"I think it starts with an F," said the little girl with directionally challenged, golden waves.
"Oh?" said my sister, Louisa.
"Yeah, I think so."
Louisa was behind the wheel.
Oceanne, my granddaughter, the kid with the upside down curls, was sitting in a booster chair in her back seat.
They were on their way to meet me at my son and daughter-in-law's house.
I was ahead of them in my car, with Oceanne's little sister Iris, who was strapped in her car seat, sound asleep.
It was a tag team babysitting kind of a weekend.
It began on Friday when Grandma Giselle had taken the kids overnight.
And then on Saturday Sven and I had the opportunity to enjoy the bundles of joy, with Oceanne leading us in various activities. Of course we played our favorite dog and cat game. We also did a bit of flying around the chimney on brooms. Because who can pass that up? And we were cured of many ailments that we did not have, by the bright eyed, tiny, creature.
The one with the doctor's bag that looked like a tool kit.
The same doctor who said, "She's fine," when Iris was screaming her head off in need of a diaper change.
Fortunately, Oceanne focused her medical attention on my sweet Sven as he was an easy target for shots and medicine, lying there on the couch.
On Sunday morning he went golfing while Louisa met us girls for breakfast at our favorite restaurant on the lake. There Oceanne entertained us with her highly advanced skills in building towers out of jelly packages and coffee creamers while Iris sucked on her mother's breast milk through the nipple of a bottle that I was holding onto with one hand as I did my best to get some hash browns on my fork with the other.
There were just two more hours for Oceanne to keep us busy before she would switch her focus onto Grandma Giselle who would be taking over babysitting at noon, when we pulled up in front of my son's house.
As we walked in the door Oceanne disappeared in her bedroom in search of our next activity.
During her absence Louisa said, "What kind of a new car did Giselle get?"
"I didn't know Giselle got a new car," I answered.
"According to your granddaughter she did."
"She says it is really cool."
"It starts with an F."
"How do you know that?"
"Because Oceanne told me on the way over here."
"The second letter is a U."
"That's what she said," says Louisa. "I said, what kind of car did your grandma get? And she said, I can't remember but I think it starts with an F."
"Yeah. So, I was thinking, Ford. And then she says, I think the second letter is a U."
"Ha!" I burst out.
"So, I was thinking. Well, you know what I was thinking. And then Oceanne says, "Call me crazy, but I think the next letter is a C."
"I almost went into the ditch," said Louisa. "Did you see me swerve, right there by the Little Store?"
"What comes after the C?"
"Nothing. She said that was it. It was an FUC car."
"What's so funny, Grandma?"
"Oh, hi honey. What have you got there?"
"This," she says holding up a box that rattled.
"Perfect," I said. "I am going to lay your sister down and then we can play."
It's hard to keep track of time when a five-year-old on a booster seat takes turns whooping you and your sister's ass at Connect Four, match after match.
But in order to keep Candy Land from surfacing on that kitchen table we happily took our beatings.
I almost won once.
And then Giselle arrived.
And then Oceanne beat Giselle.
We all hung out taking turns playing until Iris started fussing.
And then I said, "Hasta la vista, Baby," to Giselle.
I was just about to stick my key in the ignition and there stands Louisa.
I pushed the power button to lower my window.
"Would that be Giselle's new car over there?" she said.
"Oh, my God. I forgot all about that."
We crossed the street to inspect the shiny new vehicle.
"So, what kind is it?"
"Well, it is a Ford," says Louisa.
"That it is."
"A Ford Explorer," she read.
"Hmmmm," we both said circling the automobile, "A Ford Explorer."
"It is pretty nice," I said checking out the interior.
"And then Louisa cracks up."
She was doubled over in the middle of the quiet street.
"It's not an F U C."
"That I know," I said.
"This is an S U V."
And life went on.
For fifteen years.
And then it was last Saturday.
Little Iris's big dance recital day.
We watched her do crazy hip-hop moves, some beautiful ballet, and then an amazing, interpretive solo to, The First Cut is the deepest, in a red dress that killed.
It was past midnight when Sven and I went up our stairs to bed.
Because after the recital afternoon came Iris's birthday party.
It was just your typical birthday party.
You see, Iris's boyfriend threw her into the very, very chilly, just opened for business, swimming pool in their backyard. So, she ate her grilled chicken wearing a soaking wet dress. And then Oceanne, who was also adorned in a dress was tossed into the water by her boyfriend. And then Oceanne tried several times to push C.J. in, only to find herself back in the water, over and over. I don't know what she was thinking. C.J. was a wrestler. And then finally he did go in, quite extraordinarily when six-year-old Lilly, gave him a tiny shove. But he made sure to pull Oceanne along with and over his head. It was only a few minutes later that Lilly landed in there too. And then, the boys, my grandsons, ran inside, put on their swimsuits and brought out a toothpick. That is when all of them played the toothpick game. The toothpick game is very intense. And it is hilarious. But not quite as intense and hilarious as the hula hoop contest that sprung out of nowhere.
Travis was surprisingly good at the hula in his cowboy stance. He rocked. C.J. won the neck version of hooping. Iris could do a hopscotch dance with it and her guy Brady held his own. That is until it got down by his knees. Then he was a gonner. Baby? She needs a lesson. Lots of lessons. Sean, my youngest grandson was the fastest spinner. His mother, Nicolette, although a little rusty, definitely has the spunk and the determination to take everybody down one day, if she so desires.
Giselle and me?
We did all right.
Just wait till the summer.
But the winner of the 2018 unofficial, official hula hoop contest is Oceanne.
Oceanne didn't even have to move. The hoop just spun around her like she has some sort of gravitational pull, and she is the center of centrifugal force.
It was spooky.
On Sunday, I dragged myself out of bed and into a beautiful sunny Spring morning.
I poured myself a cup of coffee.
I took my dog, Hunter, for our ritual walk.
We were on the path in the woods.
He was rooting around, thinking about nothing. Or maybe about what he was rooting around after. Maybe.
I was right behind him thinking about all of the chores I had not done on Saturday. How the weekend had gotten away. How I'd better get busy. How I would start by throwing a load of wash in and....
My phone rang.
"Hi Gramms, it's Oceanne."
"A bunch of us are going out for breakfast. Do you want to come with?"
A little while later I pulled up to my favorite restaurant on the lake.
I parked my car next to Giselle's F U C.
And went inside.