Down Home: A ‘jungling’ octopus & the joys of summer

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The first half of summer ought to be called “Baptist Go-To-Meeting Season.” We put on a ton of meetings.

I missed the Baptist History and Heritage Society and the Southern Baptist Convention meetings in early June. But I managed to make four others—the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, Texas Baptist African American Fellowship and Texas Baptist Bivocational/Small-Church Association—in just two and a half weeks.

Looking toward that fourth meeting, I was ready to be home in the company of my wife, Joanna.

Buda beckoning

But I was torn. That’s because the Bivocational/Small-Church Association met in San Antonio. The road there and back—Interstate 35, to be precise—takes me within about four miles of my older daughter, Lindsay, her husband, Aaron, and my grandson, Ezra, in Buda.

A couple of days before that trip, Jo sensed something was bugging me.

“What’s bugging you?” she asked.

“Well, I’ve been gone a bunch, but I’ll drive right through Buda to get to the bivo/small-church conference,” I said.

“So?” she asked.

“Well, the conference gets over on Saturday afternoon,” I explained. “I was thinking of stopping over to see Ezra on the way home. But if I only stay for about an hour, that might be harder on him—and me—than if I didn’t stop at all.”

“That’s easy. Stop and spend the night,” she instructed.

“You won’t mind?” I asked. “I’ve been gone so much, and that’s one more night away.”

“And it’s one more night with Ezra,” she replied. “You’d be crazy not to stop.”

It’s a sin not to stop and play

Jo was correct, of course. She usually is. It’s probably a sin to drive within four miles of a grandchild—and that child’s parents, of course—and not stop for a visit.

Or, more specifically, it’s probably a sin to not stop to play.

By the time I arrived, Ezra was ready for action. Since it was hotter than blue blazes, I told him I needed to change out of my convention clothes (long pants) and into play clothes (shorts and a T-shirt). He followed me into the bedroom, and we planned our late afternoon and evening.

First came tee-ball in the backyard. Ezra improved remarkably since we played in the spring. Now, he hits the ball more than the tee. And he also likes to play in the field, which means I get to bat.

While Ezra and I played, Aaron grilled cheeseburgers and corn. Does anything taste better than fresh corn on the cob?

Then it was time to walk down to the community pool for a swim. Lindsay is one of those newfangled moms who doesn’t believe a person has to wait 30 minutes after a meal to go swimming. Thank goodness for newfangled moms.

And thank goodness for moms who interpret for their young children. Ezra’s verbal skills expand exponentially every time we’re together. Now, we almost speak the same language. But sometimes, Lindsay has to interpret.

A ‘jungling’ octopus

Like at the pool. Ezra took a toy octopus, which floats and which, apparently, was “jungling us.”

That led to a long conversation I never would have untangled. But Lindsay and Ezra somehow talked about a Sno-Cone truck with a huge picture on the side. The picture includes a penguin and a beach and palm trees, which looks like a jungle. When Lindsay followed Ezra’s vocal leap from “jungle” to “juggle,” we learned the toy octopus was “juggling us.” This, of course, meant shoving the octopus under us in the water and then splashing furiously. If you were being juggled by an octopus, you most certainly would splash like crazy.

All that swimming and splashing burned up loads of energy. So, after we walked back home, it was time for a bath, Bible-reading, prayers, book-reading and bed.

The next morning, Ezra and I had just enough time for breakfast together before I headed for home and he started getting ready for church.

The joys of summer multiply when you share them with the right person.

And I would’ve missed out on a bunch of them if I didn’t stop over in Buda.

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