Friday, August 03, 2007

Farm, Family, Fish, Fun, and the Fresh Prince

Farmland beckoned, and we heeded its call. Without camera. A seemingly innocent decision. On the highway, realizing that we'd left it sitting patiently on the desk. Would a knight leave his sword? A ball player his glove? Poor, I say. Poor.

Yet all is not lost, for despite us missing the few times in life chance to document all three boys catching fish . . .

Yes, that's correct. All three of our children caught fish this weekend. With poles. And hooks.

Aidan landed the first one. Sam, the second. Noah, well Noah accounted for towing the end of the line by reeling in the largest catch of the day. Such was the size of his striped bass that when posed the question of what exactly to do with it, he chose to have a cousin cart it back to the farmhouse in a plastic bucket to await its glorious sacrifice.

He paraded into the yard as a victorious, conquering King of the Pond. Said fish died long before any of us minions ever considered cleaning and filleting its earthly body, but there was much rejoicing and worshiping at the bucket before the tragedy struck.

Being the oldest brother, Sam's competitive juices started flowing. And when Uncle Jeff asked if he might take Sam back to the Pond after his brothers we asleep in their tent, it would have required more strength than the combination of Leah and I possessed to hold Sam back from sprinting down the grassy path.

The pair returned after sunset reporting that they totaled 15 documented catches, the largest of which, outclassing Noah’s prize by at least a full pound and maybe 5 inches, was also brought back to the farm to be displayed for all eyes to gaze upon in wonder and amazement. Did I mention the Pond is stocked?

Ah, but I digress.

And yet, despite us having no visual documentation of the fish, the sleeping of our entire family in our new 6-person tent, the hugs from my movie star niece, my new Godson (whom I graciously deferred holding for the benefit of our extended family – this will not happen ever again), the loving of the baby farm animals, the building of the bonfire, the eating of the s’mores, all of that, the most memorable item from our weekend family reunion is auditory in nature.

For at some point on Sunday, while sitting at the picnic table with Sam, Noah and Aidan, I started singing a song, improvising silly verses for their benefit. Naturally, my sons forcefully asked me to stop singing. Instead of simply ceding to their demand, I turned the tables, and challenged them to sing a song instead of me.

Expecting to hear crickets, I was struck dumbfounded when a voice rang out,

“My name is Aidan.
I can walk.
I am a boy
[slight pause] And I can talk.”

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the rest of the Holy Orchestra of Archangels, get that boy some backup singers and a recording contract.

Post Script: We arrived at our homestead Sunday evening, thankfully without travel incident. Putting the boys in bed, I kissed each one, and quietly said goodnight. Noah began to sob.

“What’s wrong,” I asked.

“Daddy, I wanted to cook that fish.”