Charlie’s Walk Into Town With His Buddies

The Weather

Charlie: It’s blistering hot.
Friend 1: I’m pretty much melting.
Friend 2: What’s the temperature out here?
Cassie: We’re in the shade right now. It’s quite comfortable.
Friend 2: But what’s the temperature?
Cassie: I dunno.
Charlie: The temperature is hot. That’s what it is. And there’s a part up ahead where there are no trees. It’s gonna be awful.
Cassie: (to Friend 1) Do you wanna take off your hat since it’s made of wool? You’ll probably feel cooler.
Charlie: That’s his beanie, Mom. He doesn’t take the beanie off. It’s part of his style.
Cassie: (to Friend 1 again) You don’t want to take off your hat? Your beanie?
Friend 1: Nah.
Charlie: I told you. The beanie stays on. Stop hassling him about the beanie.
Cassie: I’m not hassling him. It’s just that I can see he’s already rolled up his shirtsleeves and there’s some sweat rolling down–
Friend 1: Dude!
Charlie: Mom!
Cassie: Sorry!


Rest Stop

(We come to a bench at a bus stop along the way into town.)

Friend 2: Oh thank God. I really need to rest my shins.
Cassie: Your shins? Your shins are tired?
Friend 2: Yea. They really are.
Cassie: Well, we’re more than halfway there. Your frozen yogurt treats await!

(We “rest’ for a few minutes at the bench and then I suggest we start moving again. “Shin Boy” peels his sticky body from the bench, gives his legs a quick rubdown and then he and I start to walk away. I notice “Beanie Boy” and Charlie are still seated on the bench. Charlie’s looking especially relaxed, swinging his lower legs in and out.)

Cassie: Come on, guys! We’re going.
Charlie: Nah. We’re staying put.
Friend 1 (Beanie Boy) Yea. We’re staying put.
Cassie: Up you go.. Onward to frozen yogurts!
Charlie: We’ll meet you there. We’re gonna take the bus the rest of the way. One should be along in a few.
Cassie: Forget it. Off your butts. Let’s move. One, two, three…
Charlie: Please! Don’t do the drill sergeant thing. (sighing) We’re coming.
Friend 1: Nice try, dude.
Charlie: Yea. I know.


The Frozen Yogurt Drop

Cassie: Alright! Everyone settle down. Not too much yogurt. Whoa, whoa! That’s enough.
Charlie: Don’t even try to fill your bowls to the top, you guys. She’s afraid you’ll get a stomachache.
Friend 1: I never get stomachaches from frozen yogurt.
Friend 2: Yea. Me neither.

(There’s a lot of fast-moving activity, with boys scurrying this way and that so everyone has dripped as many of the various frozen yogurt flavors as I’ll allow into their cups. Next, there’s a mad dash to the toppings counter. At some point during the frenzy at the counter, Charlie drops his cup of carefully selected yogurt onto the floor. The frenzy instantly stops. Everyone looks down at the yogurt mess.)

Friend 1: Dude!
Friend 2: That’s not good.
Charlie: Crap!
Cassie: What the?! Charlie, you didn’t!
Charlie: I did, Mom. It just kinda slipped outta my hand.
Cassie: Of course it slipped. (sighing and rolling my eyes dramatically) You were moving too fast! See? Everybody stop moving and–
Charlie: Should I just eat it off the floor….like a dog?! Dude, quick get me a spoon! (He starts to crouch down on the floor.)
Cassie: No! No! No! You’re not going to eat it off the floor! Disgusting! We’ve got to clean this up. I’ll buy you another one, Char.

(Charlie runs off to the bathroom to get some paper towels. I scoop up as much of the frozen yogurt puddle I can into the paper bowl and toss the sticky mess into the garbage. When Charlie returns, he immediately crouches to the floor and starts wiping vigorously at the yogurt residue.)

Cassie: Okay, Charlie. Go get another bowl. And move slower this time. No need to be frantic.
Charlie: Got it, Mom. Thanks!


Reward For Finding The Barrette

(During the trip into town, Genevieve – who wanted to come along for a relaxing ride in her stroller and also yearned for her favorite dish, vanilla frozen yogurt with rainbow and chocolate sprinkles – drops her favorite purple barrette. The team of boys and I do a quick search of the immediate environs but when we find nothing, I propose a contest on the return walk home. “Whoever finds the beloved barrette when we’re walking back, will win five bucks,” I announce. The boys like the idea a lot and together we identify some landmarks so we’ll know when to start scouring the ground on the return trip homeward.)

Friend 2: There’s the white fence up ahead. Everyone get ready to start looking. Do you think we should walk three across, you guys? Or single file — in case the first kid in line misses it, then another kid might see it?

Friend 1: So what? Work as a team? Then we have to split the money three ways.

Charlie: You can just split it two ways. Two fifty each. There’s no way I’m wasting my time looking at the ground the whole way back for a stupid barrette. Gigi’s got about a hundred of those. Some dog or squirrel probably ate it while we were at the frozen yogurt place anyway. We’re never going to find it.

Friend 2: I could use the five dollars.

Friend 1: Me too.

(As if to make his point even further — about how dumb the whole barrette hunt is — Charlie keeps looking upward toward the sky as he walks along, nonchalantly, ignoring the search. His friends continue to keep their eyes on the ground, looking with intent for the prize. Eventually though, Friend 1 drops out of the hunt also and rushes forward to walk beside Charlie. The two of them chat about Pokemon to pass the time.)

Friend 2: (speaking to me, eyes still focused on the ground) I knew he’d get bored of looking. I have a lot of stamina for this kind of thing. I’ll get the whole five dollars. I love these kinds of searches.

Cassie: I can tell.

Friend 2: And I definitely like money.

Cassie: Yes.

Friend 2: What if we don’t find her barrette?

Cassie: No reward then.

Friend 2: Oh.

(The boys never found the purple barrette. I noticed it sitting in the storage basket at the bottom of the stroller a couple of days after our walk into town.)