“To be with a child is to become a bit of a child again, for that magical moment.”
For one wonderful day last week, I had the chance to return to being a kid for an entire day.
My niece Jody and her husband, Dave, have been blessed with two wonderful little boys who are farmers to the core.
Blayne, 7, and Brayden, 5, keep me on my toes when it comes to sidewalk farming.
Before we started our day of farming, we had to decide who was going to be who. I asked right off the bat if I could be Bill Cameron for the day. Blayne thought about it for a little bit, smiling, and said, “Yeah, I guess that would be all right.”
Blayne decided he wanted to be Dave, and Brayden decided he wanted to be his Uncle Bub for the day.
I reminded the boys that in the past when I have asked if I could be called Bill Cameron, they both told me no. Bill is their neighbor and everyone’s friend, a life-long farmer and community comedian extraordinaire, and in the past the boys told me I simply didn’t know enough to be Bill Cameron.
This time, they decided they would let me try to be the wise, witty and wonderful Bill Cameron for a day. It wasn’t easy. Right off the bat, I was corrected when I went to move a big bale from one part of the family room to the other.
“Hey! You have to use the big John Deere for that job!” Blayne hollered to me. Brayden just sort of pursed his little lips and gave me a look with those bright blue eyes that said, “You need to try harder,” but the little guy didn’t say a word.
I decided I needed to buy some hay for my cattle. I asked if either Dave or Bub had any hay for sale. It turned out Dave had four bales he would sell me. Now, mind you, these were small bales (mighty small!) but they were selling for $15 a piece.
I said, in my best Bill Cameron manner, “Fifteen dollars! That’s a heck of a lot of money for small bales!” and Blayne-as-Dave replied, “Well, it’s the best darn hay around.”
I agreed to buy all four bales. I asked how much I should write the check for, expecting some random number to fly out of little Blayne’s mouth.
He thought for a minute, this 7-year-old kid who just finished first grade, and then he said, “Fifteen, thirty … um, that will be $60 for the hay, but you need to pay me for delivering it to your farm, too.”
Blayne decided it was about 5 miles from his farm on the west side of the play floor to my farm. He said he charges $5 a mile. I said, “Well, then, I need to write you a second check for that. How much will that be?” I again expected some odd answer to this little puzzle, but after just a little bit of thought, Blayne answered, “That will be $25 for the delivery.”
I nearly fell off of my imaginary John Deere tractor! This child has never been taught multiplication tables, and yet he came up with two correct answers to questions that required the ability to multiply. How in the world did he accomplish that?
As the day warmed up, it was time to move to the back yard. Brayden put on a hat, hunted up a little black calculator and hitched an old training wheel on to the back of his bicycle.
Buying ice cream
He told me where to sit and he would come down my driveway to sell me ice cream and any other food that I wanted to buy from him.
As he approached my imaginary house, he pulled the calculator out of his back pocket and said with total seriousness, “What can I get you today?” I told him I wanted chocolate and vanilla ice cream.
He punched some numbers in to his calculator and said, “Oh, shoot. I’m going to have to start over.”
He carefully punched some more numbers in to his little black box and said, “Yeah, I have that on the truck today. I got any kind of ice cream you want. What else?”
Buying lizard meat
I told him I wanted lizard meat. He did some more punching of numbers and said, “Yeah, got it.” “I have never made lizard meat. How do you fix that?” I asked.
Brayden looked off in to the distance, gave considerable thought to my question. In a very somber voice, he explained, “Actually, it’s very, very hard. First, you have to add oil. Stir it with a big spoon for a long, long time. Cook it for 6 hours. Then you add lizard juice.”
I told him I didn’t have any lizard juice in my kitchen. “Oh, don’t worry. I got it on the truck. You want some of that, too?”
The entire order, when added up on Brayden’s calculator, came to $1. Now I’m wishing I would have ordered some better stuff!