MY LIFE - Adventures of Smiley
MY LIFE - Adventures of Smiley
Smiley is gone. After almost 40 days here, as a fixture in my life and my living room, he has finally gone home with his boy.
For those who have not been following Smiley's adventures via my Facebook page, allow me to explain.
During our camping trip in July my 5-year-old grandson JR spent a lot of time digging up "fossils" (most of which looked like plain rocks to our untrained eyes) with which he hoped to open his own museum once he returned home to New York City. Toward the end of the week he and his cousins excavated a largish rock, maybe 6 or 7 inches square and about 3 inches thick. Using a red marker he drew a big smile and two eyes on it, a perfect smiley face. All was well until he mentioned to his mom, my daughter-in-law Lisa, his plan to bring it home with him.
"Absolutely not!" was her response. There was no room in their already overloaded car, and certainly no room in their city apartment for a rock, and no room for further argument. The decision was final and JR was inconsolable. He cried like his poor little heart was broken. As a grandmother, I did the only thing I could think of. I told him I would take the rock home with me. We negotiated terms and the rock was tucked into my car. JR visited it one last time before I drove away. The deal was done.
Upon reaching home I placed the rock on the hearth in the living room as we had agreed upon, and using the camera feature on my iPad, I took a picture and posted it on Facebook for him to see.
Thus began the chronicling of Smiley Rock's voyage of discovery in a brand new world.
Day two saw Smiley sitting on the piano. The caption read: "Smiley Rock loves the sound of the piano. I told him JR would play it for him the next time he came to visit."
Day three and Smiley, wearing sunglasses, was stretched out on a colorful beach towel in the backyard, catching a few rays.
Day four, after he noticed the rock pile near the fence out back, Smiley, in sunglasses and a light blue baseball cap, was perched among the rocks, "Hanging out in the 'hood with his peeps."
And so it went, every single day, with a different picture and caption, putting a smile on JR's face as well as his mom's and building up a following among my Facebook friends, all of whom looked forward to Smiley's next adventure.
Smiley visited cousins Brianna and Chris and was photographed wearing goggles and snorkel tube while perched on an inner tube at poolside. "We tried to teach Smiley to swim, but every time we let go he went down like ... well, a rock." Another shot had him in the sandbox, digging with the very same equipment that had been used to free him from his hole in the ground at camp. And then he was on the floor playing Monster Trucks with Chris, who was sporting a faux-hawk hairdo. So envious was Smiley of the spiffy looking 'do that the following day had him proudly posing in a faux-hawk of his own ... a toupee that I had fashioned for him from yarn since everyone knows most rocks are congenitally bald.
There was Smiley next to a tub of his very favorite ice cream, Rocky Road; in a bathtub full of suds with a shower cap on his head; learning about golf and thanking his lucky stars he came into the world as a rock and not a little white ball destined to be whacked around from one end of a golf course to the next with no say in the matter. He attended a Weight Watchers meeting where he was deemed, at 9-pounds, 2-ounces, to be just right for a rock his size, and where he met two die-hard Yankee fans who agreed with JR that he should never wear a Red Sox hat as I had at first suggested. Marilyn from New Jersey gave him a Yankees cap that Marilyn from New York delivered at our next meeting leaving Smiley convinced that the world was full of really nice people.
And then I asked my friend Connie if she might bring her Smiley-face bowling ball and other Smiley-face paraphernalia to the bowling alley so my Smiley could meet the Smiley side of his family. Big hit and a major photo op! Smiley wished he could go sailing down the lane, sending pins flying in all directions and then catching a ride on the shuttle back up to the ball rack to do it all again like the big yellow ball was doing. But sadly, while he had apparently inherited his looks from the Smiley side of his family, his coloring and his shape were from the Rock side, and he just wasn't the rolling kind.
Last Thursday JR and his family came to visit. Smiley sat in the window all day, waiting to finally see his boy again. They had breakfast together the following morning and then on Saturday JR headed to New Hampshire to visit Auntie Pooh and Uncle Ken. Poor Smiley sat sulking with his hat pulled down over his eyes all day long on Sunday. Then on Monday I told Smiley the good news. He was going to be going home with his boy on Tuesday. In a heartbeat, Smiley had his bright red hobo pack on his shoulder and was waiting to go.
From the start I had hoped that Smiley might eventually charm Lisa with his cheeky smile and cheery demeanor and grow on her as he had on JR. Preparing for such an eventuality, the last frame in my Smiley series would be of JR and Smiley waving good-bye as they pulled out of my driveway on their way home together to New York City. On Tuesday afternoon it finally came to pass.
(Don't you just love a happy ending?)
Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.