Monday, April 09, 2018

Let's play the Pointing Game...My column from Sunday's paper

NOTE: The idea for this column came from a blog post last week.

This past winter was cold. The earth and especially the fruit trees loved it. Jilda prefers cold weather to hot weather. I’m not as big a fan. My joints run dry, and it’s all I can do to keep from spraying WD-40 on my knees. But over the past few weeks, things began to change. I’ve spent more time on the back deck than inside the house.

Easter Sunday, we invited Jilda’s brother and his family over for lunch. Jilda baked a ham, field peas, slaw, mac & cheese, and she also whipped up a vat of potato salad. 

Our company showed up early, and it didn’t take much to coax the kids outside while Jilda finished up the food. Jordan is 10, and Anthony is 8.

The sky was a shade of blue that you only see in early spring after rain washes the pollen and gunk from the atmosphere. 

When I'm watching the young'uns, I tend to make up games on the fly. One of the inventions
was the Pointing Game. I start off easy by telling them to point to a dog. Then I say, point to a chicken. Then I say point to a yellow flower. The instant they start thinking it's too easy, I say point to a four-leaf clover. Hmmm. All of a sudden, they are scrambling for a patch of clover and furiously fumbling through leafy things trying to find a four-leaf clover. Jordan is better at this game than his younger cousin Anthony. It took him less than five minutes to find the prize. But we did it a few more times until Anthony found one, too. 

Then we find a few easier things before I say, “Let’s find something a little harder.” There’s a little test I do to make sure the kids know their directions. It takes a moment for Jordan to orient himself, but I’ve played direction games in the past with him. I'd asked my phone for any aircraft that was overhead, and it told me there was one to the south about 20 miles away. I knew it would be in sight within a few minutes. 

“Let’s find an airplane in the southern sky,” I said.

Jordan helped Anthony figure out directions by thinking about the direction of sunrise and sunset. Soon, he's jumping up and down point to a cottony contrail about 30 degrees above the southern horizon. I used the palm of my hand as a visor to block the sun and looked in the direction he was pointing. “Right again, kiddos.”

Soon came the call from inside telling us the food was ready and we headed inside.

Before he left going back home, Jordan said, "The pointing game was better than an Easter Egg hunt."  That's good because we'd used all the eggs for the potato salad.

After everyone left, Jilda and I took a long Easter nap. 

That evening at sunset, I poured a glass of Easter Merlot and stepped out onto the deck to get an analog weather report. The sky looked like a Monet painting. I thought to myself, “It’s partly cloudy with a 100 percent chance of bliss.


  1. YOu gotta love them long Easter naps! Even the the toughest can be whipped down by great kids!

  2. Partly cloudy with a 100 per cent chance of bliss is the forecast we all need.

  3. This column was easy and blogger approved.
    Hugs, Julia

  4. I love your forecast : It’s partly cloudy with a 100 percent chance of bliss. It's supposed to partly cloudy here today and I'm hoping a blissful one too.

  5. A perfect Easter celebration!

    Jordan would kick my a** in the direction game, but Mrs. C could give him a run for his money.

  6. Any game that makes a child think is a good game.

  7. Anonymous1:16 PM

    I love your family & I'm sorry I missed lunch!!

  8. Jack is good with the north and south, east and west, I just need a point of interest to guide me. You know, turn left at the Marathon gas station, right at Grandpa's Cheesebarn...Jordan would totally win with me!


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