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My grandson Jaden is a social kid.

When my daughter needed to make a trip to Connecticut, he ended up spending two days with me. We did everything together.

And everywhere we went, he made new friends.

Before we even got out of the house on Monday, he had already engaged with the people on the recycling truck, saying “Hello!” and getting waves from the crew.

He and I drove a nice lady to her doctor’s appointment at mid-day, and we waited for her in the office. Jaden played with the puzzles in the office, read one of the books, but it was clear we still had some time left.

So he tip-toed over to the doorway that opened into the hall where the examining rooms were, and kept watch for our lady to come back. He also struck up a conversation with a 10-year-old named Alyssa, somebody he’d just met by standing in front of her with a big smile on his face until she acknowledged his presence.

Did I mention Jaden is three years old?

While Jaden kept watch at the hall doorway, he said “Hi” to everybody coming and going. The women – young and old – smiled at him. The dads patted him on the head, and a couple of young boys just looked at him like, “What’s he doing there and why didn’t I think of that?”

One nurse, after having a brief conversation with Jaden, came back with a plastic cup full of animal crackers. “They’re very crispy,” she said. “They just came out of the box.”

He went into the little bathroom and filled up his sippy cup with water, then sat down for snack time.

Tuesday we took a mile walk on the Newark/Arcadia portion of the Erie Canal Trail. Some Town of Arcadia trucks and sweepers were parked along one stretch of the trail where they were doing some leveling of the surface.

Jaden was concerned when he saw all that equipment and nobody in it.

“What happened to the men?” he asked me.

“It’s lunchtime,” I told him. “Those are big guys who use all that equipment and I bet they eat a big lunch.”

On our way back to the car a half-hour later, the work crew was coming back to their equipment.

“Did you have a big lunch?” he asked them.

We were about 100 yards from the car when Jaden spied a young woman out doing her noontime exercise on the trail, walking toward us. Jaden dropped my hand and took off running toward her. He met her a good 50 yards from where I was still walking.

The two of them had a brief but animated discussion. When she and I crossed paths on the trail a moment later, I asked her, “Was he hitting on you?”

She laughed.

It struck me later that I couldn’t tell if that was an “Of course not – he’s just a little boy” laugh, or a “Yes he was and it made my day” laugh. Either way, Jaden was a hit.

On his canal trail hike he got introduced to his first grasshopper up close and personal, was sorry he didn’t bring his net to capture butterflies, and warned everyone sitting in the park about the dead pigeon he saw under the bridge. He waved to people going by on their boat and watched them dock.

We stopped at Save-a-Lot on the way home to get stuff for lunch. I made him a ham-and-cheese sandwich and, just like his mother, he ate everything but the bread crust. We read a Berenstain Bears story about telling the truth, and a couple of minutes later, he was fast asleep. The long walk, the big lunch and the outpouring of charm had finished him off for the afternoon.

It was a nice couple of days.


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