Beth Jacks column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Snippets by Beth Boswell Jacks

Survival after 5-year-old’s visit hinges on recharging

Survival after the storm

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Caroline has gone home. She’s 5 and she’s redheaded – a deadly combination. I’m not a betting person, but if I were I’d put money on a safe wager: This adorable little drama queen will make it big in theatre one of these days.

Yes, Caroline was with us a week. We managed to stuff a lot of activities into seven days. There were the usual entertaining summer experiences, like swimming and swatting mosquitoes, but she also learned to drive a golf cart in the hay field (with me at her side). She flew in a single engine airplane, painted pottery and cuddled with poochie Pharaoh. She colored a dozen pictures for Rev. Dixie at the church, had a lovely party for her stuffed animals, and endured endless pats on the head from folks with kind words about her red hair. She donned her new lavender tutu and princess headdress with flowing train and danced all over the house, singing original tunes at the top of her lungs.

Meals were a challenge. She doesn’t like veggies and will only eat strawberries in the fruit category. She’ll eat chicken tenders with catsup for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but no French Fries. (A kid who doesn’t love French Fries?  She says they taste too much like potatoes.)

She also likes sausage, munching on four patties one morning, then promptly throwing them up because, as she told her daddy on the telephone, “Bebe puts too much grease in ‘em.”

She begged every day to go play with her baby cousin, Lila, and also got into some mean charades with Aunt Jamie and Uncle Will. She was a busy, non-stop little girl.

And now she has gone home.

I’m pooped. As I lay in bed this morning, relishing the peace and quiet, I was reminded of a poem my mother used to read us kids when we were little. She read it often and, after sixty years, I can still recite it.

The title of the poem is “Little Boy Joe,” author unknown (I researched and couldn’t find), from an anthology of poems called “Poems For Kindly Children,” no longer in print, I’m sure.

Goes like this:

Five sad aunties

All in a row

Wondering what to do

With Little Boy Joe.

His mommie went away,

His daddy went too

And left him there

With the auntie crew.

They lived in a house

As neat as a pin,

They wiped their feet

When they came in.

But Little Boy Joe

Tracked in and out

And left his toys

All ‘round about.

Left his cap

On the living room floor,

And on the window sill,

An apple core.

“Awfully sorry!

Won’t do it anymore,”

Said Little Boy Joe.

He wouldn’t eat spinach,

He cried for cake,

He ate green apples

And got a tummy ache,

And then one day

He brought in a snake,

That Little Boy Joe!

But then one day

His daddy came

To take Little Joe

Back home again.

He blinked an eye

And wiped a tear,

And said, “Don’t cry,

I’ll come next year,

Because, you see,

I like it here.”

Five sad aunties,

All in a row,

Wondering what to do

Without Little Boy Joe.


I understand well the emotions of those five old, worn-out aunties. But, not to worry, Caroline will come back.

She likes it here.