June 2020 . . . .


     By now this should come as a surprise to no one, but when I was a shirt-tail lad, as my grandpa used to call me, I wasn’t the best-behaved child. Case in point, one Friday evening my dad was relaxing in his chair, reading the paper, when he was informed that he had to drive Mom to a meeting at church, so all of us had to pile into the VW bus we owned — our only car. My sisters and I were already in pajamas, on the floor in the gray glow of the TV before bedtime. Let’s go, he said. But Dad, we’re watching! I groaned generously on behalf of the children in the family. Let’s go, he repeated quietly, his single prescribed unit of patience expended. My sisters extended me silent, single shakes of their heads, and got up from their spots, so naturally I thought it best to repeat But Daaaaadd . . . ! with more emphasis. Now, he barked — the Dad trump-card which warned off any future argument by sane individuals. Aww, Dad, I said anyway, because getting the last word when you’re not getting your way is an ancient debate tactic and also because I do not reside in the quartile marked “sane individuals with a good bead on reading someone’s mood” on any quadrant-chart. I got the not-one-more-word-Dad-glare I deserved. Wear your slippers, my mom said helpfully as we herded outside.

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