Good time days …
Summer is here, HH is nearly five years old and I am writing this from our cabin in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The days and weeks leading up to our departure from Cologne were filled with anticipation. Each morning recently HH would wake with the same question: “Are we going to Smallwood today Papa?” Finally the big day arrived and he was packed and washed and ready to go long before I was. He was terrific on the flight. The only snag was his jogging in the aisles of the aircraft a few hours into the journey. He was a little stiff and most of the other passengers were sleeping so I didn’t think it would do any harm if he stretched his muscles a bit. So there he was, navigating the narrow aisle, big smile on his face, running back and forth through the cabin careful not to jostle his fellow travelers. But I guess someone complained because the flight attendant came to me and said HH would have to take his seat for the duration of the flight. I thought it was a good idea – I still do – I think we should all get a little exercise during those long transatlantic flights.
Once here HH went through what has become something of a standard routine. He reminds me of a cat who has just arrived in a new home. He goes all through the place checking everything out, sniffing for any change from last year and finally he brings every toy he can find into the living room and creates a mine field of sorts for Papa who must tip-toe around it all on my way from the front porch to the kitchen. Yesterday we started planting the garden. This was a big event and HH brought out all his tools from the basement to get the job done right. There were wagons and bikes and various other toys, the gardening function of which are still a mystery to me. But he was over-the-top excited and kept repeating this one phrase all through the day. “This is a good-time day Papa.” He stands there wearing his Yankees baseball cap, his hip cocked to one side and one hand resting on his waist and announces this or that accomplishment or revelation and at the end of whatever it is he has to say comes his pronouncement, “This is a good-time day.” I haven’t asked him exactly what he means by this because I have a pretty good idea of what he’s thinking. I feel the same way. These are the good-time days – they don’t get much better than this. I can’t imagine anything more rewarding than seeing his smile or hearing him laugh out loud or focus all his considerable energy to some task. He told me yesterday that he wanted to live in the cabin forever. I explained to him that it got very, very cold here in the winter and that there was not much to do out here in the woods when the cold weather set in and all the snowbirds went back home to warmer or more urban locations. He may or may not have accepted my explanation and I expect I’ll hear this request again in the coming days. He loves it here – he can be as loud as he wants, get as dirty as he wants, eat as many bagels and crème cheese as he wants and generally have a great time. What’s not to love?
In a few days the lake will open for the season and HH will meet the other children who summer here, children he has come to know over the last four years, whose pictures he looks at on Papa’s computer during the long, cold, German winter. I wonder how that will play out. More good-time days? I expect so.