Hodgepodge: Happy birthday, Andrew!

A Birthday For Andrew

Last week was a very busy one for our little friend Andrew.  

I was told by one of the good birthday fairies circulating among our backyards that during this week we were no longer going to be able to count Andrew’s age on one hand.  

Andrew would be six.  

I have been keeping track of Andrew in this space for a few years now. In July, 2010 I wrote, “Andrew loves to check out our bird baths . . . he goes from one to the other, washing his hands, rubbing his face, and checking all the garden flags and ornaments.”

That was the summer that I was recovering from an injured knee: “I can tell you that life with a helpless knee would be a lot more tedious without Andrew to entertain me.”  

From August, 2011: “Andrew has discovered that there are two syllables in my first name. Several months ago his mother told me that she heard him say to another young neighbor, ‘That’s Ro-ee, he’s my favorite guy.’”

From August, 2012: “Andrew is currently in the process of training his successor to take on his duties, and his almost one-and-one-half year old brother Nathan is catching on fast. When he comes to visit our bird baths, in go the fingers, straight to the facial rub-down.

One thing we have noticed this summer is Andrew’s fondness for – not sweets, but for vegetables from his mom’s gardens.  

When I thought he was munching on a piece of candy a few days ago it turned out that it was a tomato from the garden.  When he presented it to us there were two small bites missing from one end.”

Jan. 12, 2013:  “When my wife saw our young neighbor friend, Andrew, while she was in the process of making Christmas deliveries, she asked him if those were his Christmas jammies that he was wearing.  The answer was “no” without further elaboration.     

“It was a week and a half later when we got the chance to talk to Andrew again.  We met up with him when we were all getting out of our cars in our driveways.  

Without any unnecessary commentary Andrew, while apparently recalling Sue’s Christmas question, pulled his snow pants down, revealing brightly colored pajama pants. 

“These are my pajamas from Santa,” he said. And appropriate jammies they were.  Brother Nathan must have approved. He smiled.

Last year I was comparing Andrew’s birthday party to mine when I was young when my friends and I played games like “Spin the Bottle,” “Drop the Clothespin in the Bottle,” “Ring Around the Rosie” and “Musical Chairs.”

“Earlier this week my wife and I attended a birthday party for our little neighborhood bud, Andrew, who was celebrating his fifth birthday. Like us all those many years ago, the party-goers played games.  

“I discovered that birthday parties have themes these days, and the theme of Andrew’s party was “Pirates and Pixies.”  There were many of each of all ages in Andrew’s back yard.

“There were games, but I didn’t see any clothespins, donkeys to be pinned or bottles to spin. The young pirates and pixies were walking the plank, participating in a treasure hunt, getting their faces painted, running through the park across the street, eating cupcakes and having a wonderful time.”

2014: Oma and Opa and “Ninjas”, Too!

I knew something was going on last week when there were balloons hanging from the trees.  

Oma and Opa and Nana and Papa had been coming and going and they were carrying bags of presents and other goodies, and Aunt Abigail from California was in the backyard.  

Although it seemed to me that there was a party every day, Andrew informed me that he had two parties, and one was a “Ninja” party.  (That one took a little research, but among other facts I discovered that if you were six or somewhere in that vicinity age-wise, you would consider that to be quite cool).

During all these festivities I tried to keep a close eye on little brother Nathan.  He seemed to know what was going on at all times. At one point he appeared on the back porch wearing a “wellie” on one foot with bare toes showing on the other.  

I was certain that I should take this as a warning to “be prepared” for something.  Maybe the bathtub was flowing over. 

Now, To Get Ready For Sister

Although the boys were fully tuned into party week, they seemed to be ready to handle the responsibilities that come with being big brothers when their new little sister arrives in July.

I’m thinking that there will be more balloons in the trees that week. Pink ones.

Jeet yet?  

This version of the question, “Did you eat yet”, its expected reply, “No. Jew?” (No, did you?), and “Sgo, (Let’s go), the response to that reply, are said to have roots in South Jersey, Philadelphia or the Deep South. 

My personal introduction to the above question, reply and response came in Miss Pidge’s 10th grade after lunch English class, when she said she heard that exchange in the school’s hall during lunch.

In retrospect, it could have been something that was going from student to student at that time, or it might have been our popular teacher’s attempt at passing along a piece of humor that she had heard.

According to Richard Lederer in his book, “Anguished English,” we are assaulted by such slurrings as shoulda, woulda, coulda and people “drinkin’ outa bahls” (drinking out of bottles). 

Lederer says this misuse of the English language in its purest form “mispronounces English words into other English words.

Bar. To take temporarily. “May I bar your eraser?”

Dense. A tooth expert. “Yuck. I have a dense appointment today.”

Girl. An article of clothing. “She had to work hard to get her girl on.”

Lays.  The opposite of Gemmen.  “Lays and Gemmen, I now introduce our guest speaker.”

And, finally – Sunny. Day before Money.  “When Sunny comes, can Money be far behind.”

Lots of interesting reading in Richard’s book.                                                           

 …  Roy Hodge 

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