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Home With The Kids

Lucky Garvin
Lucky Garvin

From very many moons ago . . .

After two weeks at Fork Union Military Academy, son Chester did the unthinkable. He sent his mother a letter. We opened the envelope and, for a moment, we thought the page was blank. But no. There were 9 lines and about 37 words.

 He brings us up to date as follows:  It’s tough there. He likes it there. He misses his mom. His feet hurt.

Unconfirmed reports have it that following this exhaustive literary outpouring, Chester had to be rushed to the infirmary. However, a shot of B-12 and various restoratives set him back on his feet, in the dorm, saluting everything in sight.

His mom is doing much better about not calling the school to check on him. [She’s down to seven calls a day.] A true improvement.

However, we learned something of interest during her last phone call. After a week of training, the cadets are now subject to DEMERITS. Seems like Chester has done well. He’s gotten only four demerits this week.

All for the same thing.

“Failure to follow instructions.”

“Chester, please put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, not the broom closet.”  “Oh yeah, I forgot.” 

“Chester, the Public Health Department and the EPA are at the front door about your room. When are you going to clean it?” 

“After ‘while.”

“Chester, isn’t it time to clean the hamster’s cage? He’s in there hallucinating.” “When my TV show is over.”

Failure to follow directions? Chester!?


It began innocently enough; another lesson in the deviousness of children. Sons Cailan and step-son Chester; future stars of `America’s Most Wanted’; Hitler Youth.

“Can we buy some fireworks? We’ll need them for the Fourth of July.” It was February. That purchase had as much in common with the Fourth of July as high mass has with a hootenanny.

I fell for it, hook, line and bass boat. That evening, I was invited – politely, but not urgently – to come set off fireworks. Soon, the boys were outside working with an abandon that promised great things. Not long thereafter, they were disturbing the peace. I gave them what I felt was a most competent scolding. They evidently disagreed, for the next evening they were at it again; and the next; and the next.

Hopeless I can live with. But this was ridiculous; time for parental interdiction.

I called them into the room. Time to show these young’ns where the bear went through the buckwheat! They arrived in front of me looking like they’d been herded in at gunpoint. “No more noise!” [Turns out, this warning made as much sense as rubber landing gear.]

Fine, so they started setting off noiseless smokers from the crawlspace under the patio deck. Smoke from their fireworks filtered up between the spaced boards. Sabrina and I held an emergency meeting of the Parents’ Committee. Clearly the kids had made hasty but determined arrangements to burn the house down around our ears!

We filled two buckets with water from the kitchen sink, and snuck out to the patio. Together, we yelled, `FIRE!!’ and poured the water through the deck planking drenching them both! [I love it when parents win!]

My grown son, John, heard about all the trouble Sabrina and I were having with those two and made an appointment with the urologist for a vasectomy. “I think I’ll pass on having kids, Dad.”

Maybe I shouldn’t fuss. I read Mark Twain’s autobiography and his childhood pranks put to shame those bloodless and feeble efforts of Ches and Cailan.

At one point, Twain assured his readers that there were two types of watermelons: those one purchased and those watermelons acquired, shall we say, by art. He felt certain the taste of the latter was superior.

 Strange conversations we have around this house. Son Chester walked around the house one morning with a thoughtful expression. Finally, he brought the issue to the fore.

“I think I have my underwear on backwards. Feels strange.”

I shouldn’t wonder!

Calling on my medical knowledge, I spoke with him about circulatory embarrassment and future deformities.

Persuaded by my logic, he changed them back again.

“It feels much better.”

Load off of my mind!

My grand-daughter came for a summer visit. I probably watched more ‘Sponge-Bob than is healthy. When the show comes on, I kennel the dogs out of fear for their cognitive decline.

Look for Lucky’s books locally and on-line: The Oath of Hippocrates; The Cotillian; A Journey Long Delayed; Campfire Tales; Sabonics; MORE CAMPFIRE TALES; GROWING UP IN STEPHENTOWN; ANIMAL ARCHIVES



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