Part of my job as pater familias is to keep the family well-entertained. My dear wife will attest to my efforts (if not to the fruits of those efforts ...). So in one of our rather longish car rides (it had to be more than 15 minutes in duration, so it was of the really-prolonged-are-we-there-yet-Papa? variety), I switched my story-telling tactics from historical significance ("This is how the pilgrims built houses" or "This is how seat-belts developed") to the farcical -- dare I even say: "wile"-y? -- because, well, because after telling the seat-belts story the 42nd time, I had stripped that mine bare of rich (or, even, any) material.
So, I told the story of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner: how the wily coyote was always trying to catch the Road Runner (for what purpose, I remained coy), and being slower than the road runner (meep-mbeep! fwhooosh!), was always ordering the latest gimmick from the Acme store (Ha! I bet you didn't know there really existed a store by that name). So, I told, from memory, the incident of the man-catapult.
My story was an instant hit. Of course it was: it had all the elements of a winner -- a lofty, albeit unattainable, goal, a persevering protagonist, the dominating force of nature, and classical physical humor. What's not to love?
Of course, the darling daughters demanded more and more stories, and so I had to recollect and recount these vignettes from memory. Then I had to make up some. And still they demanded more, applauding my efforts with peals of unrestrained laughter.
Partus Primus (that's fake latin for "Part #1")
So, my dear wife tells me, a week later, after I've returned from work in NJ (soon to be West Chester, PA ... joy, I've always wanted to add another two hours each way to my commute), that Elena, playing with a friend at ballet recounted these stories at face value after her friend told her what she had seen on TV. Think about it: Elena Marie has never seen a Warner Bros cartoon, but she's talking in context with a friend who has.
So, I wonder what my children will think of the "real thing" if I ever show them an episode. Will the cartoon reality be as rich as what their imaginings have provided?
So, the children love to put on impromptu plays and productions. So, as I was departing for work again this week, Elena Marie invited the parents to witness her latest invention. What I saw, when I was dragged to the bedroom, was the bed in shambles: on the cue of me entering the room, Isabel leapt into a pile of pillows at the foot of bed and the force of her launch propelled her into the chest of drawers (chiffonier to y'all down sauf).
Bang! Whaaaaaaa! was Isabel's heart-rent cry to my scolding. Bang! Whaaaaaa! was Elena Marie slamming the door to her bedroom and crying into her pillow.
Isabel quickly cheered up after several hugs and a promise of chocolate from a mother-haven, but Elena needed much more coaxing. Apparently the setup was to be a reenactment of the road runner and Wile E. Coyote (with the usual cliff's edge shenanigans), but Isabel, who played the road runner, was supposed to be invincible and infallible and emphatically wasn't supposed to fall off the cliff's edge, as it turned out. Elena couldn't be consoled, not because of an affectionate consoler, but because her best laid plans, well, "Gang aft agley".
Well, work, that cliff-crashing siren, called me away (fortunately, not to my shipwrecked doom, but the night is still young), but as I now have a "new" car (thank you, again, Mike and Malou for the life-saving loaner), I returned home to get my EZ Pass (another life-saver ... why waste time queuing up for tolls when one can zip right through ... like Jack-ther-Frost?) to find my little Elena Marie at the door, squealing with joy at the opportunity to receive a few hugs and to say good-bye properly. Little Isabel was sad, however -- I thought you left for work! -- she takes partings hard, and so having to part twice with Papa in one day was not something she regarded with any joy. Oh, well, sometimes you win, and sometimes you fall off a 3000' cliff chasing after dinner.