Monday, August 4, 2014

A Quiet Place

There are places we go in this world of ours that are loud. Places where the hustle and bustle of life proceeds free from the constraints of people’s shhh's and requests to "Quiet down." 

In short, there places where we can be nearly as loud and obnoxious as we please. 

Sporting events. Beaches. Concerts. Backyards. These are all places where I and others like me are free to be voluble and verbose at maximum volume. And I often take advantage.

The boy likes to take advantage of this too. He’ll bop around the house with loud little yelps and shrill yips punctuating his steps.

He’ll run and scream and giggle. And he’ll do it at home.  He’ll do it at the park. He’ll do it at the neighborhood pool. And, as we learned Sunday, he’ll do it in church.
Fortunately I was wearing an orange shirt when
he wiped his hands on me. 

I’ve never been much of a church-going man but, Mrs. Blackwell observes and since I’ve got nothing better to do most Sunday mornings, I tag along with the family. And while I’m not particularly well versed with church proceedings, I do know that when everyone is quiet, I need to be quiet too.

Master Blackwell, it turns out, has yet to learn this. 

“Earth shattering news, toddlers aren’t quiet in church,” you might be saying to yourself. And, while that’s a bit of a mean way to say it, you’re correct. We know this too and that’s why we come prepared.

Mrs. Blackwell always brings a cup of juice or water and some Goldfish (product endorsement opportunity here Pepperidge Farm!) for the boy to munch on.

We often have to cajole and occupy him throughout the service to keep his restlessness from getting audible. When all else fails we hand him a cell phone and that usually heads off any derailments.

However, on Sunday, the progression was a steep one and the boy progressed quickly from quietly placated to loud enough for 250 people to hear in no time.

He began by shifting in his seat and babbling loud enough for those folks within ten feet to hear him. Out came the munchies. He quieted down but then the babble returned. Louder this time.

So there he was. Eating, drinking and talking having a blast. The next step was to bring someone else in on the fun. That someone it turns out was me.

In the midst of one of his 360-degree turns, he stopped, said “Dahdee” and then shoved a handful of Goldfish into my face.

He was quicker than me and before I had a chance to open my mouth he’d released the school of crackers from his grip. Maybe two Goldfish made it into my mouth. The remainders found a new home in my shirt pocket, my lap and the floor.

The phone trick proved useful at a
recent haircut. No such luck on
Sunday though. 
My wife got a chuckle out of this. So did the boy. So did a few of the folks sitting near us.

Clearly on a roll, the boy took his revelry to the next step. He began repeating words being recited from the lectern — loudly.

I can’t remember what exactly was being said but the priest said the word “milk” then the boy yelled “Yeah! Milk!” loud enough for his voice to echo off the far wall of a church built to house upwards of  800 people.

True to form, the boy’s next exclamation was a Beatles’ song.

“Ob-La-Di! Yeah. Yeah!” he yelped.

Mrs. Blackwell looked at me with wide eyes and a wide smile. It was also a smile that had about a five-second shelf life. So quickly, I swept up the little two-legged distraction and we headed for the lobby.

I set him down and he began to run, while chatting to himself of course. As he jogged around and around and around, I noticed that I had company from two other dads who were doing exactly what I what I was doing — attempting to keep up and not bother anyone else in the process.

No comments: