Saturday, April 7, 2012

Under the Pink Moon

Son had a small group of friends over last night for a birthday party.  There were 4 additional boys in our house.  Their ages added up were less than GPop's age and my age added together.  Ah, well.

In any case, I made pizza with colored dough.  When I use the breadmaker, I often add food coloring to the bread dough.  It doesn't change the flavor, but it adds some fun to the pizza.  The boys chose purple and blue.  Purple, because they liked it, and blue, because it matched Son's new motorcycle.

Our town is gradually getting out of the white-bread farm gestalt that it had been 10 years ago.  One of the lads who was over, Tremell, is African-American.  He is also the youngest of the boys, and was the loudest and fastest talker.  I gave my rules near the beginning of the party.

GDad:  Gentlemen, here are the rules.  1. I don't care for casual swearing.  I will call you out on it.  I expect you to behave like gentlemen, and I will treat you as such.  2. If I am awakened by noise once I go to bed, I will take all of you home, and I don't care what the hour is.  3. If I wake to find anyone out of the house, I will call to file a missing person report.  Got it?

Daniel:  Yes, Mr. Lastname.

Everyone else: [look pointedly at Tremell]

Tremell:  Why is the black kid always the loudest?

GDad: [pause] I don't think I'm allowed to respond to that.

Everyone else: [general laughter]

Just for the record, Daniel is a very polite and intelligent kid.  He is one of the few kids I've met who doesn't struggle with calling adults Mr. and Mrs./Ms.  I think part of the reason some of these kids struggle is that many of their friends have parents with surnames that differ from the kid's surname, which causes confusion.

Later in the evening, we got out the 6-inch telescope and looked at the moon.  GPop pointed out the Sea of Tranquility, and a couple of the boys expressed surprise that there were seas on the moon.  I was flabbergasted at that gap in knowledge, so I explained about how astronomers in older times saw the dark areas and thought there was water there.  I would have thought this was third grade knowledge, but perhaps I was a bit of an outlier with respect to astronomical trivia when I was a lad.

GDad: Look up there.  That's Mars.

Boys: Oooo... that's cool.  Let's look at that!

GPop: OK.  Give me a minute.  [futzes with telescope]

GDad: Does anyone know how many moons Mars has?

Boys: 2! 4! 7! None!

GDad: Yep, it's two.  Do you know the names of the moons?

Tremell:  Marquell and LaQuesha?

GDad:  Hardly, but interesting guess.

Their noise didn't wake me up, but I guess their self-policing got a little silly.  Eventually they fell asleep.  The next morning, they awoke and ate pancakes.  Before they went home, Daniel expressed interest in seeing my small collection of foreign coins.  He was especially interested in the heptagonal (he used that word) dollar coin from Barbados.  I told him that sometimes banks will have a small jar of those coins that get stuck in coin sorting machines, and that perhaps he could give them puppy dog eyes to get his hands on them.

They were gone by 11:00, and except for the Diet Orange Crush stain on the carpet, there was no damage to the house.


Becca said...

That's some good parenting (and in-loco-parenting) right there.

How old were the lads?

GDad said...


Welcome! Son just turned 17, and the rest of the boys were between 14 and 17. They all attend a public school, which I understand translates to something else (perhaps state school) in British English.

Thanks for the kind words. We try to provide some education about all sorts of things when interacting with Son's friends.