Just two nights ago I was frying up three skillets of morels, which Mom, Pa-pa, Teebo, Beenie's mama, and I inhaled in pretty short order as we enjoyed a textbook spring evening out on our screened deck. As we worked to founder ourselves on these delicate offspring of wet weather followed by hot sunshine, we gloried in a concert of birdsong and distant lawn mowers against a backdrop of lush green lawns and flowering trees ruffled by a welcome breeze.
As the evening wore on, the breeze picked up and turned cold. By last night the temperature had dropped fifty degrees and a wintery mix of precipitation began to assault the tulips. Today, we woke up to a historic cover of May snow that has continued to come down through most of the day. Never, in all of my six decades of life, do I recall seeing snow in Missouri in the month of May.
And so, on a day when I was supposed to be having a garage sale with the other families in my subdivision, my thoughts have rewound themselves to the things of winter. Chili is simmering on the stove, and I am thinking about Christmas.
Specifically, I am thinking about what I will get for Beenie, who is Grandkid #4 of the Fab Five. Since Beenie and I have spent three days a week together most of this school year, I have a pretty good idea of the kinds of things he might like to find beneath the paper and bows next Christmas, when he will be twenty-one months old.
A typical boy, he likes trains and cars and basically anything with a set of wheels that he can push along the floor while making that cute little "bmm-bmm-bmm" motor sound. He also likes phones, from the most basic rattler toy to my iPhone. Every day, at some point, he will hand me the rattler, shaped like a landline receiver, and expect me to go through my familiar one-sided dialogue: "Hello? Yes. Yes. No. OK. Bye-bye."
I also have the Fisher-Price chatter phone and numerous toy cordless and cell phones. Although he likes all of these, none holds a candle to my iPhone, whether we are looking together at the pictures and videos of Beenie and his cousins stored in my camera roll file or watching a musical You Tube video like "Five Little Monkeys" or "I'm a Gummy Bear."
Finally, I am proud to say that Beenie has taken after his Googie and seems to have an affinity for Beanie Baby stuffed animals. (With a blog name like "Beenie," I guess he didn't really have a choice.) Although most of my nine hundred (yes, you read that right) Beanies occupy a closet out of the grandkids' reach until they get a little older and more hand-tag-friendly, I do keep eight or ten of the "better-loved" ones on a shelf in the family room for them to play with.
Every day Beenie will use the loveseat to pull himself into a standing position so that he can then point a little forefinger at the furry little critters he sees up on the shelf above. This is my cue to get them down, one by one, and repeat their individual names as I put them within his reach. Thus, Casanova, Woody, Mystique, Ally, Yours Truly, Kissy, Glory, Giraffiti, and Chocolate Kiss become an integral part of our play.
So toy vehicles, phones, and stuffed animals are all good candidates for Beenie's special present, come the more welcome and opportune snowfall that heralds Christmastime. I will keep these in mind as I watch for sales and bargains that may present themselves over the summer.
However, whichever of these I buy will have to take second place to the other gift I have in mind for Beenie. This is something I have been thinking about for a couple months now. I get more excited about it every day.
It will be a tee-shirt that says "Big Brother." Consider this the official announcement of the expected arrival of Grandkid #6 on or around November 10, just a day before what would have been my sweet dad's eighty-ninth birthday.
This means I am going to have to spray-paint that sixth 8- x 10-inch wood frame for the googery, the gallery of grandkid photos I have hanging in their room here at Googie's. (See "The Googery," my March 18, 2013, blog post for further explanation and a photo.) It will be chocolate brown this time.
So, although this comes a little early, Merry Christmas, Beenie. I hope you will like your present this year, whatever it is, and I know we will like ours.