Vol. 5, Issue 4, May 15, 2007
Our offices are much like any serious Business: the hustle and Bustle of the News-Room; the perennial search for my missing Spectacles; the jangling of the Tele-Phone and the clatter of the Teletype bringing fresh Stories to our door, where they may be suitably Pondered and, one hopes, Used in the creation of our own virtual News-papers. In short, it is rather a Noisy place, rich with the atonal strains of adult daily Life.
But on this day I found a New strain of noise added to the fray, for my Great-nephew came by the office for a Visit with his mother. My niece, the dear Elaine, is everything that her ne'er-do-well brother Ephram is not, which is to say Cultured, Modest, and above all, possessed of a sound set of Ethics. I do not see her and her family Often, but her lads are my Favorite youngsters and I delight in their infrequent Visits. To-day, it is little Joseph who is gravely studying the Bric-a-Brac in my office, where I have been charged with watching him while his Mother attends to a necessary errand.
The young Joseph is at the quintessential age of Wisdom and Sagacity, namely, Four. His curiosity is Boundless, his hands rather Quick, and - tut tut, perhaps I ought to move that Cutlass somewhat higher out of Reach. Ever quick with a roguish Grin and a mischievous twinkle in his eye, he seems to view my Office as a particularly interesting Museum, with me the most interesting Exhibit.
"Why do you have a beard?" he inquires solemnly. "You look like Santa Claus," he adds after a moment's consideration.
I must regretfully inform him that I am not Kris Kringle, though he has stopped By for a drink or two.
"Is that apple juice?" he next inquires, scrambling atop the Arm-chair to get a better look at a bottle of 18 year old Laphroaig. Alas, young sir, it is decidedly Not; at least, I have never seen Apple juice set anyone back Three Figures at the Checkstand!
"Are you a pirate?" he next inquires, happening upon that old Tri-corner hat I keep on the Globe. I must here disappoint him Again, but he is undeterred, disappearing Entirely under the hat for a brief, giggle-filled moment. "Let's be pirates," he says firmly. Well, I can certainly manage This I believe! But before I can properly muster a suitable Pirate Chant, he has changed tacks Again.
"Knock knock!" he says with Enthusiasm.
"Who's there?" I gamely reply.
"Turner!" he says with a little hop.
"Turner who?" I say with aplomb.
"Turn your head slowly around... there's a monster behind you!" he chortles. A fine joke Indeed, so fine indeed that he feels it bears Repeating a good ten or fifteen times.
Somehow, the hours Fly by. I have missed a morning meeting with a Client, Luncheon at the Club, and all manner of Correspondence; but I cannot recall a morning spent so Well as this day, gathering dust on my Waist-coat as we make a Castle out of volumes of Cicero and Justinian pulled from my Shelves. I think back to when this bright and wonderful lad was Born, and marvel at how he has Grown into such a Confident and Accomplished little person, chattering Non-stop about the dragons who live in this particular Castle, and what sort of Sand-wiches they favor. I could not have Foreseen that the young stranger who sprang into Existence not long ago would grow in such Unexpected directions; but he is no less a Delight for his impish Quirks. Suddenly, he interrupts his Monologue, enormous Tri-corner hat askew, to gaze at me with enormous, serious Eyes.
What a wonderful thing it is to be Four.