I mean here’s this one’s toothbrush, and comb, for example and the towel he uses each day for his shower, tokens of the daily care-of-the-body tasks we all must perform each day.
Here’s the book that one reads when sleep eludes him. He has left it on the porch, thinking maybe to pack it on his bike and take it to work to read at the lunch hour.
And here, under the bureau: here is a balled-up sock where it has landed after being taken off and tossed away some weary midnight.
You can never be annoyed at a person once you have seen these things.
I should say I don’t do actual maid service around here- not unless my houseguests are the ages of the two little ones I wrote about yesterday – so I see socks and such only sometimes, when these guys would be away for a week or two and I stripped their beds to washed their linens, just because everyone deserves clean linens….
But why don’t I back up a little here and explain this better: We have had four different young people staying in our house this summer, all part of the National Program for a Better Chance, all young men of on the cusp of college life. No shower has gone forth without the muted boom of hip-hop pulsing from the bathroom. No golden summer afternoon has billowed into evening without the sound of their happy voices in the kitchen.
Two of them had jobs in this the first summer before heading off to Bard College RPI. That’s Cam and Tristan at the top here. Then a third, now a high school Senior, worked as a tech for a computer repair company, leaving for a two-week stint at Brown where he took a course in the computer operating system known as Linux . And a fourth, a high school Junior did a college tour, took a Neurobiology course at Emory and spent just a week with us, doing an SAT-prep boot camp at a great place called Chyten. Boy Three did the same course and both came home each day at 5:00, brimming with news about all the English words derived from Latin.
The “give” By David and me was that they slept here and ate a little, though not very much I must say. They packed their own lunches so I just had to buy deli stuff , and it’s amazing how far a teen male can go on Pop Tarts and Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, foods I have never before stoked in this house. It’s true they like meat at night but hey so do we and if you’re grilling two nice fat burgers you might just as well grill six. I guess I also gave them rides to the Y so they could work out but again, I was going to the Y myself to catch those cardio classes I love so much.
So that was pretty much the ‘give.’ Not such a long list.
The ‘get’ list for me is much longer. I personally got:
- Much more motivation to get to the Y than I would normally have.
- Help putting away the groceries
- Companionship in buying the groceries
- All the emergency help I could ever have wanted with my PC, my i-Pad and i-Phone and even my i-Pod when I dropped it in the sink that time
- Help hanging drapes on extra-wide windows (Number Three has a six-foot wingspan) and..
- A million laughs.
Here are House guest Numbers Three and Four, Rayvoughn and Hazees, helping me tote stuff in June.
Ray was with us almost the whole summer. He helped me, he teased David, he backed down from an arm-wrestle challenge from David (more than once) and he played with our little grandsons.
It’s time now for him to start the long grind of applying to colleges.
He’s equal to the task I think. He’s a smart as a whip and hurdles just don’t scare him. even if he doesn’t always ZIP the life jacket even tough he put its mostly on, and maybe THAT’s the lesson he taught me this summer: Strike a humorous pose, look like you’re equal to any challenge and you might just pull it off!