Rhyming Time

Yesterday I wasn’t too enthusiastic about going to teach art to the kids. I felt like they were losing their focus, and I’m not the goddess of construction, paper, glue and cute crafts. I’m an artist, dammit! But I went. The kids were waiting in the alley,. The little boy was on his bike. Regular readers of my blog know that a period of my life was spent with a group of boys and their BMX bikes. It was a strange time (but really, how would I know?) and our little group of a lady with a truck and boys on bikes was the best part. And there I was yesterday, looking at C, a little boy who was eager to show me how fast he could ride and the great stop he’d learned.

My heart went back to those Boys on Bikes, now in their 40s, some dead already. The one to whom I was closest is raising his own kids now and is teaching his little boy — who’s about the age of C — to ride BMX.

Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” Personal history too, it seems.

C’s parents are more protective of him than the Boys on Bikes’ parents were of their boys. He’s only allowed to ride in the alley when I’m out there, otherwise he has to ride in his yard and driveway. Knowing this, I walked down the alley very, very slowly. He showed me how fast he can ride and he showed me his skidding stop. He fell, took it “like a man,” and I said, “Good for you. The only way to learn is to fall.”

The Boys on Bikes — until they met me — rode their bikes ten miles from our neighborhood up to the BMX jumps. My Ford Ranger and I, and the fact that almost daily I drove up to where the jumps were, were a big boon to their lives.

It’s just a different world today in so many ways, but I liked our old world. I admired the reckless courage of those boys so long ago and the way they took shovels up there to perfect, adjust and repair the dirt jumps. They were amazing.

Little boys are an interesting species. Much derring-do and showing off of prowess; they are all medieval knights.

Yesterday I ran the art “class” a little differently. I had two activities planned and made them go run around the yard for 5 minutes in between. They’d also done their homework. The little girl, M, had drawn me pictures of animals and C had three nice pictures of trucks. He showed me one and asked if I could read the writing on it. “It’s Morse Code,” he said. “Can you read Morse Code?”

I said no and he told me it said, “Hi Miss Martha.”

He used the charcoal pencil I gave him for the road beneath the truck and the tires.

When they came in from “recess” we made tissue paper sun catchers. They loved the project, which was incredibly messy, and Mom even joined it.

“Isolation…exposed the deep sense of connection I took for granted within my relationships with friends and family. Don’t forget to express gratitude for those connections.” From today’s Washington Post newsletter on coping with COVID-19

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/10/24/rdp-saturday-strange/

Kids’ Art Class Update

As I headed to art “class,” the kids were already waiting in the alley. We had class outside today which was kind of funny considering this is the San Luis Valley which is ALWAYS windy and we were working with tissue paper. There were plenty of rocks around to hold stuff down and, godnose, we’re used to the wind. The whole time we were outside working, Bear heard us and barked. We heard her a block away.

We made ghosts. I showed them a finished one and asked them to tell me how I made it. Good strategy. The kids made a bunch, hung them all around, put glow-in-the-dark paint on the ghosts’ eyes. They’re going to tell me later if the ghosts’ eyes glow. “Do you want to stay for supper and wait to see if the ghosts’ eyes glow?” asked the little girl. Because we were outside, there was much running around, then we drew a haunted house.

My drawing is hanging in the little boy’s room. Finally got my gallery show.

The little girl threaded a needle for the first time. They got new snow boots. The little girl offered to come home with me and pick up Teddy’s toys from the back yard. The little boy told me to text his mom when Bear decides where she wants to take her walk today. Going for a walk with Bear and me is his best thing EVER.

I watch them and take in all the beautiful pictures of what they do for the scrapbook of wonder I keep in my mind.