Grandchildren seem stuck on New Orleans
It was a big weekend for our family in Batesville and New Orleans. I mentioned in this space Friday that grandson Eli and family were coming for a visit.
Meanwhile, gracious friends in Batesville hosted an engagement party for grandson Nelson and Grace, his fiancé. On Saturday, we received a family photo from the party that includes son John and wife Jennifer, grandson Hunt and his new bride, Mary Lynn; honorees Nelson and Grace, and granddaughter Blair — beautiful photo.
By at least a couple of inches Nelson stands tallest in the photo, having hit a growth spurt in later adolescence that elevated him above his older brother, something that he must have enjoyed thoroughly while it was happening. His hair is also longest — longer than his brother’s or his dad’s, flowing down over his collar. (Genes for hair and height having come from other ancestors.)
Meanwhile in New Orleans, if nothing else this visit from Eli reminded me of the old nursery rhyme, “What are little boys made of … ? What are little girls made of …?”
In Eli’s case “caterpillars, snails and lizards tails” could be substituted in those rhyming lines and fit perfectly. Soon after discovering the monarch butterfly caterpillars devouring the milkweed plants, Eli was carefully lifting them from the plants and placing them in a small jar along with milkweed leaves. When we saw that captivity did not faze their voracious appetites, we put them into a larger jar. By the next morning, the largest caterpillar was turning itself into a chrysalis, right before our eyes.
During our first return visit to the Wisner Playground, where Eli and I have spent many pleasant hours during his visits, he caught a lizard tail with lizard attached, unlike the damncats here who usually settle for the tail that easily detaches and wiggles on its own to deceive the predator. The small chameleons so plentiful here are quick and actually catching one by hand is almost a fluke. Nonetheless, his initial luck had him chasing them for the remainder of his visit. His luck was not repeated but he (and I) had much fun trying.
Of course, we went to the Audubon Insectarium (Rosemary calls it the “insect-asylum”) where a $20 bill from his grandmother burned a hole in his pocket until we got to the tricks, trinkets and souvenirs sold near the end of the walk through the place. His selection included a giant plastic roach, a frog with a long tongue that sticks to most surfaces, two ugly plastic slugs that also stick to most surfaces and a jar of sticky goop called “Spider Putty” which also sticks to most everything.
As we returned from the insect-asylum, Eli’s mother told him sternly to put the Spider Putty back into its jar until we arrived home. Her cautioning triggered a flashback years ago when Nelson and Hunt had been visiting with us and I was driving them back to Batesville. At the zoo, Nelson had purchased a jar of putty by another name, perhaps Silly Putty, and was playing with it in the back seat.
We had probably passed McComb in our northbound journey on I-55 when Nelson timidly announced that during his play with the putty, it had become ensnared in his hair.
No problem, I told him, we’d stop soon and I’d help him get it out. By the time we got stopped, the putty had become so entangled that removing it en route was hopeless.
He rode the rest of the way to Batesville wearing the blob of stuff dangling there. When we finally arrived home it took a serious hair washing to remove it.
Fortunately, no hair was harmed in the putty’s removal and it survived to grow to a length of present choice. And Eli — so far — has resisted trying the Spider Putty in his hair.