Vinnie’s Mom Asks If There Is Any Hope

19

Vinnie’s sitting on the floor huddling with Rupert and Dexter. Vinnie’s mom whispers to Vinnie’s dad, “Let’s end this. I don’t know how much more I can take.”

“You know what the psychologist told us, Dear. He said Vinnie is very creative and we need to encourage him,” whispers Vinnie’s dad.

“That’s true, but the psychologist doesn’t live with him,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I agree, it’s all about finding the right balance,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“When do you think we’ll find it?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad pauses for a moment, then says, “Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about these kinds of family situations.”

“And …” Vinnie’s mom encourages Vinnie’s dad to continue.

“Are you ready for this?” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Don’t tell me there is no hope,” says Vinnie’s mom. “Well ….?”

“You told me not to tell you,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie pops up from underneath the table. “No hope for what, Mom?”

“You have very big ears, Vinnie,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie feels each of his ears with his hands. He twists them forward and backward. He says, “I think they’re just the right size, Mom. You should see Marty’s ears, they look like …”

“Don’t say anything that is disrespectful about Marty. He can’t help it his ears are big,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Mom, do big ears make you hear better? Because Dad doesn’t always hear what you say. So, I must take after you. Do you have big ears?”

Vinnie’s dad turns a bit toward Vinnie’s mom. Vinnie’s mom takes her ponytail out and lets her hair hang over her ears. “My ears are perfect for my head, like yours.”

“Why did you say I had big ears, Mom? Why, Mom?”

“It was only an expression because you hear everything.”

“You get five points for the answer, Mom. Dad gets minus five because he doesn’t listen to you.”

“What did I do? I’m sitting here minding my business. Let’s have the final question,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“You asked for it, Dad. “Did you ever smoke pot in high school or college?”

“Where did you get this question?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“I didn’t think of it, Dad. It’s Dexter’s question. I think Monica’s mother smokes pot.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “You don’t even know Monica’s mother. Did Monica tell you her mother smoked pot?”

“No, Mom. When I was waiting for bus on Friday outside school. Monica’s mom and her little brother came to get her, she had to go to the orthodontist.”

“And …” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Monica’s little brother whispered something in Monica’s mother’s ear. Then she said, We’ll go pot when we get home. That’s bad, right, Mom? Should I tell Mrs. Navis and tell her to call the police?”

“Heavens no. The poor little boy had to go to the bathroom, that’s all. Some people use pot or potty with little kids,” says Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie’s dad interrupts, “Can I answer the question why you can’t always do what you want to do?”

Vinnie glances at his dad, “Where’d you get that question, Dad?”



Gazing at the Great Mount ~ Tu Fu

To what shall I compare
The Sacred Mount that stands,
A balk of green that hath no end,
Betwixt two lands!
Nature did fuse and blend
All mystic beauty there,
Where Dark and Light
Do dusk and dawn unite.

Gazing, soul-cleansed, at Thee
From clouds upsprung, one may
Mark with wide eyes the homing flight
Of birds. Some day
Must I thy topmost height
Mount, at one glance to see
Hills numberless
Dwindle to nothingness.


Today’s Reflection ~ Love

You cannot touch the clouds, you know; but you feel the rain and know how glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are to have it after a hot day. You cannot touch love either; but you feel the sweetness that it pours into everything. Without love you would not be happy or want to play. ~ Anne Sullivan Macy.


Vinnie’s Dad Gets an Impossible Question

18

Vinnie’s mom, Vinnie’s dad, Rupert and Vinnie sit at the dining room table. Rupert’s back leans against Vinnie’s lunch box. Dexter lies on the floor next to Vinnie’s chair. The scent of the lingering fragrance of hotdog residue in Vinnie’s pant’s pocket has Dexter’s beagle optimism reader on high.  Vinnie’s dad says, “I’m ready to answer why you can’t do what you want.”

“Too late, Dad. The game’s rules say if you don’t answer it right away, I can change the question,” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad knowing he has to score some points with Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie, this is a great game, but this is last question. The game ends after I answer the question, right or wrong.”

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie’s dad and says, “You’ve got to do better.”

“I’m working on it, Dear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

Vinnie pulls an imaginary piece of paper out of the lunch box. He holds the imaginary paper in front of him and reads the imaginary words off of it, “When I grow up, will I be tall and skinny and nerdy looking like you, Dad. Or, will I be like Mom and be able to do sports really good and be really smart?”

Vinnie’s dad blushes. He says, “I am tall and you’re tall for your age group. You’ll be over six feet. But, I’m not nerdy and I like to run.”

Vinnie’s mom touches Vinnie’s dad’s arm, “Dear, you need to answer the question. It is entirely appropriate.”

“Thank you, Mom,” says Vinnie.

“It’s not even a question because it’s imaginary. There was no paper. Vinnie made it up,” says Vinnie’s dad defensively.

“No I didn’t Dad. It’s right here,” Vinnie points to an imaginary spot on the table. He adds, “Rupert wrote it for me. He has great cursive writing.”

Vinnie’s mom, now enjoying the game for the first time says, “Can I see the question, Vinnie?”

“Sure, Mom,” says Vinnie picking up the imaginary question and handing it to his mom.

Vinnie’s mom accepts the imaginary question, holds it up in front of her face and reads it, “When I grow up, will I be tall and skinny and nerdy looking like you, Dad. Or, will I be like Mom and be able to do sports really good and be really smart?” She adds, “You’re right, Vinnie. Rupert has excellent cursive.”

“This isn’t fair,” says Vinnie’s dad. “Can I have a different question?”

“I like this question,” interrupts Vinnie’s mom.

Vinnie reaches over to his mom and she hands the imaginary question to him. Vinnie says, “Dad, I’m going to mark you down. Don’t worry, I have a few extra credit questions for you to get you back in the game. Do you like ketchup?”

“Yes, Vinnie, I like ketchup,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Dad, do you like ice cream?” asks Vinnie.

“Yes, I like ice cream. What’s the point?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“Then, Dad, do you ketchup ice cream?” asks Vinnie.

Vinnie’s dad intuitively senses if he answers yes, Vinnie will go to the kitchen and bring his a bowl of ice cream with ketchup on it. If he answers no, Vinnie will tell him he didn’t tell the truth on the first two questions.

Vinnie’s mom says, “Dear, do you now understand what it’s like? Once you leave for work, he starts. Once he gets off the bus it begins again. Two or three times a week I’m called to school talk to teachers about Vinnie.”

“It’s all good stuff, right, Mom?” says Vinnie.

Vinnie’s mom glances at Vinnie. She says, “Vinnie, you amaze your teachers every day.”

“Thanks, Mom. Dad, do you want some ice cream?”




You Can Never Tell ~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You never can tell when you send a word,
   Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
   Just where it may chance to go!
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
   Tipped with its poison or balm;
To a stranger’s heart in life’s great mart,
   It may carry its pain or its calm.

You never can tell when you do an act
   Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
   Though the harvest you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
   In God’s productive soil.
You may not know, but the tree shall grow,
   With shelter for those who toil.

You never can tell what your thoughts will do,
   In bringing you hate or love;
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
   Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe—
   Each thing must create its kind;
And they speed o’er the track to bring you back
   Whatever went out from your mind.

Excerpt From
Poems of Power
Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Vinnie’s Mom Wanted a Girl

17

Vinnie’s mom and dad tell Vinnie everyone needs a break. Vinnie’s mom and dad go in their bedroom and close the door behind them. Vinnie, Rupert, and Dexter head to the kitchen. Dexter’s favorite room. 

Vinnie’s mom sits on the edge of the bed. She pats a space on the bed next to her. Vinnie’s dad, well trained, walks to the edge of the bed, turns and sits down next to Vinnie’s mom. 

“Well?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“Well, what?” answers Vinnie’s dad.

“Well, what are you going to tell him about Joey’s dad being horny?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“I don’t know. This never came up in birthing classes,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“It’s TV. We need to get rid of the TV,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“What will we do without football, basketball, and baseball, not to mention golf, winter and summer olympics. You’ll miss the food channel and the home fixer upper channels,” argues Vinnie’s dad as if he’s giving the closing summation in the trial of a serial killer.

“You have to do something. Talk to him man to man,” says Vinnie’s mom.

“He’s only eight years old. I can’t talk to him man to man,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“Then talk to him man to boy, father to son. Dear, he has an overload of your DNA. You have to take responsibility. You know I wanted a girl. But no, you said the first child should be a boy and you read that Indian book on positions more likely to produce a son instead of a daughter. Well … ?” says Vinnie’s mom.

“Do I have to?” asks Vinnie’s dad.

“You sound just like Vinnie. Yes, you have to,” says Vinnie’s mom. “What’s that smell? It smells like the turkey bacon I cook in the skillet for you. Oh, no. Do you think …”

“Yes. He’s cooking turkey bacon,” says Vinnie’s dad.

In the kitchen, Vinnie pulls the last piece of turkey bacon out of the skillet. He dangles it in the air to cool it. The dangling of the turkey bacon has a hypnotizing affect on Dexter. Dexter’s eyes sway like a metronome in four four time. Dexter is lying on the floor. Rupert is sitting against him. Dexter knows this is the easiest gig in the world for a dog.  Don’t move, let a stuffed animal sit against your side and be paid with food for performing this difficult act.

Vinnie’s mom is first to reach the kitchen. “Vincent, what are you doing?”

“I taught Dexter a new trick, Mom. I taught him to lie of the floor and take care of Rupert for me. Look, he’s real good at it,” said Vinnie putting the last piece of turkey bacon next to Dexter’s mouth. 

Dexter’s tongue is quicker than the hands of a blackjack dealer in a Vegas casino. The turkey bacon vanishes into the cosmic space of air, a beagle’s tongue, and a beagle’s digestive track.

Vinnie’s mom turns the stove off. She says, “Vincent, you could have burned the house down. Do you know how dangerous this was?”

Vinnie gives his mom a quizzical look, “I don’t think so, Mom. Look at Rupert. I put the fire extinguisher next to him. If anything happened, Rupert would be all over it.”

Vinnie’s mom turns and faces Vinnie’s dad, “Say something.”

“Looks like he thought of everything. Can we continue playing the game?”

“Dear Mother of God, please ask your Son why,” says Vinnie’s Mom.