We were sitting at the dinner table, trying to get the kids to try jicama*and discussing other veggies we adults hadn’t had in a while, like kohlrabi, leeks, Brussels sprouts— to the loud horror of the ten-and-unders—and fennel.
“What’s fennel?” asked Jane.
“It looks kind of like a celery ball with ferny stuff on top,” I said.
“It sort of tastes like licorice,” Watson added.
“And,” I said, “it’s supposed to be good for flatulence.”
“What’s flatulence?” Jane asked.
I told her.
“Oh,” she said. “But I already have that.”
Jane and my husband were staining the pieces of Cooch’s Bridge* for her Academic Fair project.
“It looks like honey,” said Sunny, who wasn’t allowed to get within five feet of the project, because she wouldn’t change out of her winter white knitted pinafore dress.
“Honey is bee barf,” said her sister.
“No it isn’t! Daddy, is honey really bee barf?” said Sunny.
“Sort of,” said my husband.
Sunny wrinkled her little nose. “Then what’s ladybug barf?” she asked. “Jelly?”
During the announcements after the Peace yesterday, the congregation was asked to think about what they’d like to see happen in our church. We were asked to share our thoughts.
Variations on community outreach, various classes, bazaars, and better public recognition were all mentioned.
Then Jane raised her hand from her acolyte seat. “I’d like to see a Tyrannosaur Rex fire a missile through the stained glass window wall and stomp down the aisle toward the altar,” she said. “Because that would be so cool!”
“Well,” said our priest, after a pause, “that would take care of our recognition problem . . . But Episcopalians don’t traditionally throw missiles. Or missals,” she added, to much laughter.
Meanwhile, I was doing my ostrich impression in the choir pews. The nearest tenor leaned over to me. “Whose kid is she, anyway?” he whispered.
“I’ve never seen her before in my life,” I said. “You want her? I’ll throw in her college fund.”
“Sure,” he said. “Can’t wait to see what happens when she’s elected Bishop.”
On the way home from school last week:
“Does grandpa have a Mommy?” asked Sunny.
“He did,” I said. “She was my grandma. But she died about nine years before you were born.”
“She was over ninety years old, honey. Her body wore out.”
“Like an old shoe?”
“No,” I said, slightly stung. “Like a woman who had a long, happy life and raised a family and worked hard and had fun and friends and did everything she wanted to do and just . . . wore herself out.”
“Oh. Like an old shoe.”
“No. Not like an old shoe. Um . . . More like a remote controlled car when the batteries run down. Except it’s difficult to replace a human being’s batteries.”
“That’s what I said. Like old shoes.”
“What are you talking about, kiddo?”
“Jenny’s shoes used to light up, but now they don’t, ’cause the batteries died.”
“Oh . . . Right.”
*Jane did and thought it was weird, but Sunny suggested starvation as an alternative.
**Site of the only Revolutionary War battle in Delaware. The British were trying to get the Philadelphia and the militia were ordered to delay them at all costs. First time the American flag flew over a field of war. Built out of popsicle sticks and a couple of dowel rods.