Thomas is a strapping young man of seven years and a second grade student. His Mom is a nursing student working through her rotations. As she is widowed, she raises Thomas on her own along with his brother and two sisters. He is the youngest of the brood. I have to tell that he is a thoroughly likeable little boy.
Three days a week, his Mother drops him off at our house very early in the morning so she can make her rotation on time. Arriving shortly before seven AM, he stays with us an hour or so until it’s time for my wife to carry him to the bus stop for school. He usually entertains himself with the rather large box of leftover toy trucks that my now grown sons used to play with (and probably still do from time to time when I am not looking). His ordered mind will line up every truck in the box in a line stretching across our couch with the result that I cannot sit down lest I wreak havoc on the fifty truck convoy perched in readiness on my couch. Far be it from me to ruin the natural order of things for a little boy.
Sometimes, he will join me for breakfast. Thomas is not one given to gab but he can carry on a conversation like the one we had this morning:
Mom: Thomas, do you want some toast for breakfast?
Thomas: No (smiling)
Me: You want a dead rat?
Thomas: (looking puzzled) Uh, no.
Along with the “spirited” conversation we sometimes have at breakfast, we also have a little game we play right before I leave for work. Are you familiar with the game, “Up high, down low, too slow?” To explain, the initiator of this test of skill puts out an open hand in a manner inviting the other to slap it. He then states, “Give me five” whereupon the other party slaps his open hand. At that, the initiator raises his hand high and says “Up high.” Of course, the other party slaps the highly held hand. All is well until the initiator puts his open hand low and says, “Down low.” The trick here is now to avoid the other party from slapping one’s hand. If that objective is obtained, the initiator is the winner with the exclamation “Too slow!” If the initiator himself (it is against state law for girls to play this game) loses, he is forevermore shamed. To my eternal disgrace, seven year old Thomas is ready for me most of the time. It is one of the high points of my week.