Saturday, June 7, 2008

The New Bill Harley

Friday morning, I'm awoken by my favorite sound - two tiny brothers loudly trying to stay quiet so as not to wake me up. When they hear me do my morning groaning, they invade the living room, where I slept. Sage and I play Wiggly Mountain, whereupon he must scale my knees while they seizure uncontrollably under my blankets.
Then we build a castle out of cardboard and tape. Sage is excited about the ramparts I cut into the two towers, but to my horror, feels they are more useful when removed and taped to the drawbridge. Instead of bursting into a red hot boiling rage, as I'm wont to do when my structures are compromised, I quickly learn and employ one of the most important parenting techniques of our time: the bait and switch. Instead of explaining to him their usefulness in defending the castle from advancing enemy Lego men, I just tell on him for using the big boy scissors.
After lunch we walk to the park and throw a ball around for Lumas. Sage insists on holding the leash but also insists on letting it go should it ever get taught. Sage refuses to use the monkey bars, despite my insistence that he is known as the legendary Monkey Boy in this park.

Later, while Lorna and Eric are out viewing Iron Man, the kids and I have a mo'. Sage asks me to play "Scared Scared Scared from the 'puter." Sage has often mentioned this song in the last few months, and I'm completely psyched and intrigued (due to it's depressing content) by his affinity for it. I sit down at the piano with Jude on my lap and start to play it for them. Sage gets nervous and giddy in the front row for this private concert and so I am a little nervous too.

After the first chorus:
"But I am scared scared scared of bein' alone..."
he interjects, "but... but... Gavin, what were you scared of?"
I keep the chords cycling while I put on a thinking face, "Well, I guess I was just scared of being alone, Sage. We all get scared sometimes don't we?"
He pondered this, and then nodded. It was acceptable. I continued on to the second verse, "Before bed, when I pray...
I don't ask for anything.
I give thanks
for shorter days
and making sure that Lumas stays"
He interrupts again, "but... but, Gavin, where were you? When you were sad?"
I loop the chords again. It occurred to me that this was turning into a Bill Harley performance; a little Q and A mixed in amidst some heavy minstrelry. I knew the right thing to do was to adopt an ol' timey drawl, "Well, lil' Sage, I gayess I wuz at m'house. Ma ol' house in the woods in Rhode Island."
He considered this, then nodded. My heart was so at home in this.
The spell was broken halfway through the final refrain, "But I am scared scared scared... scared scared ----" when Sage grabbed my arm and said,
"Gavin... Gavin? Do you like oranges?"


Meagan said...

Well...inquiring minds want to know. Do you like oranges?

Andrew Brown said...

Wow! I haven't heard Bill Harley mentioned in ages. I saw him live when I was 6 or so at some mall in mass. "Black socks, they never get dirty. The longer you wear them the stronger they get" and "Dad threw the TV out the window, I think he's finally snapped" were just a few of Bill's lyricisms that have stuck with me over the years.

Who DOESN'T like oranges?

Lorna said...

I want a copy of this mini-essay. Love it.