This is Random Granddaughter grokking Grandpa’s password and taking over his computer by using my now awesome mental powers developed at the School for Very Bright Children.

Many people here are much taken with something called twitter and tweeting each other. We very bright children have moved so far beyond tweeting, not to mention, blogging, you obsolete adults can not even imagine it.

My friends and I have created an entirely new telepathic Internet. Even as we are indulging you artifacted parents and grandparents by saying “Please” and “Thank you” at the dinner table, we are communicating entire new works of literature and art and music you can’t even imagine, and sharing them by telepathy with your dogs and cats.

We are going to bring your dogs and cats with us as we transport ourselves into an an awesome new dimension and leave you behind. Then you will really be sorry you didn’t increase our allowances and let us stay up later when you had the chance.

Too late. Start crying. I want to see 96 teardrops. I am going to count every one. Not just 95, either.


Too many teardrops for one heart to be cryin’
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on
Youre way on top now since you left me
Youre always laughin way down at me
But watch out now, I’m gonna get there
W’ell be together for just a little while
And then I’m gonna put you way down here
And you’ll start cryin ninety-six tears
Cry, cry

And when the sun comes up, I’ll be on top
You’ll be right down there, lookin up
And I might wave, come up here
But I don’t see you wavin now
I’m way down here, wonderin how
I’m gonna get you but I know now
I’ll just cry, cry, Ill just cry

Too many teardrops for one heart to be cryin’
Too many teardrops for one heart to carry on
Youre gonna cry ninety-six tears
Youre gonna cry ninety-six tears
Youre gonna cry, cry cry cry now
Youre gonna cry, cry, cry, cry
Ninety-six tears


Country Dentist

October 29, 2009

When we were preparing to move to our Puget Sound island, a filling broke and I needed a dentist in a hurry. I decided to bite the bullet, so to speak, and go to a dentist on the island. The phone book listed two dentists in the nearest small town to where our home was being built. I called one. The receptionist I talked to presented her boss and office very well, but the best day for me at that time was Friday, and that dentist closed his office on Fridays.

So I was left with Frank. I did a search for information about Frank on the web. I found one odd but promising comment on the web site of Powell’s books (the leading bookstore in Portland, Oregon.). I came across an interview with a moderately successful writer who told a charming and admiring anecdote about Frank the dentist. I won’t put it here because it has too much distinguishing detail, but if you really want to read it, email me and I will link you to it if I trust you. If a fairly successful author plugs a dentist on Powell’s Books, that’s good enough for me to give him a try, so I made an appointment. Apparently all of Frank’s patients have used him for many years, so his receptionist must have been a bit surprised to have a new patient call her out of the blue, but she handled the surprise with aplomb.

When I went in to see Frank and to get my painful tooth attended to, I met a tall, laconic man about a year younger than myself. His pleasant, competent, attractive receptionist is also a dental assistant, but I was a bit surprised to discover that Frank almost never called her in to assist him.

Unlike every other dentist I ever had, Frank did about 95% of his work by himself. He grabbed all his tools of torture by himself. When it came time for my six-month cleaning, Frank did the cleaning himself instead of using a hygienist.

“Do you ever use hygienists?” I asked him.

“Oh, yes, I have a few times, but they always have babies and move on, so finally I decided it was easier to do it myself,” he replied.

I figured if my dentist does the cleaning himself instead of handing it down to a hygienist, I am either getting the best dental service in the world, or I am living in a world of delusion.

“Did you ever work with another dentist, or have you always been a sole practitioner?” I asked him.

“Yes, I tried working with other dentists,, but it just never works out,” he told me.

He always has jazz and blues playing on a stereo in his office, and he had a large painting of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans (with Roy holding a guitar) on his dental chair room, as well as an actual guitar hanging in the same room.

“Do you play the guitar?” I asked.

“Yes, but as my arthritis has gotten worse, I can’t play much any more.” I wondered a bit as his handling of dental tools seems deft enough, but I decided not to worry about it until a drill slips enough to make me scream.

“Did you ever consider music as a career?” I asked him. He said he enjoyed playing music, but the dedication necessary to be professionally successful took all the enjoyment out of it. (This is a bit similar about RG’s Mommy’s comment about her reasons for abandoning her one-time goal of being a concert violinist.)

One time he told me, “The first year I worked as a dentist, I joined another dentist in Alaska. The oil drilling and pipeline construction was at its peak. We worked 12 hours a day and charged whatever we wanted. Boy, I made a lot of money. However, when winter came I had never been so cold in my life, so I left Alaska at the end of that winter. There was no way any amount of money would compensate for being that cold.”

I could identify. One of the six high schools I attended was in Wisconsin, and I still remember waiting for the school bus when the temperature was -38 degrees. I swore once I became an adult, I would not live some place that got that cold.

“How did you decide to become a dentist?” I once asked him.

“When I was in college, I couldn’t get the classes I wanted. I noticed if you were in pre-med or pre-dental, you got to the top of the list when it came to getting classes, so I told the university I was planning to become a dentist. After a while, I actually applied for the dental school, and, to my surprise, they accepted me.”

I told Frank how a friend of mine once related the following anecdote to me.

My friend said, “My dentist was working on me and suddenly exclaimed, ‘When I think about the 18-year-old kid who made this career choice, I could kill that kid now.’”

Frank chuckled but indicated that dentistry wasn’t that painful for him.

He mentioned a wife once, so I asked, “Do you have any children?” He immediately answer in a manner that mixed a charming combination of determination, strong opinion, self-awareness, and cheerful geniality, “God No! I hate kids!”

I said his exclamation reminded me of comments by W. C. Fields such as:

Children should neither be seen or heard from – ever again.

I never met a kid I liked.

I like children – fried.

I began to put together a portrait of a person who had arranged his life fairly quite well to suit himself but cheerfully makes adjustments as he has to.

His final comment to me was, “Pretty soon every doctor and every dentist will be working for the government; it’s inevitable. Fortunately, it will be too late to get me.”


I went to my dentist a few weeks ago, reminding myself I have been meaning to write a few blog posts about dentists I have known.

At one time, my wife and I used a dentist named “Dr. Nixon.” Actually, President Richard Nixon had a brother who was a dentist, but I am pretty sure our dentist was not that Nixon. After we moved to Oregon for a while, we ended up with a dentist in Beaverton, Oregon who told us that Dr. Nixon did terrible work.

When we moved to the Hawthorne Blvd area of Portland, east of the Willamette River (which divides the city in two), our Beaverton dentist referred me to a female dentist a few blocks from our new home. It was the first female dentist I ever had, and I loved the experience. I don’t like going to the dentist any more than anyone else, but having a woman as my dentist gave me a comforting feeling of Mother, take care of me as I leaned back in the chair and submitted to the drill.

When we moved back to Washington, my daughter recommended a dentist she and Mommy (her partner) used in downtown Seattle. “Oh, I should mention, he’s gay,” she mentioned, though that was not a concern to me one way or another. Our Seattle dentist operated a large busy office with another [gay] dentist high up in a medical office building.

These dentists were very high-tech and attentive to detail in regard to patient comfort and safety. I was given my own personal mask to bring in for nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) so my mask would never be contaminated by contact with another face. In the waiting area, a rack held several hundred music CDs. Patients chose a disk to provide music piped into earphones while the dentist worked.

I am fairly certain that every hygienist , assistant, and receptionist was also gay. I will indulge in the stereotype of saying this office has a certain atmosphere and elegance one is unlikely to find in the average dental office.

That was my “city” dentist. In my next post, I will describe the “country” dentist I now have on the island.

V3 Rides into the Sunset

October 26, 2009

As I’ve mentioned, V2, who reads only memoirs is pretty in a wan, ethereal way. Her younger sister, V3, is attractive and vigorous, and always strikes me as very presentable and conscientious about making a good impression on customers and fellow workers. (This description fits my wife as well.)

However, I was a bit surprised the last time I encountered V3. I was parking my little car in the main library’s underground parking garage. I looked up and saw her roll into the garage on a large, impressive motorcycle.

When I was in my twenties, I thought it would be cool to own a motorcycle, and I rode on the back of a couple of friends’ motorcycles a few times.. However, I was quite aware that if I tried to ride one myself I would kill myself in very short order. My brother, more adventurous than I am, owned a large BMW for a while. However, one day he took a jolly spill. Aside from a few scrapes, he was not injured, but he said to himself, A fellow could kill himself this way and sold the bike a few weeks later.

I am not really surprised at women riding motorcycles, either. When my wife and I owned a pre-press business, two female employees owned and rode motorcycles.

However, I had never thought of V3 as a biker sort of gal. I walked over as she parked and said hello. I noticed that she owned an unusual brand of bike (which I don’t remember) and that it looked exceptionally spiffy and well appointed. I asked her about it.

“I think most motorcycles are kind of ugly and offensive,” she said. “I spent a lot of time choosing one that not only runs well, but also looks very tasteful and attractive.”

Which struck me as fine, but also very feminine. If my wife were into motorcycles, that is exactly how she would approach choosing her steed.

I am all for equal rights for men and women, and to the extent that a man can be a “feminist” I think I qualify. However, there is no doubt in my mind that there are innate differences between men and women that pop up in all sorts of odd ways.

Usually, V3 is chipper and upbeat (without being so positive and idealistic as to ruin my usual grimly cheerful cynicism. However, one day I found her is a very discouraged, melancholy state of mind.

I inquired about the cause of her distress.

She told me she was in her first semester of graduate school and having a terrible time in one of her classes. She felt like she wasn’t understanding any of her assignments; the professor was constantly criticizing and demeaning her work; in general, she wasn’t sure she was going to “make it” in terms of her dream of becoming a librarian.

I gave her a little pep talk, telling her that I had a similar experience when I started graduate school I also told her that quite a few professors get their main pleasure in life by destroying vulnerable and insecure students.

“Every truckload of apples is bound to encounter a rotten barrel now and then,” I told her. “Also, it takes a while to learn how to spin whatever style of bullshit is in vogue at the present time. Not everybody learns to wade through the muck successfully right away. And though they try to keep it a secret, there are a few decent professors as well. My suggestion is to just do your best this semester and give yourself a chance. If the next semester is as bad, maybe it is time to drop out or commit suicide or some such radical action. However, I suggest you keep plugging ahead for at least your fist year and see if things get better. You strike me as an intelligent and competent person; you’re obviously doing well here at the library; don’t give up on yourself yet.”

Apparently, I bucked her up enough with my pep talk; she promised not to give up until she was into her second semester.

I didn’t see her again until she had completed her first year. She was ebullient and cheerful again and told me she was doing fine in school. She also indicated my pep talk had helped her get through her difficult first sememster.

She graduated, was promoted to a good position, and worked at a distant branch in the mountains for a year or two. Every report I had indicated she was doing fine. The library system (like community colleges) employs a lot of half time people.

For some people, who need a full time income, the library system’s penchant for using part time workers is very exploitative and stressful. For others, with enough income from a spouse to not need a full time job, or desperately trying to lose weight (so they can benefit from starving for a while), they are able to survive a job and a work environment that might be toxic if full time. V3 fell into this fortunate group. However, the last time I saw her provided a piquant twist that lives fondly in my memory, as I will relate in the final episode of this series.

Random Granddaughter is back on her own again, by now probably running marathons, playing Rachmaninoff piano concertos, and organizing her kindergarten class to overthrow the government. While she occupies herself with these trivial pursuits, I will return to my tale of the Va-Va-Voom sisters.

Before I proceed on to talking about V2’s younger sister, V3, I have to add one footnote, related to my example of memoirs having to do with breast cancer..

Shortly before I retired, I learned from V3 that her sister had come down with breast cancer. The last report I received, from V2 herself, was that her mastectomy had gone well and that she was doing fine. I have not been in touch with either sister since I retired. I should check on her. Also, I am reading a memoir by an undercover cop in Arizona who pretended to be a contract killer so he could forestall people with murder on their minds. It’s a pretty good book, and it should be right down V2’s alley.

While I was working with V2 and helping her find memoirs, she mentioned that her younger sister loved libraries and dreamed of being a librarian.

One day, as I was working at the largest library in the system, V3 introduced herself to me. Unlike her rather wan, waif-like sister, V3 is an attractive, vigorous woman with a positive upbeat manner. Although by the time I met her, I had become rather disillusioned with the library system, V3 took to it like a duck to water.

One of the problems I had with the system was that internally it operates rather like the British class system, or like a military organization. At the bottom, you have pages/privates, who shelve materials and are not allowed to talk with customers [patrons]. Next, you have assistants/non-commissioned officers, who check material in and out and wait on the public. Then you move up to the librarians, who are like the minor aristocracy/officers. The librarians have Masters degrees in Library Science. At the top of the organization, you find the dukes/duchesses, counts, earls/generals/admirals. The Director of the Library is equivalent to a King/Queen/Commander in Chief.

As most people who work in libraries are very liberal and politically correct, and are for the most part female, my analogies offend them quite a bit, though a few rogues and rascals would admit to me off the record, “Of course; that’s exactly the way we function internally.”

However, V3 moved quickly up the ladder without losing her pleasant demeanor and lively sense of humor.

I gradually learned: she is married to a man who works in something to do with intellectual properlty rights to cartoons. I never met her husband, but my impression is that it is a very happy marriage. She told me that they have no intention of having children.

As she already had an undergraduate degree, she entered the librarianship program as a graduate student at the university. Occasionally in my life I am by chance able to do someone a good deed at just the right moment; perhaps there is a minor gene for fairy godmother in my genetic makeup. Happily, the wand worked once again in the case of V3, as I shall describe in the next episode.

The private school for very bright children presented a program to parents about their mathematics education. Random Granddaughter was supposed to demonstrate kindergarten math skills involving fractions. The sound system was faulty and produced loud feedback. Sensitive RG could not deal with the amplifier noise and fled to another room and started crying.

At the mommies house a few days after this unhappy experience, we talked about mathematics. Soon RG’s skills will outstrip mine, but I thought I might still have a useful tidbit to offer her.

I said, “Let me tell you how to divide a cookie fairly. One person divides the cookie. The other person gets to choose the half they want.”

RG understood the principle immediately. As she is a writer as well as a mathematician, she composed a parable about Mia and Alee. [Mia is her best friend who lives across the street; Alee is her younger sister.]

“Mia gets a cookie. She breaks it in half. She says to Alee, ‘You get to decide which piece you want.’”

“Exactly!” I said enthusiastically. “You can be sure that Mia will break the cookie very carefully, so both halves are very equal in size.”

Next week, RG goes on tour, lecturing to kindergarten classes across the country on the new field of mathematical ethics.

“If Random Granddaughter some day supervises other employees some day when she has a career, she will not be a very patient boss,” I said to my wife. RG had been supervising my wife and me when we were taking care of her, and she was not very patient with us.

“RG was not very patient from the day she was born,” replied my wife.

From the age of zero to the age of four, RG was not allowed to watch videos on the theory that videos are harmful to developing little minds. Once she reached the age of four, her mommies decided she can watch one or two carefully chosen videos in a week, usually for not more than about twenty minutes of viewing time in a session.

One of the issues here is Can some of the most brilliant parenting of the century turn a brilliant young drama princess child into a wholesome human being? David Rochester is watching with interest from a safe distance as he works on reintegrating his fragmented personality into a wholesome human being.

May you live in interesting times is not a Chinese curse, but we certainly live in such times, do we not?

Anyway, the mommies asked the grandparents to babysit, perhaps because we work for free, while they took advantage of tickets to a concert that they also got for free. Free can be a very good price.

“Here is a DVD with wholesome videos for children,” Mommy (RG’s birth mother) said. She asked RG what videos she wanted to watch.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type, was choice #1. This is a recent but already classic book for children, a book now animated movie about cows that type messages to the farmer on a typewriter. Unless he provides them with electric blankets, they will stop supplying him with milk. The plot thickens from there.

As a child of modern times, however, I doubt that RG knows what a typewriter is. When I was a high school student, I actually used a slide rule because calculators had not been invented yet. I used a buggy whip to make my slide rule go faster.

Courderoy was RG’s second choice. This is a book (now video) about a lonely little black girl who falls in love with a lonely teddy bear in a department store. RG lives in a world of multi-cultural influences. She has two mommies and two daddies. She has an adopted aunt from Singapore. And so on.

The mommies left for their concert. Grandma and Grandpa and Random Granddaughter settled on the couch in front of the combination television monitor/DVD player. Grandma held the remote. Grandma tried to start the DVD going. Mr. and Mrs. Random have a couple of television monitors, DVD players, and remotes at home. It’s not like we are video virgins.

Grandma could not get the video to start. RG expressed impatience. Grandma has a tendency to use bad words when she is frustrated, but she is very careful around RG. The mommies are prissy, goody-goody lesbians who do not much like to be described as “lesbians” and who certainly do not want a five-year-old daughter to hear bad words from Grandma and Grandpa. As RG is now attending kindergarten, however; it is only a matter of time before the first f-bomb comes home with her like a puppy following her home. [The mommies like cats better than dogs, also, and resist getting RG a dog.]

Eventually, after several tries, Grandma brought up a menu of the videos. She selected the typing cows video and pushed “Play” on the remote. The story began. The cows typed messages and went on strike. RG watched with interest. I haven’t heard about her going on strike yet, but it is surely only a matter of time. She didn’t ask about typewriters. I guess she figured a typewriter is something like a computer.

At the end of the story, Grandma tried to get back to the main menu. Instead of bringing up the menu, the entire rebooted and loaded slowly. RG expressed irritation. Eventually the list of videos appeared. Grandma tried to choose and start Courderoy. Each time she did so, the entire DVD rebooted. It took a long time for the list of videos to appear on the screen. About the third time this occurred. RG expressed her impatience and irritation quite strongly. “Perhaps Grandpa knows how to use the remote better than you do,” she told Grandma.

Grandma pretended she did not hear that remark. I kept my mouth shut.

Grandma said, “This remote does not work like the remote we have at home.”

RG said, “My mommies get it to work” in a very condescending and exasperated tone. I kept my mouth shut.

Grandma kept trying. On the fifth try, Courderoy began to play. Grandma said, “I did exactly the same thing I did on the other four tries, but this time it worked.”

RG did not say anything, but her face displayed an expression that eloquently communicated, Sure it did, Grandma.

She watched half the video. Suddenly, she said, “Let’s stop the video. I am ready to go to bed.” She has apparently internalize the time limit for watching videos.

RG went upstairs, flossed and brushed her teeth, picked out a book about church mice and a friendly cat and a party for me to read, and went to bed very peacefully and amiably without any drama queen theatrics.

The next day I tried to use my laptop. The mommies have changed their ISP/wireless Internet connection again. I could not get my laptop to connect to the Internet.

Mommy said, “Mama set this up. I don’t know how to connect your laptop. [Mama was at the university studying calculus.] Perhaps you can go to the library (which is only a few blocks away). Perhaps you can take RG with you to the library.”

RG and I walked to the library. I sat on a couch in the children’s section while RG browsed for books.

In the past, RG picked out books at random. Now she is learning to read, and her kindergarten teacher gave her some guidelines for picking out books. I don’t remember the exact directions, but the run something like this.

Look at a book. Try to read a little bit. If maybe two words are new, then choose the book. If five or more words are new, don’t choose that book.

RG chose several books. I looked them over. They seemed like excellent choices. One of the books struck me as an excellent choice for David Rochester as well, so I have ordered the book on the Internet and it is supposedly on the way to David and his Amazon. I hope they like it. If they do, RG gets all the credit. If they don’t, it is my fault.

We went to the self-checkout. I tried to check out all four of the books at once. The self-checkout only checked out one. I had to reboot the self-checkout. This was exactly like the experience Grandma had the night before with remote and the video player. As I kept slowly rebooting the self-checkout, RG twisted restlessly and said, “Grandpa, aren’t you done checking out the books? I am ready to go home.”

Eventually we went home, had something to eat, and went to RG’s cross-country race where she sobbed, ran 1/2 mile, and smiled when she received a blue ribbon. If your grandchild is thinking about working for RG some day or marrying RG some day, tell him or her to start training right now, because she will be a bossy boss and a severe spouse.

A Tale of Great Drama

October 14, 2009

My granddaughter had two sisters. They both died before they were born.

When RG was born, her mommies were so grateful they invited the good fairy to provide some blessings.

The bad fairy (who perhaps poisoned RG’s sisters before they were born) came also even though no one invited her, to deliver some curses for the child who succeeded in being born alive.

The good fairy said, “She will be very beautiful.” RG is very tall (taller than all the other boys and girls in her kindergarten class), is very slim, has long, straight blond hair, and pellucid blue eyes.

The bad fairy said about my granddaughter, “She will break many hearts.”

The good fairy said, “She will be a very sensitive princess.”

The bad fairy said, “There will be a pea under every mattress she sleeps on.”

The good fairy said, “She will grow up to care very strongly about everything she encounters.”

The bad fairy said, “She will be a drama queen.”

The good fairy said, “She will be a talented painter and pianist.”

The bad fairy said, “Every day of her life will be a tragic opera and she will die on stage after many wails and tears.”

The good fairy said, “She will be have very discriminating food tastes.”

The bad fairy said, “Every meal will be a combination of performances of Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, and King Lear, with dramatic sets painted by her and great music performed by her.”

The good fairy said, “She will be a great athlete and run marathons.”

The bad fairy said, “She will water every step of the race course with tears.”

At the moment, RG considers hot dogs and pizza as appropriate food for a little princess to eat. On our way to visit Her Little Highness, my wife said, “We will pick up a pizza.”

At the pizza place, Mrs. Random said, “This pizza is for a little princess who does not like pizza toppings. Make half the pizza plain with only cheese.” She listed some the toppings to put on the other half for the adults.

At dinner that night, Her Little Highness took one bite of the plain cheese pizza. She made a face. She said, “There is something hot [meaning “spicy”] on my pizza. It burned my tongue.”

Mommy [RG’s birth mother] said, “You are imagining things. You are eating plain pizza with nothing but cheese. There are no spices on it.”

Tears ran down RG’s face. She sobbed, “May I be excused from the table.” She went to her bedroom. The adults heard the sound of tears. “She’s such a drama queen,” said Mama (my daughter and co-mom, though now playing the role of evil stepmother in RG’s opera).

The next night, the mommies put two candles on the table to create a pleasant, romantic atmosphere, in case a prince or a princess, or both, knocked on the door and wished to dine with Her Little Highness.

The drama princess looked at the candle. “That candle is bothering me,” she said.

Mommy said, “There is no problem with the candle. You have been studying fire safety in kindergarten and now you are obsessing about fire.”

The drama princess said, “We didn’t talk about fire in kindergarten today. I just don’t like a candle on the table.”

Evil co-mom Mama said, “Here, I will put your candle over next to my candle. It will be far away from you. You will be safe.”

Drama princess RG said, “The candle still bothers me. I can’t eat dinner with the candle burning.” Tears ran down her face. She said, “May I be excused from the table?” Soon sobs sounded from her bedroom. The cruel, wicked mommies and grandparents enjoyed their dinner and the drama. Somewhere an evil fairy cackled with malicious glee.

On the last day of our visit, we attended a cross-country race. Hundreds of parents and small children gathered for the race. Mama, however, did not attend; she was at the evil university desperately studying her calculus. [The evil fairy apparently has an evil calculus/statistic cousin evil fairy. Mama’s parents sent mama a thousand dollars to pay for a calculus good wizard tutor helping her with calculus spells.]

All the children wore t-shirts with school names on the front. Most of the shirts had names with “Holy,” and “Cross,” and “Mary,” and “Luke” on them.

I asked, “Are these all private schools in this race?”

Mommy said, “The race is sponsored by an organization of Catholic parochial schools. A few private schools are participating as well.”

I said, “I fear cheating will take place. Angels will fly down and carry the little Catholic school children across the finish line. The children from the School for Very Bright Children (which RG attends as a very bright kindergartener) will move the finish line and nobody will know how they did it.”

All the children received race numbers, which their moms and dads pinned on their t-shirts with safety pins.

RG’s race number was 1905. “That was a very good year,” said Mommy, optimistically. A little boy in RG’s kindergarten class got the number 1929.

“That was not a very good year,” I said, pessimistically.

A large, very solidly built black man who looked like he might have been a football player at one time, if not for the NFL, at least for a college team, gathered all the children from the School for Very Bright Children together. He said, “The kindergarteners and the first graders will run 1/2 mile. The second graders and third graders will run a mile. The older children will have a different race.” A mother said, “I don’t think I can run half a mile.”

He led the children in stretching and warm up exercises, like a coach would. He was very kind and sweet to the little children, unlike any PE teacher I ever had.

I asked Mommy, “Is the the PE teacher for the School for Very Bright Children?”

She said, “No, he is the husband of the preschool teacher.”

I guess a former football player married to a preschool teacher provides the best of all possible worlds.

The children started walking to the starting line. As we walked, I heard sobs. I looked down, Tears were running down Her Little Princess’ face. I am not sure why she was sobbing, but if you are training to be a Drama Queen, you have to keep in shape.

At the starting line, the parents and children were very noisy. A race official began to clap. The children began to clap. RG knew what was coming. Like her introverted grandmother, she is very sensitive to loud noises. She covered her ears. Another official sounded a loud starter’s horn.

The first heat was for kindergarten boys. The boys began to run. One little boy waved his arms in the air and jumped up and down instead of running forward. I thought, That little boy is not very focused. Little boys are like that.

After the kindergarten boys disappeared in the woods, the race official began to clap again. The little girls began to clap. RG covered her ears again. The starting horn blared loudly again.

The little girls began to run. About sixty little girls ran forward very intently. I thought, The little girls are very focused. Little girls are like that. It was easy to see RG disappear into the woods as she was the tallest of the little kindergarten girls.

The husband of preschool teacher and perhaps former football jock said to us, “The track curves around that way, like a horseshoe. You might want to head for the finish line right now so you can beat the crowd to see the girls finish.”

Mommy and Grandma and I shoved our way through the crowd to the finish line. I won’t say elbows were used illegally, but we got to the finish line in time to see little girls emerging from the woods.

One little girl, very red in the face, sprinted to the finish line the first kindergarten girl to cross the finish line, followed by several other little girls, all red in the face as well. Although she was not the first racer, RG finished perhaps number ten out of the sixty starters.

At the end of the race, every little girl, regardless of where she finished, got a blue ribbon.

RG, also very red in the face, clutched her blue ribbon proudly. Grandma and Grandpa kissed Her Little Highness. Perhaps all her fast running had dried all her tears or perhaps the good fairy had blown them away, as she was smiling proudly.

Mrs. Random and I headed through the woods and found the parking lot without getting lost more than once or twice. Weheaded back toward the ferry.

The ferry, perhaps captained by a good fairy, brought us safely back to our island in Puget Sound.


Later, after I met her younger sister, V3, I once asked V3, “V2 once hinted to me she had been an alcoholic? Was she?”

V3 laughed and replied, “No, she is such a drama queen. Sometimes she likes to get all melodramatic about herself, but as far as I know she never had had a drinking problem.”