I hear them talking through the trees. They are my neighbors. On a calm night like tonight, I can hear their whole conversation.
I hear the young mother saying, “It’s our twelfth day of quarantine, Daddy, what about you?
In response, I hear the digital cellphone-voice of an old man saying, “I dunno, haven’t been keeping count.”
“GRANDPA!” shouts another young voice. A boy. Toddler age.
“Hi!” says Grandpa. “I miss you.”
Their conversation lulls back and forth. Woman, then kid, then old man, repeat. Almost like ping pong.
Speaking of ping pong, I was always a pitiful ping pong player. I don’t know what it is about me, but it’s one of those sports that I just can’t seem to get.
Tennis is even worse. I’ve played tennis only once. I borrowed my buddy’s expensive racquet. I played until I passed out. When I awoke in the hospital severely dehydrated with a slightly torn groin, I swore off the sport forever. But I digress.
“GRANDPA!” says the neighbor boy. “GUESS WHAT!”
“I’M NOT IN SCHOOL!”
“Wow,” says Grandpa’s electronic voice.
“That’s right,” says
Mom. “He’s home, twenty-four seven.”
“Lucky you,” says Grandpa.
“Lucky me,” says Mama.
Lately I’ve been wondering how kid-me might have felt about school being permanently cancelled.
When I was young, springtime was intoxicating. I have golden memories of running through fields, splashing through creeks, catching crawfish, and drinking too much Coca-Cola.
But for us, there was always this twinge of sorrow during spring because, in your heart, you knew that you had to go back to school when the break was over. You’d have to write more essays, memorize more stuff about the War of 1812, and learn more about the unique bones that comprise the human nose. So spring was always a little sad.
But if someone would have said, “Hey, guess what? You don’t have to go to school for the rest…