Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.
starch factory maine 1280x720
Picture of sippicancottage


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Big Yellow Taxi

My older boy finished grammar school yesterday. He starts junior high in the fall.

He’s many months younger than many of his classmates, as his birthday only cleared the entrance requirement for first grade by a few days. But he towers over many of his classmates, and looks his mother right in the eye already. He arrives home each day like an army arriving to a field of battle. The house is too small for him now.

He has become partially opaque to me now; sometimes inscrutable. He has opinions. He no longer tells jokes. He says amusing and witty things. It’s different.

His core is dead to me at this point. It is his own self-contained perpetual motion machine, neither requiring nor allowing me to spin it any more. If I was going to fix him or break him I should have done it by now. I imagine I’ve done both. No artist is ever pleased with his canvas, they just allow it to be hung on the wall eventually. You’d like to tinker with the thing but people are looking at it now.

They sent home a disc with a sweet slideshow of pictures of his classmates set to music. The case must have been dusty as a mote of some sort got in my eye.

The pure tonic of his smile looked out at me from his yearbook, his teeth still fighting for primacy in his pre-adolescent mouth. Favorite food: Ribs. Favorite music: Mozart. Favorite day: His birthday. There’s a quote he likes from Napoleon Dynamite, and he says he likes to play video games.

Most admired person: His father.

I wasn’t quite ready for that. The other children mostly wrote in an assortment of dimbulb athletes out on parole or celebrities with no discernible talent but one for self-promotion. He’s got it backwards, my boy does. It is he that is admirable, to think to throw a bone to his old man when others threw theirs to the ether –or to the wolves.

I promised the boy that if he got all A’s on his report card we’d buy him a pony. He got a couple B’s; just missing A’s by a whisker, but missing he did. I felt bad, as he had really applied himself. I felt as if he deserved a present, so we got him that pony anyway.

It was delicious.

12 Responses

  1. I swear you have to put a ‘mascara alert’ on the beginning of these. I’m at orkwa. Ankstha.

  2. I’m always at orkway. I ivelay at orkway.

    I only put mascara alerts when I’m discussing Prince.

    The Management

  3. I want to take up my complaint with the editor.
    {Commenter’s note: I know there’s no editor.}

  4. Lovely sentiment, and you’re so right about that age’s transition from malleable lump of clay to self-possessed marble.

    I had no sons, only a girl now 19, but am a firm believer that boys aren’t supposed to be A+ stellar students until college or post-grad. Something about their propensity to actually learn as opposed to “please” (teachers, parents, the system.)

    The thought may be sexist, but I think girls are taught too much to please. My active girl-child didn’t inordinately care about grades or conduct smileys; it was always more about the discovery, and she is super smart with lovely manners now. More importantly, there is still a spark in the eyes and fire in the belly. Time will tell, I suppose.

    Your son sounds like a terrific boy on his way to being a strong young man in the best of ways. He must love that pony.

  5. The pony was delicious? We slaughtered a cow in celebration of a prodigal returning or some such excuse once, but a pony? While the boy’s heart is obviously in the right place, his tastes seem to be a bit off… 😉

  6. Jane- I found your comment interesting. I had not considered it like that. I’m ruminating on it.

    While I’m eating the ruminant animal.

  7. Thanks for a nice post.

    We have a horse for our girl (the only one after 3 boys). She works hard at school, but far harder at that #$%^&** horse. She is training him and loves him with tough love.

    She didn’t get this from me or from her mum. We are just financing it and watching.

    BTW are you or your store close to the harbor? We might be stopping by in July.

  8. Hi Harry- Welcome to Marion, in advance.

    I regret I have no sticks and bricks store in Marion for you to visit. It’s strictly internet from here.

    But aren’t you from Norfolk County? They sell and display our furniture at Wrentham Antiques Marketplace on rt 1A in Wrentham. They’re very nice people.

    We loved our horse with “tough love,” and marinade.

  9. Harry- drop me an e-mail and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee at Uncle Jon’s coffee in the village if I’m around.

  10. Jane: the one thing that scares me about the “Dangerous Book for Boys” movement (much discussed on Instapundit, Althouse, etc.) is that they’re going to put girls back in the opposite box with the dolls and the tea parties. They’re always confusing activity with aggression. Watch puppies or kittens: they all play wildly. The males just play-fight more. Just because it may be easier for girls to sit still doesn’t mean they want to, or should.

    I feel so strongly about this I’m gonna take it home and post it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting! Everyone's first comment is held for moderation.