Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Country Boys

Dinner sits.  Heads bow.  Eyes close.  Hands fold. Cooper offers up a prayer.  

"Dear God, 

Thank you for time at Erin's.  


A simple prayer, but to the point.

We (boys and I) are thankful for time at Erin's house.

Typically, I'd insist he call Erin by a more respectful name ⎯ Mrs. Erin or Mrs. Miller. ⎯ but she is different.  All rules of social etiquette are bent in favor of familiar and affectionate terms for a friendship with roots 35 years deep.

A visit to Erin's house is a novelty to the boys.  She lives in the country, surrounded by crops and chickens.  Thick woods encircle the fields and provide ample opportunity for little boy exploration.

Erin's girls know the woods as well as I know my local Target.  They race through the thicket with confidence and seem unfazed (even giddy) by the critters we meet along the way.

They introduce us to an old cemetery on the property.  The moss-covered gravestones date back to the mid-1800s.  In the life of a little boy, things couldn't get better.  Stories of mystery, suspense, and horror race through their minds.  Who died here?  What happened?  Do their spirits haunt the woods?

But things do get better.  The girls usher my boys down a hill, introducing them to a muddy creek.  The fun is in the hunt as the boys (mostly Cooper, Collin was a wee bit timid) dig into the creek's muddy underbelly.  Their priceless finds come in the form of rocks, insects, and animal bones.

A muddy hike is celebrated with ice cream.  Little children fill bellies with spoonfuls of sweet: chocolate syrup, carmel sauce, whipped toppings, and maraschino cherries.

My favorite is what came after.  Erin and I plop down on adirondack chairs with unobstructed view of the pastoral surroundings.  We chat and laugh amid the quiet.  At that moment, I understand why she landed in the country.

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