deep, passing a gazillion gallons of water each hour of every day. People come from all around the world to see it. I drove Jim to the brink of the Falls, a very impressive spot. He asked "What's falling?" I said "Water." He said "Big deal," and that was that.

One day there was a tremendous banging from the kids room and I shouted up to Jim, "What are you doing?" He said "Nothing." I shouted "What are you doing it with?" He replied "A hammer."

Jim in fact was making an elevator and had a rope around a cardboard box with Jackie inside it and he planned to hoist her up to the top bunk of their bunk beds. I got to the room just in time, as he was using a hammer and a chisel to make a window in the box and Jackie was on the inside of the window.

Jim never did very well at school but was always optimistic. I remember him bringing home a miserable report card with Cs and D's and remarks about having to try harder, and throwing it on the table triumphantly, saying "Take a look at that." The things that Jim did best at school was showing up regularly and recess.

One day Jim came rushing home from school in a state of great excitement. "Guess what the teacher told me!" he shouted. "There are three types of people in the world. Cascausoid, Negroloid, and Mongreloid, and I am Cascausoid."

When we moved to Niagara on the Lake, there was a little guy named Stevie who lived nearby and was about six. Stevie was small and had red hair and freckles. Jackie was five and Jim was seven at this time, and it was Christmas Day. I watched Stevie leave his house wearing a pair of boxing gloves and with another pair slung over his shoulder. We could see what he got for Christmas. He headed directly for our house, knocked at the door, and asked me the big question "Is Jacquelynn coming out to play?"

I was always a sports fan and watched, at this time, a lot of the Olympic trials to pick the various teams that were going to the Tokyo Olympic games. On afternoon we heard a lot of rumbling and crashing and falling noises accompanied by shouts and laughter. After a while I asked them what they were doing. "We are having bum fights to see who goes to Pinocchio." Their version of Olympic competition was to start at opposite corners of the room and charge backwards on all fours, crashing into each other, the victor being the one left upright.

When Disney released a hot new film, Mary Poppins, Mother thought that the children should get to see it. We both remembered seeing earlier Disney films in our own childhood, Snow White, Bambi, and Pinocchio. The film had not been released in Canada yet, so we made a special trip to Buffalo, New York. This involved considerable driving in Friday night traffic, parking, dining out, and losing out on the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar. All in all it was an expensive and nerve wracking trip. The kids' opinion of the show afterwards was that it was "O.K., not bad." The next day they went to see an old Disney release at a children's matinee in downtown Niagara on the Lake. They walked to the show and had change left over from the quarter they each had with them. On returning home they assured us that The Lady And The Tramp was much better than Mary Poppins.

Jim was not as fashion conscious as Jackie but was more open to being told what to wear. If he did not know, he improvised. One day we found that he had dressed normally on the outside, but underneath was wearing a vest and another vest upside down for underpants. He said he could not find any underpants.

Jackie had a definite taste in clothes which was very strange and with her skinny legs and large feet she often left the house resembling Minnie Mouse.

Jackie enjoyed the Saturday morning cartoons and decided that she wanted to marry Mighty Mouse when they both grew up.

Jim and Jackie developed their own vocabulary which we adopted within the family. We remember in a restaurant in Yellowknife sniggering because a man said "Hamburger" instead of "Hangieburger.

When we were discussing the possibility of adding to our family, we asked them what colour of baby should we get. Jackie said "Purple." Jim said "White." When asked why he said that all the other guys would not stand around laughing at him on his first day at school. This was the first major indication that he had been the subject of racism.

Eileen was an accident. She was born on the Arctic coast in a place called Inuvik, in Canada's Northwest Territories. Eileen's natural mother, Elizabeth was Inuit and about 22 years of age when Eileen was born. Her father was a sailor in the Canadian navy who was stationed in Inuvik for a period of time. I was travelling by plane for a job interview at Giant Yellowknife Mines Ltd., and sitting next to me in the plane was a social worker from Inuvik. When she heard that we had been involved in interracial adoption she told me of a very nice Inuit girl who was going to have a baby and would probably be putting it up for adoption. When my wife Eileen heard about this she was very excited and we decided that we would like to have this new addition to our family.

The new addition arrived in early December, 1965 with a bag of clothes and a few sentences on a page of instructions. A new car comes with more than that. Even a tin opener or a Tilley hat has more of an owners manual. Eileen was just two months old and very pretty. However she had a figure problem, being so fat that when you placed her on her tummy she was a bit like a rocking horse and her head and feet did not reach the ground. Eileen was a happy baby, almost a perfect one. She woke up smiling and was glad to see anyone, anytime. As she became mobile she trimmed down and changed from being portly to being solid. She made friends easily and charmed everyone who came into her life.

When Eileen was small, I took her shopping with me and we stopped for a break at the cafeteria at a Woolco store. When I came to her table with our treats on a tray, I noticed she was already eating something. I asked her what it was, she reached under the table, retrieving some second hand chewing gum that was parked there, and said "Have some. There's lots here."

One morning in Yellowknife Eileen came down the stairs from her bedroom and I noticed that, as kids will do, she had her shoes reversed. "You have your shoes on the wrong feet." I told her. "No, I don't," she replied. Eileen always had good reasons for her viewpoint, so I pursued the argument to see where it would lead. "Yes, you do," I replied brilliantly. "No, I don't." She stuck by her opinion. "Your shoes are on the wrong feet," I said even more convincingly, but she shot down all my arguments. "These are my feet!"

Eileen used to love to answer the phone, picking up the receiver in a businesslike manner and saying "Luho." When asked what her name was she would reply, "Jim."

When Eileen was three or four we bought an old farm on Manitoulin Island. It was a hundred acres with about thirty acres of bush and maple trees, thirty acres of hay which a neighbour took in exchange for a steer each fall, and the rest was unused pasture. We had a barn, a blacksmith shop, a wonderful old maple shack, and an old stone farmhouse, but no farm animals. None.

We held a party at our house shortly after buying the farm and a guest was chatting with Eileen. "It is really nice that you have a farm," said the guest. "Do you have any animals on your farm?" "Yes," replied a serious Eileen. I could not wait to hear what might come next. "What kind of animals do you have," asked the guest. "Mice," said Eileen.

"I am going to draw," announced Eileen one day. "What are you going to draw," I asked. "I am going to draw God," said Eileen. I was most anxious to see this picture. She sat quietly for some time. "Go ahead," I prompted her. Eileen started to cry. "What's wrong," I asked her anxiously. "I don't have any grey crayons," she replied.

"I am going fishing," Eileen told me. "How are you going to do that?" I asked her. "Take me to the lake," she instructed. I took her to a jetty on the edge of Great Slave Lake. "What do you do now," I asked her. "I get a rope and throw it in," she informed me. I gave her a piece of rope about ten feet long. She threw it in the water, all of it. "What happens now?" I asked her." There was a long pause, then Eileen started to cry.

Like Eileen, Robert too was an accident. He was born in the Stanton Yellowknife Hospital in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories on October 1, 1967. His birth coincided with Canada's Centennial year, which was very considerate of him as it helped his parents remember when he was born.

At the ripe age of 18 months he entered a "walkathon" which was organized to raise money for charity and managed to "walk his age" completing a mile and a half at a year and a half. Towards the end of his monumental effort as he was losing interest, his mother enticed him to keep going by walking just ahead of him and holding his bottle out, like the carrot for the donkey.

This Machiavellian theme of motivation by bribery that my wife Eileen demonstrated was to be a recurring theme in our family as I suppose it was in Machiavelli's. It came more naturally to Eileen and I think she was marginally better at it.

Bottles also featured strongly in Robert's early career. When Robert was a very small boy he used to get up through the night, come into our bedroom and whack me smartly on the head with his bottle, communicating his wish for a refill. It did not take long for me to insist that we switch to lightweight plastic bottles. The outside of the bed may be a macho position but is not always a safe place to sleep.

The terrible two's were an exciting time for Robert, and I well remember trying to pick up the corn flakes he had spilled while he moved on to the sugar and rice. As he grew a little older he started getting himself up in the morning and his favourite attire was a cowboy hat and boots and his plastic bottle. When we were on vacation at the farm, this was not a problem, but at home we often had to retrieve him before he went out to greet the neighbours.

From this Robert progressed to regular clothes, though he always had the feet of his socks trailing behind him as he sped through the house in his Superman cape. Robert was so uncoordinated that we had on many occasions to take him to the emergency for stitches. If all of these stitches still showed, Robert's head would now look like a baseball. It is hard to believe that this funny little guy became, among other things, a fashion model, with a black belt in karate.

When Robert started being able to move around on two feet without training wheels, we had some new concerns. The house we lived in at Giant Yellowknife Mines was in an rocky area and was surrounded by small cliffs. In order to enable Robert to play outside in the brief but pleasant summer, after the worst of the mosquitoes and blackflies were gone, we decided that I should build a fence around our small lawn. As an inexperienced carpenter it took considerable effort to gather up suitable material and working in the rocky terrain finally erect a fence that was reasonably strong and more or less vertical. It was constructed of four by four fence posts with two by fours along the top as an upper railing and the whole thing was enclosed with chicken wire. It took so many attempts to get it completed that it became a source of interest and amusement to our neighbours, Malcolm and Penny Lye, who were from Australia.

Once the fence was finished we popped Robert outside with his toys to play. After about ten minutes we received a telephone call from the Lye's who were in hysterics laughing about something. Eventually I understood that they wanted me to look out of my window, and when we looked, there was Robert standing on tiptoe beside a fencepost, reaching one foot away over his head, hooking his heel on the upper railing and then hoisting himself over and off to freedom. I should have made a chicken wire roof too.

Robert always was, and still is a very dreamy person, but has always had the ability to really focus on things that caught his interest.

We moved to Northern Ontario when Robert was almost two years old, and he quickly settled in to a new lifestyle. Interacting with Robert, we would point out items of interest to him as we drove around. Since there were no trains in the Yellowknife area, we would often say, "Guess what, Robert," and one common answer would be that we had spotted a chu-chu train which he could not see at his lower vantage point. For a long time Robert's answer to any "guess what" question was a shout of "Chu-Chu train." Robert became very good at signalling to the engineer and getting him to blow the train whistle. Eventually this skill extended to passing transport trucks too, and on any trip our lives were punctuated with whistle and horn blasts.

At this point Robert decide to become a paleontologist, and at a most early age began to spout off the lengthy names of many dinosaurs to the astonishment of many. He was very serious about this and not just trying to impress.

We decided that Robert should learn to skate and took him to a rink where he stumped around pushing a chair to keep him upright most of the time. When the Falconbridge Winter Carnival arrived Robert could get around without the chair. Just. For his age group they had a race that was one lap around the rink. The only other competitor was from the McCourt family who had the famous George Armstrong, Captain of Toronto's Maple Leafs as an uncle. It also produced a brother, Dale McCourt who went on to play for Team Canada and Detroit Red Wings. This was a hockey family. Their little guy could skate. When these two lined up for the big race, there was real excitement and when the starters pistol went off, young McCourt was off like a greyhound and whipped around the course in no time flat, and the race was over before Robert got to the first bend. Robert could not glide, in fact his ankles would not hold him up so he stumped around the course on his ankles with tiny quick steps and only fell a few times getting around to great cheers from the crowd. When he finished he was handed a prize of two quarters. He looked at this in wonderment. "Did I win?" he asked. Robert was so delighted with this victory that he could not wait to get home and left the Carnival, walking home with his skates still on and a great long scarf trailing behind him. He banged at the door and when his mother answered he stuck out his hand with the two quarters in it and said "Look at that, fifty bucks." Then he was off to Hodge's Store to spend it before he might wake up and find it was all a dream.

After this great event it was decided that Robert should start playing hockey. He joined a league of little guys who had some very patient and loving coaches and officials. Robert was not only the worst skater on any team, he was not very interested either. The games lasted a long time and Robert was not interested in who was winning or what the score was. He started off all right but after a while when he fell down he let his stick slide across the ice and just lay there reflecting on life in general and eventually someone would pick him up and give him his stick again. His Grandfather, Jim MacPhee, who came over from Scotland on a visit was taken to see Robert in one of his games and he had to be helped off the floor. He laughed so hard, he fell off his seat.

We decided that what was needed was some motivation, so we promised Robert that if he scored a goal we would give him a big bag of Smarties. That was the magic key. From then on Robert was desperate to score a goal, and as soon as the whistle went he made for the opposite goal where he hung on to the post with one hand and waited for someone to knock the puck in his direction. This caused great agitation to the goalkeeper who kept appealing to the referee to take him away. Each time play was stopped, someone would pick up Robert at the goal crease and place him in his position before the game could restart. One time he almost got that goal, but hockey was not to be his forte and he retired from the league at the age of five without a pension.

On one occassion Mother decided to introduce the family to the principles of budgetting. She carefully worked out a grocery budget and was determined that we would not exceed this limit. Towards the end of the month we ran out of peanut butter, and Eileen took this opportunity to explain to Robert how the budget worked and that with one week left in the month we had to conserve our remaining funds for emergencies only. Robert looked anguished. "We are out of peanut butter," he said. "This is an emergency!"

While Robert was still in his Superhero phase we received a visit from my sister Isobel and her husband Paul. She had made a wonderful Superman cape for Robert and he entered another world, only joining us at meal times. Further assisting him in his efforts to save the planet, his sister Eileen drew a web on his face using a red ball pen, so he could be Spiderman for a change. It took a lot of painful scrubbing to reclaim Spiderman from Metropolis.

Eileen had a pretty good relationship with Robert from the start but often resolved their daily differences with a sharp elbow in the belly, quickly followed by a beautiful smile and "Sorry." Eileen always was the natural athlete that Robert longed to be, and could beat any boy on the school bus at wrist wrestling.

Each used to inform on the other when someone was not eating their broccoli, accompanied by muttered threats of violence. They still do at family get togethers. Both used to slip uninviting morsels from their plates to Charlie, the West Highland terrier, under the table. From an early age they harmonized rather nicely singing The Aardvark Song.

We took Robert and Eileen to Cornwall, Ontario to visit our friends, the Bowies. While there we took them to a place where they could play mini-golf, and at this place there was a great deal of excitement since the people who operated this business had just acquired a beautiful large grey parrot. A substantial crowd was gathered around including Robert and Eileen to see this wonderful parrot. Joining the group I spoke to the bird, in a friendly manner, "Hello, Parrot." The parrot replied without hesitation, "Hello, stupid." I hate playing second banana to a lower life form.

I had a library card which I seldom used personally, and yet I have been blackballed for life from the library system. Sometimes I suspect my phone is tapped and that I am being shadowed by the Library Cops as they attempt to get back Babar Goes To Sea. I also received several letters threatening to confiscate my eye glasses.

Robert loved animals. We bought him a white Persian cat for a birthday. He wanted to name it Tiger, but settled for Snowball. He dearly loved this cat, which barely tolerated him. When the cat scratched him one day, Robert was heard to plaintively say, "Call yourself a pet?" He did much better with other name choices, with a canary which he named Luke Skywalker and another called Sunshine Charlie. Snowball eventually ate both of them. One previous cat was called Big Eyeball Pete, which his parents insisted be shortened to just plain Pete. Snowball, whose miserable temperament was probably due to being sick, wandered away from home one day, never to return. Robert always suspected me of foul play. Still does.

When Robert first went to school it opened new dimensions to his life and he was greatly impressed by David Jewell, whom he described as "the best swearer in school." Robert was always disorganized and slow, even pokey, at doing anything, and we often had to send out a search party for him as he wandered home from school, sliding down snowbanks, and watching construction sites.

One of his early teachers seemed not to like Robert. He described her as having "angry eyes." A few days into his first term he showed up at home with his shoes under his arm, as he could not get them on and everyone had left school. Robert now teaches Grade Three in a public school in North York, near Toronto, and makes every effort to ensure that everyone goes home with their shoes on. Pupils, teachers, principal, secretaries, and custodial staff, all leave with shoes. Every day.

My wife Eileen was disturbed that Robert was not applying himself. He was always a dreamy child and his teachers were saying that he was not achieving the results of which he was capable. Eileen also thought that every child had major dreams and that at least one should be realized. That is how I ended up with a horse living in my garage, but that is another story ... Combining these themes, she had long discussions with Robert and found out that a major dream was to own a motorbike. Thank God it was not an elephant.

We struck a deal with Robert that he had to accumulate points by virtuous deeds and applying himself to schoolwork, and when he had a massive number of points we would purchase for him a motorbike. The transformation in Robert was amazing. He was up in the morning at first call, volunteering for domestic chores and really applying himself at school. For a time he was unrecognizable, although after each activity he was asking how many points he got for that one.

Eventually the great day came and we brought home a tiny mini bike. A fifty cc Honda, bright yellow and second hand. Robert was in seventh heaven, and cut a fine figure driving around the back yard and the local arena. Robert grew to be very tall and did not seem to notice when he was towering over his minibike, and riding it with his knees tucked up around his ears.

One birthday when he was at high school, his mother arranged a major surprise for him. She had told Robert that she was going to have to get rid of his bike as it was too small. A half ton truck pulled into the driveway and a young mechanic emerged and asked Robert if he would help him load the minibike into his truck. Sadly Robert helped with the task and then the young fellow got him to help unload a brand new trail bike, full size. "Who is this for?," asked Robert timidly. The young mechanic looked officiously at his papers. "It is for a Robert Boyd," he said in an Oscar-worthy performance.

When my daughter Eileen was pregnant with Joshua, she liked to listen to music, and her favourite was the new Paul Simon Album, Graceland which he made with backup from those wonderful singers and dancers from South Africa, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. When Joshua was born, he had us laughing right away as he started boogieing any time he heard this music on the radio or television, even as a tiny baby. When he became mobile we bought the video cassette and he jumped and danced to it for a long time before he developed a more sophisticated taste for Raffi.

Joshua was a skinny little guy to start with, but has made up for that as time passed. He is an affectionate, gentle, and kindly person, but he comes up with the most unexpected statements.

To some extent Joshua proves the law of Karma, or what is nowadays expressed as what goes around, comes around. He appeared one day with his shoes reversed. I told him, "Your shoes are on the wrong feet." He said, "That's the way I like them."

Eileen's future husband Jody had a temporary job with CN Railway, and his duties included travelling up a Northern Ontario railway line and bringing supplies to work crews who were stationed there. I asked Joshua what Jody's job was and he told me that he went away in a train. I asked him whose train it was he and he told me it was Jody's. What did he do on the train, I pursued. He brings pop and doughnuts to the workers, I was informed, then he comes home. What does he do at home? He buys more pop and doughnuts with his own money to bring to the workers. Nice guy.

One day something strange occurred. Jody took Joshua into a doughnut shop and the usually peaceable Joshua had got into a fight with another little boy. A real scuffle. Jody had tried to find out but had still no idea what had caused it. I had a quiet chat with Joshua. It went something like this.

"I hear you went to Tim Horton's today."


"And you got into an argument with a little boy."

"He was real bad."

"What did he do that was bad?"

"He wouldn't share his doughnut."

Some years after the fight in the doughnut shop, this same story was told to Joshua, but he had no recollection of it happening. He thought about it for some time and then went off to bed. An hour later a sleepy voice came from the darkness of his bedroom. "Mum?" "Yes dear?" "Did I win?"

One day I asked Joshua a philosophical question. "If you had all the money in the World," I asked, "what would you do with it?" "I'd buy a big bag of potato chips," said he.

One day as I was driving along with him as my passenger, he was gazing out of the window from the vantage point of a baby chair. "When you die, I am going to get your car," he suddenly announced. "Are you?" I replied brilliantly. "Yes, and I am going to drive it much faster than you do," he said.

When his mother was pregnant with a new baby sister and she and Jody were trying to break the news to him, they asked "How would you like a little baby brother or sister?." Joshua replied "No thanks, I already have a hamster, that is enough pets."

For his birthday we gave Joshua a lovely Himalayan kitten. All white and fluffy with grey socks, tail and ears, known as a seal point. Joshua was given the job of picking a name. He called it Shadow. My brother Bob, on a visit from Scotland teased Joshua about the name. "It's a white cat," he pointed out. How can you call it Shadow?" Josh stared off into space for a long time, thinking about this. "It will get darker," he finally said.

Joshua came bursting into our house last night. "I am not playing with Jake anymore," he said. "He believes in fairy stories." What did he do, we wondered. "He says that there is no Santa Claus." "What do you think?" his grandmother parried, stalling for time. "If there was no Santa Claus, why would the stores be open so late around Christmas?" said Josh. "Jake is telling fairy stories, and I am not going to play with him."

Joshua saw the Disney Studios movie, The Lion King, and was most enthusiastic about it. We received a garbled version of the plot involving lions, elephants and hyenas. This involved some bad hynanas who went into the elephants gravy yard and concluded with them being told by the Lion King "If you never come back, I'll kill you."

Joshua spotted a small Bible at our house with a gold cross on it. "I know what that is for," announced Joshua, "that is to keep the vampires away."

While spending the weekend with us, Josh asked if he could borrow my nail clippers for his toe nails. I had a very nice manicure set, gold plated and monogrammed, so I loaned clippers to him with dire warnings to be careful with them and to be sure to return them. He promised to be careful but a short time later confessed to his Grandmother that while cutting his nails in the toilet, he had dropped the clippers down the toilet bowl! He could still see them, so his Grandmother loaned him a long spoon to try to retrieve the missing clippers. Some time later he appeared triumphant waving the clippers. His Grandmother said "I guess the spoon worked then." Josh said "No. I had to get them the old fashioned way!"


Well, this is the end of this story. Stories come to an end but families continue and life goes on. No doubt Joshua has more to add and his sisters, little Alisha and Samantha are now starting to talk. Just last week my wife dropped me off at the automotive garage. "Where has Poppa gone?" asked Alisha. "He has gone to pick up his car," replied Eileen. "Poor Poppa," said Alish. "That must be heavy."

Robert is now married and I can't wait to see his and Rita's children. As children grow they do and say wilder and funnier and more creative things than anyone could think of. The most inventive and talented writer could not write the script for an average child growing up, they would be outclassed by the reality. One can only try to observe, remember and write the stories so others can share in such precious moments.

Thank you for sharing these ones with me.

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