Yesterday afternoon, I was at the school picking up the kids with Heather. I usually “kill two birds” at this point each day and give the demon dog her P.M. walk while simultaneously performing my parental duties. When we arrive at school, the kids are waiting in the school courtyard on the secure side of a white gate that stands no more than three feet from the small but busy street. Most parents walk through the gate into the courtyard to pick up their kids, but I have to stay outside the gate on the street because I’m not allowed to bring the dog onto the school grounds.
But even though I’m exempt from gaining access to an area that has all the order of a gaggle of geese, I have still managed to make some friends. This is largely because I am accompanied by our cute beagle, Lexi. (No one has discovered yet what a terror she really is, thank goodness). And, I’m happy to say that most of the friends I’ve made there are under the age of 10. See, there are always a few goslings trying to escape their cage before mama goose’s arrival. Some of them try to poke around the corner, while others stick their honking beaks and flapping wings through the gate’s bars to give our dog a pat.
Yesterday, one young girl named Lizzie was petting our dog in this fashion. Lizzie has been over to our house to play one Friday afternoon since she is the same age as our son Nic. Being 6, she’s a sweet girl.
So, as she stroked our dog and cooed her name, I stood there, smiling, just enjoying this precious moment of young innocence and simple pleasures. After a while, Lizzie looked up at me, one hand still on Lexi, and smiled. And I smiled back. Then, as she fixed her gaze on me, her face acquired a quizzical sort of look. Her brow furrowed and her lips puckered as her eyes diverted ever so slightly from a full-on lock with my eyes to a new point of focus just left of my head. She appeared to be looking at something else now. But, somehow, it still seemed she was looking at me. I discovered what it was she was thinking with her next words: “You know, you’re old-fashioned, but you have an earring!”
So, I guess I’m old-fashioned now.
She went back to petting the dog and I continued smiling, happy that she hadn’t noticed the wiry, gray hair growing out of my earring hole.