Search

Greg Bardsley

Category

Autumn

The 6-year-old’s license to embellish

My oldest son Jack insists he’s telling the truth. His blue eyes are serious, and his lower lip is out. He doesn’t like it when I question his information.

Jack, you see, is six. And when it comes to the workings of the world, he’s more than happy to “add some color” — or as we adults call it, “bullshit.”

I ask, “You’re serious?”

“Daddy, I’m telling you — Dylan has caveman eyes.” He nods to his little brother, who listens intently. “Dylan’s eyes are like a cat’s. Like a caveman’s. He can see things in the dark that we can’t.”

Dylan is three. He listens, then looks at me with his enormous hazel eyes. “Yeah.”

I throw up my hands. “If you say so.”

***

The other week, the boys and I hiked through Edgewood Park. When you get to the top, you realize just how special this place is. It’s easy to imagine young lovers sitting on a blanket and taking in the sweeping views, or maybe a spiritualist sitting under an old oak, contemplating the meaning of life.

But with Jack, you’re pulling apart “wild-animal scat.”

Twigs become our instruments. Jack crouches on all fours to get a good look. “You see, Daddy. There’s no grass in this scat. It’s just all black, with some hair.” He pauses, thinking about it. “Wild-animal hair.” He looks up and scans the pristine hills. “This is carnivore scat.”

Dylan is between us. He looks at Jack, then at me. “Yeah, Daddy.”

I ask Jack to remind me what a carnivore is. For our naturalist son, it’s an easy question, but I can’t help myself.

“Daddy, a carnivore eats meat, and a herbivore eats vegetation, and an omnivore eats both.” He looks up to the clouds for a second then returns to look me in the eyes. “There’s also something called a threetavore.”

I wrinkle my brow. “A threetavore?”

“Daddy,” he says, throwing a hand into the air, “a threetavore is an animal that eats three things — meat, vegetation and something else.”

Dylan looks at Jack, then at me. “Yeah.”

“Wow,” I mumble. “Had no idea.”

***

This weekend we watched as our new cat, Tucker, sat on a window ledge and gazed at the squirrels on our fence. Only a flimsy screen separates our 6-month-old kitten from the puffed-out squirrels that have been fattening up on acorns from our oak tree. Tucker acts like he’s just escaped a 14th Century prison and is seeing a woman for the first time in 30 years. His mouth is open. His ears are perked. His eyes are wide. A chirping noise escapes from the base of his throat.

“Is Tucker a threetavore?” I ask.

Jack sighs and rolls his eyes. “Daddy, everyone knows cats are omnivores. They like meat, but they also like things like grass and vanilla ice cream and tuna.”

I open my mouth, then bite my lip. I think I’ll wait a little longer before pushing the matter. In Jack’s world, threetavores can exist a little longer.

I hereby declare ….

By the power invested in me, I hereby declare this day, Nov. 7, the end of the 2007 Guacamole Season.

As I sit here looking at the overcast skies, I am reminded that all good things must come to an end — the youthful beauty of a rose, the brilliance of a sunrise, the innocence of a child, and yes, even the wild success of a phenomenal guacamole season.

So as I reflect on the past year, I realize that I’ve grown. As many of you know, I learned this year to embrace the finer subtleties of the guacamole craft. I learned to use a little less of “this,” and a lot less of “that.” And thanks to a hotly contested guacamole showdown at work, I even added a new ingredient to my personal recipe (again, don’t ask; I ain’t gonna tell you).

But alas, the 2007 season is over. Two recent batches of guacamole came out very poorly, forcing two awkward and unsuccessful attempts at culinary improvisation at our household. Apparently, November avocados are best left for sandwiches and salads.

Yes, my children, soon the wind will come. The rain will fall. The frost will descend on the West Coast. Darkness will envelope us. But keep that chin up. One thing will lead to another, and before you know it, the warm months will return, the avocados will be ready, the salsa music will be shaking, the Tecate cans will be perspiring, and a new season will be upon us.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑