Mr. Putter, Tabby, and Oberon, Too

If you have only two days for a visit with important people, you pack in all the favorite activities. So, no “Borrowed Flowers” today, because I keep thinking about Sweet Baby and her cousins and our time with them.

At ages seven, four, and two, abilities and interests vary, but affections seem of a kind. Elaborate train track set-ups interested all, and provided agility training for the grandparents with tracks and cars and engines scattered about. In a melding of super heroes and princesses, the three play well together (until they don’t, as Mrs. Hughes once said).

Little presents for the visit need to be equal in number and significance. This time, a book for each from Cynthia Rylant’s “Mr. Putter and Tabby” series (neither Tabby nor Mr. Putter have been cute or peppy for a very long time), worked, and led to many readings. Late on Saturday afternoon when Downtown Abbey became the “The Napping House,” Lady B and I sat at the kitchen table, and she, starting with Tabby, drew the characters from the books, while updating me on her life.

During dark times this winter I wondered if I’d ever walk in the mountains again. But, the road into Powerline Pass where we camped over night last summer, provides an easy way into a grand mountain valley for Baby Brother and his granny.

Encouraged by the fleet-footed girls, he determinedly walked the whole way! Whatever her older cousin does, Sweet Baby attempts. When they tiptoed out a fat log into a puddle and neared the end, she asked “Now what do we do?” before gamely splashing down in the leap from log to land.

An inbound hiker told Uncle Tutu that he’d seen a black bear cross the trail an hour earlier, so we walked a mile singing, “no bears, no bears, no bears today” and sat on the flank of Flattop Mountain in a patch of bearberry, to eat our sandwiches and peanut butter cookies. The cousins played in tunnels formed by the “gimme shelter” trees (black spruce bent and gnarled by the wind).

Walking out, luckily before spirits flagged, I remembered “Simon Says” – “take ten steps and do the hula” or “take 19 steps doing the skaters Granny Katy’s physical therapist taught her.” At the uphill just before the parking lot, Lady B took charge: “Simon says run up the hill!”

At breakfast each morning, Mr. Carson is doing a wonderful thing with his children. I didn’t ever get to ask him how or why this came about, but they work on their “lines” (from a Shakespeare play), now “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I nearly teared up listening to Baby Brother and Lady B recite lines from Oberon’s speech with such a sense of fun:

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:

I loved it – and learned from them about oxlips (a primula found where cattle and oxen graze) and eglantine (wild roses! I never knew). Later that day, when we walked through the Alaska Botanical Garden, the three ran circles around the beds in the Herb Garden until Lady B came to an abrupt stop and shouted: “I found thyme!”

Oh, and another thing, Lady B opened that door to the world’s knowledge, adventure, and pleasure and has become an able reader. When I asked her if it felt like magic, she agreed with a firm nod of her head.

I’m beyond grateful to the surgeon and the physical therapists for putting my knee together to allow more shared experience with these children. When we got home, on a FaceTime call to check in, Baby Brother greeted us with a grin, saying: “Hello Mr. Poppa Jammy! and hello Mr. Granny Katy!”

 

 

9 thoughts on “Mr. Putter, Tabby, and Oberon, Too

  1. “Agility training”, indeed! You crack me up. I am so delighted to hear of your trip. Shakespeare at breakfast—- clearly being groomed for Cambridge already. Makes me want to hug them all.

    Heal on, my friend.

  2. Oh, Mr, Granny Katy, I loved every tale of the grandchildren. What beautiful images come to mind. Thank you for sharing!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. It sounds like you had a high quality few days. I’m impressed with the Shakespeare at breakfast. My grandchildren are up here visiting, and our breakfast conversations veer more to math. “You had two waffles and I only had one, and that’s not fair!” And then there’s the day the younger brother accused his older brother of already having 3 bread products, and he shouldn’t have any more.” I think Shakespeare would be more fun!

  4. What a wonderful time you must have had! I’m going to steal the Shakespeare idea. Currently Josie and I recite The Owl and the Pussycat Went to Sea together and the other night at dinner she entertained us all with repeated singing of the alphabet song — but I see she’s going to have to up her game.

    So glad your physical therapy has paid off and you’re hiking!

  5. Dear Katy, you “nearly teared up” at Oberon? Such restraint. Tears running down my face. These little people are utterly enchanting, aren’t they? So glad I happened upon your blog today. Love, Nora

    • I think more and more that being a grandparent and being enchanted (yes!) is the best possible thing. You always heard grandparents say that, but it’s even better than the rumors! (And so good to hear from you!)

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