"Mom, is there a rule in the city that you can't have pirates?" Jack queries, his voice in the backseat somewhere to the left.
"Yeah," I say. We sail along the freeway, rain a torrent of gravel on the windshield.
"Oh," he says. I flip the wipers on, squeegee an intermittent window of visibility. "'Cause I told Jane that was a rule," he gabbles. "I bet that Grampa could defend from pirates on his boat 'cause he's got a gun that even shoots REAL bullets."
"Yeah, he does," Lucy adds.
"It actually shoots smoke," Jane corrects, "and sometimes a little fire."
"Oh." I say. Now shoulder to shoulder with a semi, all spindrift and lather, I crank the wipers to the high setting, hold the wheel with both hands, balance coffee cup at the prow. "Like a flare?" I say.
"Yeah." The children watch the splutter of surf on the front window. "You could turn the wipers up," Jane offers. I flick the blinker and switch lanes, glide to the exit ramp.
"Grampa would be really good at defending from pirates," Jack continues. "I think there's even a lake in the city where his boat could go."
We slacken on the off-ramp. The rain eases.
Pirates. 75 B.C. Julius Caesar sets sail on the Mediterranean sea. Pirates seize the ship and kidnap Caesar. They demand $100,000 ransom, but Caesar busts out laughing at their demand. He states his name will fetch at least $250,000. All the while he bosses the pirates, demands they keep quiet when he naps, serve him good food, and warns that as soon as he's free, he'll return and execute them all. They think it's a joke.
Rome pays. Caesar convinces the Roman navy to lend him three warships. This time when the pirates ambush, they fight in hand-to-hand combat climbing from one ship to another. Caesar captures the pirates, drags them home to Rome and executes them.
Pirates. The children envision the story with the props they know: Grampa, magnificent Grampa.
4360. Pickled green peppercorns.
4361. White windbreaker.
4362. Tuesday at mom, the kids leave the car door ajar. The battery dies. My dad swoops in and jumps the car, saves the day. Rescued and taken care of, it's a wonderful feeling.
4363. Everyone makes it to Tuesday at Mom's.
4364. Quinoa bacon cranberry salad with pecans.
4365. The quilt that Gramma said had all the happy colors.
4366. "A little bit of dirt got here," Myra explains a smudge on her elbow, "because it really did."
4367. Hambone soup with beans, a whole giant pot of it. And bread, buttery bread.
4368. I scuffle in my old worn Dansko and tumble a bowl of ice cream, strawberries, and chocolate sauce on the carpet. Craig rakes up the pile while I make up another bowl.
4369. The Hobbit, a date night with Craig.
4370. Mascara. Brown, waterproof, mascara.
4371. Shoes, black sporty tennies. A new pair of tennies. My rickety old Danskos head into retirement, the ones that pitched me down the cement stairs at Jack's wrestling match, the ones that splatted the ice cream. New black shoes steal the show!
4372. I ask Jane if God has been teaching her anything that she can tell me about. "To be gracious in difficult situations," she says.
4373. We sit down to a warm drink and dessert and Jane initiates conversation. "So have you read anything good lately?" she says.
4374. "Mom," Jack says, "I want to do this where we write a bunch of paragraphs all week and then pick a day of the week to share them."
4375. Craig and I watch Andy Stanley on parenting.
4375. A whole pack of bell peppers.
4376. A bouquet of daffodils and hyacinth in a Raggedy Andy vase.
4377. Craig's mom tells me about lilac cologne her dad gave her when she was 15. Lilac and hyacinth, the best scents, she says.
4378. Craig and his mom re-pot 90 tomato seedlings.
4379. Four nephews join us Sunday afternoon. Perfection.
4380. Jude strides in, looks me full in the face. "You're pretty," he says and etches his four-year-old face in my mind.
4381. Myra cracks the dishwasher and slips a bowl in. "It smells like ants, Mom," she says, "holy moly.
4382. I sew the armpits closed on Joey's monkey sweater and start the button band.
4383. We listen to the first part of Perelandra with the kids.
4384. I reflect again how much I enjoy being with our children and Craig.