My wife called down the stairs, “Put your toys away.”
Gosh, I hadn’t heard that in so many years, I doubted whether I heard it correctly.
“What?” I called back.
“PUT YOUR TOYS AWAY!”
“Come up here so I can talk to you,” she called.
So I trudged up the stairs.
“Why?” I repeated.
She waited patiently for the irritation of being called upstairs to subside.
“Because,” she explained, “the grand-kids are coming over and I know how upset you get when they play with your toys.”
I have lots of toys. So much so that parking space on my desk is at a premium for all the cars, trucks, tractors and heavy equipment I have. The entire basement is littered with plastic models, stamped replicas and iron castings of every form of transportation known to man. Steam engines jostle with boxcars for track space on my bookcase and airplanes threaten to throw themselves off my shelves… And into this mix, my wife wants to introduce children?
It is not that I refuse to share – but like most boys there are some things I am willing and other things I am unwilling to share.
I don’t mind if the kids take my tractors off the desk or trains off the bookcase. These things are inexpensive to replace and the kids get the same kick out of them that I do.
I only get upset when they leave them scattered around the basement. The last time they came over I asked if they had picked up and they swore they did. The next morning I stepped on a tractor while walking to my desk in the dark.
Even that I could forgive…
It was the next step with the ball of my foot landing squarely on my sextant that I cannot forgive. A sextant is designed to locate a ship’s position on the globe, it is not designed to be stepped on – but when stepped on, it is designed to aggressively defend itself.
There are a few other things I do not want the kids to be messing with. My pistol for instance. The pistol is real enough but it is a working replica of a 1858 Colt; a weapon that requires black powder, lead ball and percussion cap to fire; none of which are to be found in our home – but it is still a weapon and knowing the grand-children, they will probably pistol whip each other with it.
But no matter what they do with it, children have no business playing with any gun.
So I did what my wife said I had to do and I put away my toys before the grand-kids came over – which annoyed me to no end.
So I talked to a friend about this business of wives, kids and toys.
His experience is quite different than mine because his toys are a whole lot bigger than mine. Whereas I have small scale replicas, he has the real thing.
We were in his shed admiring an old steam tractor he had recently purchased. The thing was amazing. No, make that majestic. The firebox glistened red and I could see my reflection in the polish of the frame. The all metal wheels stood taller than my head and had an authority unmatched by even the largest modern tractors. Whoever designed it was not only a top grade engineer but an artist as well.
“Does it run?” I asked.
“Not around here it don’t,” he said.
“Why’s that?” I asked.
He motioned toward the house.
“What?” I asked.
“I haven’t told her about it yet.”