2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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OUT OF MY HEAD
By John Addyman

   When my grandson Jaden comes to visit, he can play for hours and not say a word.
   But put him in his car seat and turn the key in the ignition, and he’s a flood of comments, opinion and observations. Like his mother before him, he has already learned to provide traffic directions from the back seat.
   Take last Friday. 


   He’s made my Meals on Wheels trip with me about six times. He has decided who our favorite clients are – the ones he wants to make sure he says “Hello” to – and which clients’ dogs he likes.  He has also, I discovered last Friday, remembered the name of everyone we visit, and something about their homes – the wind chimes, the front porch, the driveway, or the cows across the street...something.
   And on these trips, we talk about lots of things. Jaden has recently shown a little concern about his granddad getting old and not having as much fun as he used to.
   “Do you like games?” he asked me.
   “Some games,” I said.
   “Do you like Chutes and Ladders?”
   “I do.”
   “Do you like Candyland?”
   “One of my favorites.”
   He thought about things for a minute.
   “Do you like dominoes?” he asked.
   “I haven’t played a game of dominoes in a long time,” I told him. “I’m not sure I remember how to play.”
   “Dominoes is hard,” Jaden told me. “But I could teach you. We play dominoes in school.”    
   He plays dominoes in school?
   As I recalled, dominoes is a pretty serious game. There is some strategy involved in it, and you could absorb a pleasant afternoon playing dominoes. I remembered evenings when I jogged in Central Park – there were guys playing dominoes on the picnic tables. As I recall, there were dollar bills under the beer bottles. When I was a camp counselor in college, when my kids were asleep, I went to the canteen to play poker, pinochle or dominoes. I think there was beer there, too.
   “What do the dominoes look like?” I asked Jaden. I wasn’t sure we were talking about the same game.
   He told me about the black pieces with the dots on them, and some had one dot and some had two dots…and so on.
   “And when do you play this in school?” I asked him. He’s in pre-Kindergarten class a half-day every day of the week.
   “When we have play time,” he said.
   “And who plays dominoes with you?” I asked.
   Jaden mentioned a couple of kids’ names.
   We drove on a little bit.
   “I can teach you how to play dominoes, Granddad,” he told me. It was nice of him to sense that I was a little puzzled.
   “That would be fun,” I admitted.
   “Do you have dominoes at your house?”
   “I think we do have a box of dominoes somewhere.”
   “The toughest thing about playing dominoes is to make sure they all line up right and have the same space between them,” Jaden explained, “so they all fall down when you push the first one over.”
   “What?” I thought to myself. Then I got it.
   “Oh, THAT game of dominoes,” I said. “Yes, I like that game a lot. I can’t wait for you to show me how you do it…”
   I got a glimpse of Jaden in the rear-view mirror. He was sitting in his car seat, arms folded, looking out the window, very satisfied with himself, thinking about teaching Graddad a new game.
   And I can’t wait. 

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1 Comment to " "

  1. Jim Bush Said,

    Neat story! I enjoy your writing!

    Posted on Wed Feb 16, 08:08:00 AM EST

     

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