Monday, September 2, 2013

"Ye Olden Blacksmith Shop"

Are you sometimes a real ass? I am sometimes a real ass. As parents, I think we are all asses at least forty percent of the time.

Cutting the grass, today, I was in a foul mood (as I usually am when cutting the grass) which was compounded by the fact that my sons and their friends had turned the back yard into a medieval military outpost. Yard chairs were woven with vines and covered with leaves; loose bricks were arranged into spots for "camp fires" and there were "weapons" (sticks) everywhere: lying in the grass; leaning up against fences -- you name it.

Stuff was in my way. The kids were going to get a stern talking-to when I went back in. "My work is hard enough," I would say to them, as they sat, hands folded, eyes wide and shameful. "The last thing I need is your junk in my way... Do I throw things in front of you when you are cleaning your room? Et cetera? Et cetera? Hmm? Et cetera?"

They'd hear about it, boy, those inconsiderate little snits. But, then, it happened. It always happens, you know? -- just when I get up a good head of fatherly steam. I saw this:

It's a horrid photo, I know. (After all, I only had my phone because listening to Porcupine Tree is the only thing that gets me through cutting the lawn with minimal suicidal thoughts.) It says: "Ye Olden Blacksmith Shop" and it is mounted on a delightfully-chosen, Galdalfesque staff.

I smiled. I abandoned my plans for a stern talking-to. After all, what is more important: a clear path to cutting the grass or real, hands-on, gettin' dirty, creative play among children in this virtual age?

I made sure I put back all of the things I moved. We can't have the little rebel soldiers come back to find their encampment ransacked by the Empire.

Miraculously (and with relatively little delay) the grass got cut, anyway. I decided not to be an ass.

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