I’m tard, Y’all.
I heard Loretta Lynn say that once, way back in the beginning years of her career. We had somehow managed to get front-row, on-the-side tickets, and she came out, sang a fast, upbeat opening number, then did that twist-the-mike-cord thing with her hands as she perched herself on a tall stool.
“I’m TARD, Y’all!" she said, “I’ve done picked and put up twelve quarts of butterbeans 'fore I come DOWN here.” I knew then that she’d BE somebody, and that I just loved her.
And, digressing from music stars to a plain day’s work---meeee, too, Loretty!
The past two days have been 1 ½ Glorious. Yesterday was perfection, with wonderful sunshine and lovely seventy-ish temperatures and air like warm water on your skin. We spent the most part of it outdoors, my little Grand and me, taking long walks (me) as she rode in state in her little car with the big plastic push-handle, looking at everything and giving a faultless float-wave now and again. We walked hand-in-hand in leaves and on the sidewalk, and I chased as she fled down the sloping driveway.
We walked around the front, back up the neighbor’s drive, and she was instantly in Heaven---and I was there to witness. This was the first time in her very young life that she found that she could RUN. She's been walking for only about four months, and has been inside most of that time. And now she was on a smooth, unlimited surface, the sun was in her face and the wind in her hair, and she RAN. In circles, with great arm-swoops, and in arcs and straight lines from wherever to where else, and in bustly quick Pamper-switching steps with a huge grin on her face the whole time. She galloped and sprinted and sped those little Dr. Denton’s for two hours, barely pausing for breath. I think she’d learned to FLY, and I was a privileged witness to history.
It went on til her Mama came to retrieve her, and for the first time ever, she was protesting with loud wails as they left the driveway.
And today was the same---glorious sunshine, on a day that every house on the street seemed to have some kind of delivery/repair/paint/cable van out front, us included. So we made frequent forays from back yard to front, to be sure the deliverymen were doing our installations just so and bringing them iced tea. And she ran some more, between long jaunts out to the back garden to ring the big bell, which involves my lifting her up so her feet can stand on the support panels, and holding her upright as she chooses her small rock from the array and clangs away, whilst I man a larger rock, punctuating the little “tings” with a bass note now and then. And then back into her car for stately progression around the block, which she also made with her Ganner about noon, as they walked to the store for bread for our quick lunch.
A teensy nap, and whilst she was sleeping, the rain came. She awoke, ready for MORE of that wonderful fun, and we couldn’t go outside. We played teaparty and dancing, and she brought me “Mr. Joe” more than once (our favorite dancing song is Joe Cocker’s “It’s All Right,” which we play about four times a day; she just this week went and got the CD from the shelf herself, patting his grizzly beard chummily as she walked).
And she just COULDN’T UNDERSTAND why we couldn’t go outside for more of that fun stuff. She pounded down the hall with me in mad pursuit about a dozen times, almost to the room where her Aunt Caro was sleeping, so she could go to work at eight. Baby Girl begged and insisted and whined (an absolute first---she's never been a demanding or willful child, so I was surprised at the insistence). And stunned at the discomfort inflicted by flailing rubber-soled baby-shoes.
I placated, I cajoled, I brought out toys, books, games, pots and pans and dress-up stuff and even a REAL Little Debbie heart-shaped cake, leftover from Valentine’s Day, for the teaparty at which heretofore we’d always imagined the food. I’ve had my hair variously combed with a TV remote, a TEENSY flyswatter inscribed, “ILLINOIS. A HIT EVERY TIME,” and with a stick we picked up out in the yard. We put on jackets and went out into the sprinkle, padded the seat of the little car with a triple-folded towel, and trudged off down the street again. We were still out under the back eaves, damp and pointing out birds and cats, when her Daddy arrived to take her home.
As the saying goes, “There’s a REASON the Lord gives these little whirlwinds to YOUNG folks.” And it was among the most enjoyable two days of my life.