Tuesday, July 08, 2008
My favorite Grasshopper story happened on the day Rob and I met him.
He rode home on the bus with Jordan aka Toad-Boy and said maybe three words all afternoon. Those words were pulled from him via painstaking verbal surgery. He did mutter "Ummmm." quite a bit without being questioned now that I remember. It could be that he was communicating all along.
I made dinner while the boys busied themselves in Toad-Boy's workshop -- a dark, dank corner in the basement that doubled as his science lab and hydroponic garden. Or maybe they played with Lego toys or built electronic devices. Their friendship spanned all of those pursuits and more, much, much more. I am certain that this period was pre-treetop camping.
I called the boys to dinner and the four of us gathered around the table. Grasshopper ate like one, but remained silent except for the Ummm's whenever Rob or I asked a question or offered a remark in his direction.
In a quiet moment Grasshopper lifted his glass of milk to his lips and hesitated.
A low, squeaky rumble sounded below the table -- a low, squeaky, LONG rumble. Painfully long and Grasshopper turned a shade of maroon and began scoping out the room for an escape all the while moving nothing but his eyes.
Fortunately, we are a family that has been corrupted by the belief that gas passing can be cheap entertainment, even at the kitchen table. Toad-Boy broke the ice and we all cracked. Grasshopper remained frozen for a few more seconds then joined in.
Twelve years later, we still occasionally lift, kind of a toast of honor, a glass of milk to our lips, move our eyes rapidly from side to side, hum a few bars of ummm, and then laugh.