“She’s 9.” Oh, she’s got to be older than nine… looks like she’s 16 or 17. Hands on hips! Half smile! “I am NOT!” she said. “I’m 9!!” Then she grins… “But my birthday’s tomorrow.” Then you’ll be 13, right? She stamps her foot! “No!! I’ll be 10!”
Can you prove it? Let me see your driver’s license. “I don’t have a driver’s license! I’m 9!!!” Out of the goodness of my heart I let her pass through the gate toward the goodies and rides on the Midway of the Great Darke County Fair.
My baby sis once accused me of being a tease. Guess I am. Boy or girl, five through 10… they all react a little differently. Most seem to have fun. After asking for one 11-year-old boy’s driver’s license, he grinned (obviously in anticipation) and dad says, “Uh uh, no way… not yet!” Another boy was downright grumpy about it. “No. I’m 10!” He wasn’t smiling.
Eleven gets in free when accompanied by an adult. Some of our young people look like they’ve been 11 for several years. The child says nothing. Mom or dad says he’s/she’s 11. “Yup. Me too,” I think to myself… or did I say it aloud once? Can’t remember.
That was Saturday. On Sunday Commissioner Mike Stegall was on fair gate with me (do I hear ‘congratulations’ or ‘condolences’?). He picked up on it and added his own take. He asked if they were married and checked out the ring finger. One young lady, terribly insulted, was vehement! “I don’t like boys,” she said.
I saw a lot of my kids this week. I loved it. One of them was just back from Africa. Another was getting married this fall. Another announced her engagement. Four signed up for my public speaking classes… two of them because mom or dad told them to. Several yelled “Mr. Robinson” and hugged my kneecaps as they rushed on to their next ride (or snack).
Ready for school to start? “NO-O-O-O!!!”
On Monday night something interesting happened. A little girl (she was four) ran up to me and hit me on the kneecap. Not once or twice; multiple times. Dad started to say something but I shook my head and bent down. “Hey, sweety! Why are you hitting me? Have I made you mad?” She grinned and hit me again.
That, of course, reminded me of the State Line Heritage Days Grand Parade. I’d walked up to three boys holding empty grocery bags. “Waiting for the candy?” The two older ones nodded their heads. The little one swung his grocery bag and hit me on the kneecap. “Hey… whoa… what’s up, buddy?” He didn’t say a word. Whap! “Did I make you mad?” Whap whap! I looked at the brothers. One wasn’t paying attention; the other just shrugged his shoulders. Whap whap whap!!! Then, for good measure… whap! Good thing the bag was empty.
A little later I heard, “Hey Mr. Robinson. Mr. Robinson!” It was a child’s voice; I didn’t think that was possible… I don’t sub in this district, and I’m not up this way very often. It was a student from South School visiting her cousin. She gave me a hug, introduced me to mom, then went back to sharing an ice cream with her cousin.
Have you ever taken a selfie? Do you even know what one is? I didn’t for the longest time, and I never, ever thought I’d take one. I still haven’t, but one was taken for me this week. I was talking to one of my newest ‘kids’ at the fair when suddenly she says, “Give me that camera.” I gave it to her and she took one of us.
This grumpy old man was honored.