Vince’s mom was gone for most of yesterday, so it was just us boys. After breakfast we descended to the basement family room where I suggested he play with his toys while I read the Sunday paper. At first he complained but I stuck to my guns. Soon he was busy with a bin of dinosaurs. Then he moved on to some Hot Wheels, blocks, and a Nerf gun that his mother hates. But hey, mom wasn’t here. Then he was climbing on me. Nearly four minutes had passed. I turned-on SpongeBob. I didn’t feel guilty about giving in. Being abandoned in front of the TV is a family tradition.
Resigned, I headed upstairs to wrap a birthday present for a party Vince was to attend later that afternoon. The first tube of paper I reached for was almost used up, and inside was a rolled up cardboard tube. Just for the hell of it I went to the top of the stairs and hollered down, “Vince, I’ve got something for you!” and tossed it down.
The first thing he did was pick it up and blow through it like a trumpet. After a quick march around the basement he peered through it like a telescope towards some distant thing that only Vince could see. Then he put his hand in it and started waving it around like a robot arm. He finally noticed me and saluted with his cardboard tube arm.
“Hello Captain,” he said in a robot voice.
When I turned my attention back to the kitchen to clean up from breakfast, here comes Vince with the tube—now unrolled—over his head. “Look Daddy,” he said, “a helmet.” He pulled it down over his back. “It’s a hang glider!” As he headed for the stairs he turned and said, “Daddy, this is a treasure map.” He stood there unrolling it and rolling it up and unrolling it again, eying his route to the buried booty!
His imagination was cranking on all cylinders. Thank God there was no actual demo equipment in the basement. I hadn’t called Dig Safe.
Down he went, alone, into the jungles of who-knows-where to seek the treasure. Nearly an hour passed as I cleaned, read the paper and eavesdropped at the top of the stairs. All I heard were a few digging sound effects and the occasion pirate voice. When I finally went down to check on him, he had his dinosaur crew all laid out surrounding where X had marked the spot.
It was lunchtime. The TV sat forlorn in the corner of the room. It was almost enough to make me cancel the cable. Almost.
But I’m definitely saving all the tubes left over from Christmas wrapping paper.