Grandpa Booger by Frank Scoblete
This is a tale torn from the personal pages of...
Okay, that is a little too dramatic. It is actually just a disgusting - a truly disgusting - tale, torn from the pages of the "God, I am so embarrassed!" part of my life.
It recounts my swimming adventure on Father's Day 2011 with my two grandkids, John Charles, five and one half, and Danielle, who just turned four. The beautiful AP and I had been to Danielle's birthday party the day before at my son and daughter-in-law's house; a rousing blast of scampering, squirming, screaming kids and their parents, uncles and grandfathers all saying a litany, "Christ, do they have energy. They don't stop."
We decided that instead of driving the 60 miles from their Morris Plains, New Jersey residence to our home on Long Island, New York, or sleeping over their house as we normally do, we stayed at the local Marriott, a beautiful hotel that had indoor and outdoor pools. Oh, yes, that is a given now when the beautiful AP and I stay at hotels - we must have a pool so we can keep up with our swimming.
I figured that this Father's Day morning we would have the grandkids come over to swim and play in the hotel's indoor pool. We met at 8:30AM. Dawn, our daughter-in-law, brought them as my son Greg, for a Father's Day gift, had requested that he be allowed to sleep late. I applauded that clever move by my brilliant son!
Now Greg is 35 years old and an accomplished professional writer. (http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/ and http://your-digital-life.com/)
He works at home and also watches the kids, although he does hire a nanny three days a week; also Dawn's parents, Charlie and Donna, baby sit twice a week so Greg does get to do his yeoman's work. He's up early (around 5AM) every day. In fact, his schedule and my morning schedule are similar, except I now quit work around 3PM and he just keeps going and going as if he were powered by batteries. Obviously he doesn't get too much sleep. (The real life of a professional writer isn't the dreamy-looking-out-the-window-as-the-snow-falls-while great-works-come-gushing-out-of-your-fingertips ala the movie Doctor Zhivago - it's just plain hard work like any other job.)
So here we were - Grand AP, Dawn, John Charles, birthday girl Danielle and me, Grandpa Scobe, at the pool at the Marriott Hotel. John Charles can swim and is an enthusiastic participant in any game the beautiful AP and I create. But AP also plans ahead and for this morning she brought little water rings that we could throw into the water and then dive to get them. The beautiful AP, a born teacher, had it in her mind to teach John Charles how to properly dive. He didn't really care about proper form though; he just wanted to let her rip!
John Charles loved being in the water. Danielle on the other hand had some qualms about the pool and stuck close to her mother. Danielle does not like to put her head in the water, a common problem with new swimmers no matter what their ages.
Since the pool goes quickly from three-feet deep to four-feet then five-feet deep, John Charles stayed with Grandpa Scobe. In fact, as AP said, "He stayed with Grandpa Scobe the whole hour and a half. He was glued to you. That boy loves his Grandpa Scobe." Hey, my philosophy is take all the love you can from you rgrandkids while you can get it.
In addition to the "find the rings in the pool," John Charles played the "Grandpa Scobe throw me as far up and into the pool as you can" game. Here he would stand on my knees and then we would count to three and at three he'd jump and I'd lift and throw him as hard as I could into the air and he would slam into the water with a giant splash.
"Again, Grandpa Scobe," he'd say.
You see one of the things with little kids; if they like something they want to do it again and again and again and then again and again. That goes for reading certain books, watching certain movies, listening to certain stories; and it now also included Grandpa Scobe lifting him and hurling him with all my strength into the cool, clear waters of the swimming pool.
There were two other kids in the pool; two Filipinos - totally polite kids - and we invited them to play "Sharks and Minnows," which is the water version of tag. We were swimming, running, diving all over the pool. John Charles and I were one participant; Dawn and Danielle were also one participant; the beautiful AP was one participant and Lee, the girl, and Thai, the boy, were each their own teams.
Every once in awhile John Charles had to fix his goggles which were pulled down over his ears, making him look as if he had cauliflower ears. He'd hold up his hand with his index finger in the air, "Wait a minute!" he'd say, and then fix the goggles, "Okay." And we'd go back to playing.
When the two other kids had to leave the pool, John Charles wanted to go back to being thrown. As I lifted him to face the water, he said, "Grandpa Scobe you have booger in your nose."
"Nah, nah, that's just grey hair in there. It just looks like a booger," I said.
I have been noticing that as I get older I am getting more hair everywhere on my body and also many of the hairs in my nose have turned grey - and, yes, they do look like boogers if you glance at them quickly. You have to study them carefully to understand that they are just the natural by-product of the aging process. I wish they made "Just For Men" for nose hair; I'd buy some today. I don't mind the hair on my head being grey; I just don't want people to look at my face and see what they mistakenly think are boogers in my nose.
"No, Grandpa Scobe, it's a booger; a big one," said John Charles. Now, the kid just stated this matter-of-factly. It didn't seem to bother him that Grandpa Scobe had a booger in his nose; to him it was just part of the natural order of things. I turned to the beautiful AP, "Do I have a booger in my nose."
"A big one," she said, "It's dangling down your mustache and it is kind of green."
I touched my left nostril. "No, the other one," said John Charles. I touched my right nostril and put my head in the water (I know, I know, an unhygienic thing to do).
I turned to my daughter-in-law and said, "Dawn, do I have a booger in my nose? Can you see it from all the way over there?"
"Yes, I can see it," she said and my granddaughter Danielle shook her head yes as well. Here were the three women in my life all seeing Grandpa Scobe with a giant booger in his nose. Could it get any worse for my dignity?
Now, I was truly humiliated. My daughter-in-law is a classy young woman and here was her father-in-law playing in the pool with her son and that man not only had grey hair in his nose but a giant, green booger dangling from it while her son studied it carefully.
I put my head in the water again and shook it and shook it. The damn thing had to dislodge and melt - or whatever the hell snot does in chlorinated water when released from a nose with grey hair.
"It's still there," said John Charles. "It's bigger."
"It's disgusting," said the beautiful AP.
"Grandpa Scobe," said John Charles, "I can take it out for you." Ah, the innocence of youth! The giant, green, dangling booger that was nauseating Dawn, (maybe) Danielle and the beautiful AP was merely something to be dug out by John Charles. Men are far stronger than women in these matters; one of the reasons why it was a man who created the whoopee cushion and fake vomit.
I kept dunking my head in the water and finally the blob from my nose let loose and floated out to sea...or hopefully the other side of the pool.
As we left the pool after our morning of fun, John Charles said, "I'll hold Grandpa Scobe's hand."
Booger or no booger, that kid loves me and booger or no booger, I love him. I held his hand to the front door, kissed and hugged him and kissed Danielle and waved goodbye as Dawn took them to the car.
It was the best Father's Day I ever had...booger or no booger.