Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Some difficult childhood lessons ~ September 22, 2006


David Heiller

I read an interesting book recently called They Called Me Teacher, by Tom Melchior.
It contains stories of Minnesota country school teachers and students from 1913 to 1960. Those stories run the gamut of human interaction, but one that has to do with bad teaching sticks in my mind.
Corrine Lesteberg Johnson, who attended District 40 East near Murdock in Swift County, from 1931-1938, wrote it.
“We all knew that our second-grade teacher had never lived in the country. So we had a feeling that she thought she was better than the rest of us. I started at Christmas time making valentines. We had a long Christmas vacation, six weeks off, so what was there to do during that time but make valentines. I loved that kind of creative stuff.
“I used foil from the Christmas cards and the laced doilies that my mother had bought. I made the cards so they were three-dimensional, you could open them up. Oh, I really worked on those cards. On Valentine’s Day I passed out all my beautiful cards. I made a special one for my teacher.
“At the end of the school day after everybody had looked at their valentines but before school was even out, my teacher opened the door to the furnace and threw all the valentines into the fire, including my beautiful card. That really hurt me. I had worked so hard on that valentine. If she didn’t want to keep them, why didn’t she wait until we had all gone home? Then I never would have known. I never really had a lot of respect for that teacher after that. It broke my heart. I cried all the way home.”
Noah and Malika with their cousin, Brooke, playing school
in the old Brownsville School House.
We probably all have had experiences with bad teachers, but that lady would have to top the list.
It got me to thinking about other bad teaching experiences. I still remember one when I was in second grade. I was playing with scissors, pretending to cut my nose. The scissors could barely cut paper; let alone something as tough as my nose. The teacher wasn’t in the room, but she found out (thanks to a student who shall remain anonymous), strode over to me, and slapped me across the face.
I was shocked and embarrassed, as was the whole class. It was just plain wrong, totally unnecessary. Bad teaching.
My brother had a bad teacher one year. He recounted a couple experiences. “We were taking turns reading from some book and I was nervous about my turn coming up. When it came to be my turn I stood up and I stuttered the first word, something like p-p-p-p- and the teacher sat at her desk and did the same thing, p-p-p-p-p. Can you believe it? She really embarrassed me and all the kids had a good laugh. Another time, I had to give a report of some kind and the cap on my front chipped tooth had come off. I walked up to her desk and asked her I could do the report another day. She refused my request and made me stand in front of the class with my missing tooth and give the report. Mark it down as another humiliating day for me.”
A teacher friend of mine had this tale: “We were seated based on latest test score with the best in the front right, weaving to the worst in the back left. Can you imagine how that affected a child’s willingness to learn? Wow!”
Public humiliation is never a good thing.
Malika and some classmates 
in an all school production. 
It’s funny though, I can’t recall many truly bad teachers or things like this. That’s a testament to the fact that most of my teachers did a good job, something I still believe is the case.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Go have a chat with Old Blue ~ September 19, 1996


David Heiller

When I come home from work, I am always greeted by our two dogs, Ida and MacKenzie. .
They have different personalities. Ida, age seven, is part collie and part flugel-hound (a little bit of everything). And she is shy.
If Ida were a teenage girl at a dance, she would try to blend in with the wallpaper. She probably wouldn’t dance if you asked her.
Queen Ida, David, and MacKenzie.
Mack, on the other hand, would be the life of the party. She would be doing the Mack-areena. She is a three-year-old Australian shepherd, friendly and playful, with a coat like silk. Her nickname is Happy.
You couldn’t find two dogs more different than Mack and Ida. But they have one thing in common. They both are fun to talk to.
That’s the subject I am getting at here: talking to your dog. It’s one of life’s simplest pleasures.
When I get home from work, I often drop my briefcase and camera on the grass and lie down and let the dogs crowd around me. That’s when they are most alike. They both crave my affection, both nuzzle and lick me and wag their whole bodies in pure dog joy. That’s when they live up to their claim as Man’s Best Friend.
And that’s the best time to talk to them, to ask them how they are doing and tell them how nice they are and how much you love them and what good girls they are.
I can’t repeat the exact words here. It would sound too dumb, too childish. But, if you have a dog, chances are you know what I am talking about.
You can talk to other pets too, but none will return your affection with the look of love that a dog gives.
If you are sick, MacKenzie will keep you company.
It seems the harder my day at work is, the more I like to talk to them. There’s something about lying on the grass, looking up at the leaves in the maple tree, seeing the blue sky beyond that, and petting and talking to the two dogs that is hard to beat. It’s good therapy. It can put my orneriest mood on a back burner in a matter of seconds. It’s just one of many reasons why it’s good to have a pet.
Sam Cook, a columnist for the Duluth News Tribune, recently wrote a column about this. He said he has been accused of talking more sweetly to his dog than he does to his wife.
I’m guilty of that too. I think it’s because dog don’t understand the words you say, so you can gush a little and repeat yourself and give them big pats and not be afraid of making a fool of yourself.
Queen Ida was always willing to 
shake a hand and have a visit.
A few months ago, I was saying goodnight to my daughter, and I told her, “You’re a good girl.” It sort of slipped out, just like it does when I talk to the dogs, and it sounded like I was talking to one of them and not my daughter. She even sensed that and said, “Dad, I’m not a dog,” which reinforced my belief that you can’t talk to people and dogs the same way, even though I sometimes I’d like to.
It’s funny, but I have to remind myself to say good and kind things to my wife and children. It comes much easier with the dogs. Go figure.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Red Hansen likes to tell how he can call in owls by imitating their hoots. He was doing this one night for quite a while, standing in his yard hooting every which way, and getting owls to answer and even to come into his yard.
When he went into the house, Hertha cut to the quick. “You can talk to the owls but you can’t talk to me,” she said, no doubt with the smile of a carpenter who hit the nail squarely on the head.
I feel that way sometimes with the dogs. But I’m going to keep talking to them anyway.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Dance instructor makes a difference ~ September 25, 1997


David Heiller



He came a stranger and he left a friend. He touched a whole lot of people in the process.
Terrance called the dance for our 25th anniversary. 
He is jamming here with another caller friend.

I’m talking about Terrence Smith, who taught dance for three days at Willow River Elementary School last week.

The students enjoyed it. I watched one day. Students who you might not normally think of as liking dancing had a lot of fun.

They swung and hopped. They did doe-si-doe’s. They ducked for oysters and made arches for others to dance through. They made faces and shouted. There are no holds barred in Terrence’s dances.

It’s hard to describe them. They are older than our country. You can imagine your great-grandparents and their neighbors doing these circles and steps in the loft of the barn when the hay was cleaned out in the spring.

Children liked the dances because Terrence is a good teacher, and because the dances were fun. It’s not a complicated thing.

So why don’t we dance more? Schools play basketball, volleyball, football in their physical education classes. Why don’t they dance?

I remember in elementary school, on rainy or snowy days, the teacher would take us to the basement where a room was available for dancing. Someone would carry the record player. Mrs. Spinner would put on a record, then we’d do dances like Farmer in the Dell. Wow, it was fun. The school is gone, but I still remember those times. We pretended not to like it, but our faces said otherwise. It was a chance to hold hands with girls or even give them a swing. No self-respecting boy would admit he liked doing that, but I have a hunch we all did.
Dancing in our barn

I bet Willow River students will remember Terrence like that.
We asked Terrence, who is from Duluth, to stay at our house. He accepted. Even though he was a stranger, that never really worried us. Anyone who likes to dance and can play Soldiers joy on the banjo is welcome on our hide-a-bed.
We played a lot of music in the evenings. Terrence and I knew a lot of the same songs. That was a treat. It isn’t easy to find people who play old time music. We taught each other songs too.
Terrence let me play my banjo during a community dance at Sturgeon Lake City Hall on Thursday night. He played guitar and harmonica and called out the dance moves.
About 40 people showed up. It was fun watching the people dance. Little kids, moms and dads, some senior citizens. There were smiles all around.
This is the way dances are supposed to be, I thought. No one felt self conscious. There weren’t a hundred people sitting at tables and watching while 10 people danced. Just about everybody danced, and they had fun doing it. Either that or they deserve Oscars.
Everybody mixed with everybody else. “Say goodbye to your partner because it’s the last time you’ll see them,” Terrence said before one dance.
John Westberg, Mark Boggie, Louisa Fabbro, and
 Bob Fabbro. Live music is a must for a good dance!
I recognized Verna Mach, who has an assisted living apartment in Moose Lake. She used to live in Sturgeon Lake. Her husband, Joe, played the button box. Verna was a great dancer in the old days, and there she was again, still dancing.
I said hello to her during the break. “It takes me half an hour to make my bed, but I can still dance,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. That made my night.
Terrence Smith made my week, and lots of other people’s week’s also. We could use a few more people like him. Say 1000 or so.
Terrence is from Duluth. He does dances there regularly. If you would like a schedule, call him: at (218) 728-1438, or write to him at 1428 Belmont Road, Duluth, MN 55805.
Better yet, let’s get him back to this area. Willow River Community Education sponsored his last visit. His rates are very reasonable.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Butterflies for Mom and Dad ~ September 14, 1989


David Heiller

Monday night. Already I could feel the butterflies in my stomach, thinking about the first day of school. Not my first day. Thank goodness, those are done. No, I was worrying about my son. I was thinking about Wednesday morning at 7:20, when he would climb onto Dave Nyrud’s bus and disappear down the gravel road toward Willow River.
The very first of 13 first-day-of-school photos
Do people remember their first day at school? I remember mine. My mom took me by the hand, a block up Main Street to the red brick building. Mrs. Escar was waiting, grandmotherly smile, wearing a shiny green dress with little seahorses on it. Mom had her first competition. The next day, I stood ready for Mom to take me to school again, but she inform­ed me that I would have to walk all by myself. I wonder how she felt as I trudged off at the heels of my seven brothers and sisters. Now I know.
Noah stood in the driveway last Wednesday morning, not saying much, just waiting patiently. He wore shorts. We told him he’d probably be the only one wearing shorts, but he wanted to wear them. It wasn’t worth a fight. He carried a red pack on his back, and a cloth lunch bag with a triceratops on the side.
Cindy and I stood with him. We heard Dave’s bus come down the gravel road, stopping at Wil­liams’ house to pick up Rosie and April. Then it swung into our narrow driveway. I marched up to the door with Noah as it popped open, and Dave smiled at Noah. A country western song played on the radio. A lovely smell drifted down the bus steps, a mixture of coffee and warm bodies, the smell of a school bus on a chilly fall morning, a smell that flooded with a thousand memories like when my cousin Jeff, well, you know that story. Good memories.
I said hello to Dave. He looked at me with a knowing smile. How many parents has he seen sending their kids off to school, trying to look nonchalant, trying to hide the butterflies?
There are always times when you just want them to stay home and play.
Noah didn’t notice any of this. He marched up the steps one at a time and headed for the back, disappearing from sight before I could say goodbye. He didn’t look back. Then the door hissed shut, and the bus chugged out of sight.
It was a happy day for Noah, a milestone, you might say, the start of the School Years and a thousand memories and even more miles than that. Dave Nyrud will soon be his hero, like Dale Besse was mine when I rode the bus. And Mrs. Nancy will soon be competition for Cindy, like my Mrs. Escar. Lots of changes, gradual ones that will add up in a hurry.
Too much of a hurry, the aging father says.
We walked toward the house, and I put my arm around Cindy. She brushes a hand across her eyes. Mollie is sitting at the kitchen table eating her usual Graham Crackers, as we go back inside. She’s only four, but she already wants to go to school.
And something is missing in the house even with Mollie there, something that we’ve grown accustomed to for the past six years. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, not without getting maudlin. All I know is that it’s disappearing down County Road 46 toward Willow River.
We’ll get used to it. Most parents do.

Friday, September 14, 2018

The tale of the garage/shop/clubhouse ~ September 12, 1996

David Heiller

It had to end this way, I thought as I drove into the yard last Friday night. My daughter and her two friends stood in the yard, holding sleeping bags and heading toward the garage.
The “garage” never, ever held a vehicle. It
 wasn’t useful that way, it was an old shed that 
someone decades earlier had built to house a car, 
but they really didn’t know what they were doing.
Or is it the shop? The building is going through an identity crisis.
This story started about six months ago with a home improvement project.
First we had our kitchen redone, complete with new cupboards. The old cupboards would work great in the garage, I thought. We’ve never had a car in the garage anyway. I could make a shop out of the garage.
Pulling cupboards out of the kitchen to make way 
for new ones meant that David would be able to 
use them to organize a shop!
Or did it?
A shop. Two words that can make a middle-aged man happy for life.
Maybe a shop like Frank Magdziarz’s, which is clean and orderly. Maybe a shop like Red Hansen’s, where every square inch is filled with tools and gadgets.
But like all projects, this one had a “first things first” clause. First I had to repair the sills of the garage, which were rotten.
I thought that would be an easy job. Bruce Lourey of Moose Lake made it sound like it would be a breeze. It probably would be for him, being a carpenter and all. It wasn’t for me.
Two weeks later I put in the cupboards. Then I moved things from my old work space in the upstairs of the garage to the new work space downstairs. It’s funny, but the new cupboards and counters and walls instantly became a clut­tered mess just like the old space.
As long as I was reorganizing things, I thought I might as well clean out the rest of the upstairs of the garage.
This was no small job. I had thrown a lot of junk up there.
Everything that had outgrown its usefulness in the house had been put in the upstairs of the garage. Fifteen years worth.
Old kitchen dishes. Clothes the kids had out-grown. Clothes their father had outgrown. Three pair of rubber boots with holes in the left foot. (Why did only the left-footed boots have holes? What are the odds of that?)
You have to be firm when you clean a garage. I used the “Test of Time.” I kept asking myself, “Have I used this in the past two years?” If the answer was no, then out it went.
Some of the stuff was trash. It became part of a truckload of junk that I dumped at the Carlton County transfer station for $27.17.
Some of the stuff was too good to throw away. So I called Wilma Krogstad of Askov and asked if the Bruno Thrift Store could use it. She said yes. A load of used clothes and toys and kitchen utensils and books and you-name-it went to Bruno.
Except for a few things. Actually quite a few. I couldn’t throw away the old high chair that I had used when I was a baby, and that our two kids had used. A lot of sentimental value there.
Two old hats, they’d make part of a great cos­tume. My old down jacket. The wheel weights to the walk-behind tractor, I couldn’t throw them out, even though I had never used them. An old grind stone. And so on.
Still, the top of the garage got cleaned out pretty well. I even swept off the threadbare carpet on the floor. It gave me a good feeling, seeing a space so cluttered that you couldn’t even walk through it become open and clean again.
And then my daughter found it.
The daughter with designs on Daddy's space.
I knew she would. She always does. She sen­sed it the way a thirsty horse senses water, and she stampeded for it with her two friends, sleep­ing bags in hand, and I caught them in the glare of my head lights where they stood shaking in fear and excitement.
They had been going to sleep in Mollie’s “other” clubhouse, but it has woodchips for a floor, and no door, and Mollie remembered that I had been cleaning the garage, even though I hadn’t said anything to her, and they found it and it was so nice and they even swept the carpet and washed some of the shelves and couldn’t they sleep there, pleeeese? I knew it would end this way.
I said yes. Show me the dad that would have said no.
Later I looked in on them. They were snug­gled in their bags, laughing and talking, and the upstairs looked like it was made just for them, and I wished for a minute that I was 11 again.
I guess no garage or shop would be complete without a clubhouse upstairs.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

A night to describe and to remember ~ September 18, 1986

by David Heiller

The moon shone bright that summer night in 1978. It lit the land with a white glow. Rocks stood out on the hill to the south like a black and white negative, their shadows deep black. The rolling hillside below the rocks had a stubble of grain, already a stubble and it was only May. The Moroccan sun will do that to land. In the moonlight, the stubble lay as smooth as the coat of a Siamese cat.
A Moroccan full moon in the coastal city, Ceuta.
I stood on the balcony of my apartment, on the third floor of a brick building, marveling as I always marveled, at the full Moroccan moon, so bright you could easily read a book by the light. Across the street, the neighbors had their television on. The screen flickered from scene to scene, though I could not see the picture. The windows were tinted a milky color, so that nosy neighbors or lonely Americans couldn’t peer in on moonlit nights. The sound came through the windows, the only sound in the night at the edge of town, a French dialogue, probably dubbed to an American TV show like “Kojak.” Somehow Moroccans watching Americans speaking French made perfect sense. Tourist brochures call the country a land of contrasts, don’t they? Just like the rocks on the hill in the moonlight, black and white, contrast.
A car motor interrupted the TV sounds. I looked to the right, to the west, down the street. Headlights bounded over the rutted road, the diesel engine puffing and roaring all at the same time. The car swerved to the right to miss a crater, then crashed over the curb on the other side to miss a pile of rocks from a construction site.
“Slow down, you’ll kill someone, or yourself,” I said out loud, smiling.
The car jerked up below my house, rocked to a stop. A young man jumped out. He craned his neck, waved to me. I waved back. “I’ll be right down,” I shouted.
“Good,” he said. The word rhymed with “rude”—a good French pronunciation.
I grabbed two plastic jugs from my kitchen counter, and strode down the two long flights of cement steps to meet my friend. We shook hands. I had seen Pierre that day at school where we both taught, but we shook hands anyway. That is the custom in Morocco. It is a custom among friends.
We climbed in the car. I fastened my seat belt. I had ridden with Pierre enough to know the importance of a seat belt. He slammed the Renault into gear and sped over the dark street, toward the highway.
“You know, thees is some night,” he said, pointing to the sky. “It’s so bright.”
We hit the main highway, a good paved road that connected Fes and Meknes, two large cities in Morocco, large and modern compared to the oil refinery town we lived in. Those towns had good water. Our tap water turned your teeth brown.
“How would you describe this night?” Pierre asked, glancing at me. The moon reflected off the gleam in his eye. He smiled a slight smile, a winning smile, the smile of someone playing cribbage holding a 24 hand.
I could tell Pierre knew how he would describe this night. He may have thought of it when writing one of his science fiction books, one of the nine he had written, though none had made it to the publishing house just yet. Or maybe he came across the perfect word in his science teaching studies. It was probably some scientific word I had never heard of.
“Geez, I don’t know,” I answered in protest. We drove down the highway a little further, then Pierre swerved to the left, making a complete U-turn, in the middle of the road, right by a curve in the road. If a truck or car had been coming, we would have been described as mush. But Pierre kept his winning smile, a kind of pursed look, like he was about to spit a watermelon seed.
I grabbed my two plastic jugs, while Pierre opened the back of the little station wagon and pulled out four of his own. We walked over to the hillside, across the smooth ground. Countless feet, shod and human, barefoot and American-soled, had stood on this ground. It was as smooth as the ground by a Moslem shrine. But this was a shrine of nature. Out of the hill stuck an iron pipe, and out the pipe gushed water, spring water, good water. The Moroccans called it “L-ma h-loo,” which means, “sweet water.”
A Moroccan street.
“Come on, how would you describe this night?” Pierre asked again, as he filled up his jugs from the iron pipe. He had four large jugs, enough for two days of water for his wife, and their two small children. My two gallon jugs would last me for two days too. Then we would come back again, me risking life and limb for a ride with a crazed Frenchman.
I looked up at the hill above us. Up close, it was not so stark. Browns and tans replaced the grey. On the other side of the road, a river cut through a pasture of grass. The grass had been clipped bald by sheep and goats. That too was brown, dusty.
“I don’t know,” I said, stalling, searching for that 24-hand. Milky? Are you kidding? How about ghastly? Lunar? Luminescent? That’s not bad, but it will never top this Frenchman with that smile. Then I found a good one, not physical enough perhaps, but one that Pierre could relate to.
“Surrealistic,” I said, standing up with a full jug.
He craned his neck back, looked at the land as I had looked. My eyes followed his. How do you describe land like this, a land of contrasts, friends and strangers, a land where you have lived for a year, that you love, yet that you don’t feel a part of?
“Phantasmagoric,” Pierre said, his smile finally breaking into a broad grin.
“Phantasmagoric,” I repeated. “Where the heck did a Frenchman ever learn the word ‘phantasmagoric’?”
“Never mind that. That’s what tonight is,” he said. And I knew he had me.
We got back in the car, two friends from two countries in a third country, a third world. Pierre had topped me that night, that phantasmagoric night. But I sat content in the front seat of his car, and smiled. Because I knew I would have the chance to top him again. That’s what friends are for.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The terrible twos eternal ~ September 17, 1987


David Heiller

“Dere’s Pastor Judas (Judith),” Malika remarked in a clear voice as we walked down the aisle at church last Sunday.
“Sshh,” Cindy whispered, as we swing into the fifth pew. “You have to talk like this.”
“You have to talk like dis?” Malika answered in her clear voice.
“Sshh,” I tried, “no, like this.”
“Like dis?” she asked in that same voice. “Dere’s Pastor Judas.”
Malika at two: more at home in a tree, than in a pew.
Cindy and I sighed in unison. Malika had wanted to go to church with Noah, her four-year-old brother who can now behave in church relatively well. We knew we had to give her a sporting chance.
Malika squirmed off Mom’s lap, and walked to the far end of the pew. She eyed Mark Johnson carefully. Mark had sat down in the same pew with us, not knowing he would have been better off in a hornet’s nest. Then Malika stood up and grinned at the folks behind us, a pew full of teenagers. Malika squeezed past me and grinned across the aisle to the pews on the right side of the church. I glanced over to see Ann and Shelley Kosloski grinning back. Church hadn’t even started yet and she already knew half the people there.
Church began with Pastor Judith’s pleasant “Good morning.”
“Dere’s Pastor Judas,” Malika repeated, loud enough for the pew behind us to whisper a laugh.
While the congregation sang The Church’s One Foundation, Cindy and I passed Malika back and forth like a human football. We each got to sing the last line of the hymn, spying the words between Mollie’s flying limbs.
“Where’s the food?” Cindy whispered.
“Where’s the food?” Noah, our son, whispered. “Where’s deh food, Dadee?” Malika said, not in a whisper at all.
The pew behind us leaned forward to see what the food was.
I opened two plastic cups, mixed with Wheat Chex and giant pretzels. They seemed like a good choice on the rush to church. But as the church quieted down, our pew filled with the noise of tiny teeth breaking and grinding cereal and pretzels. The noises might not have been heard in any other room, but in the middle of Pastor Judith’s sermon, they sounded like someone cracking nuts.
"See me? I know that this is daddy's radio. Teeheehee."
I could hear the kids in the pew behind us, breathing hard through their noses, trying not to laugh. Malika sensed her audience. She carried her cup of cereal down the pew, showing them to Mark. He smiled at her again. She took the hymnals out of their rack, and began to pour the cereal in the empty space, until Cindy reached over quickly and grabbed her arm. Malika dumped the cereal on the floor. The pew behind us swayed, as the kids there fought to hold back their laughter.
After the sermon and offering, the congregation stood for the offertory response. Malika had by now picked up and dropped and picked up the cerealseveral times. Then she moved toward me, and tried to squeeze past, toward Ann and Shelley Kosloski. I didn’t dare glance to see if they were still smiling. Instead, I blocked Malika off with my legs. She knew she couldn’t squeeze by, so she returned to Cindy. As we sat down, I landed squarely on her plastic cup and half a dozen Wheat Chex.
In front of us, De Ann Zuk sat calmly with her son, Jonathan, nestled quietly against her shoulder. Jonathan was holding a plastic bag of bubble gum. He quietly worked a blue piece over with his tongue, showing it to Noah, who answered by grinding away on his pretzel. Jonathan Zuk is two years old, and he did not say a peep through church. He maybe was too busy watching Malika.
Ride the horsey, that works for Malika.
Malika squirmed from me to Cindy as we sang the final hymn Lead On, Oh King Eternal. “This is crazy,” I heard Cindy mutter. She lifted Malika onto her shoulders. This was like a march of triumph to her, Jesus riding into Jerusalem on an ass. The kids behind us couldn’t hold back any longer. Their snickers burst out like bubbles. I glanced up at Mollie. She was using Cindy’s head as a drum, and keeping pretty good rhythm with the hymn at that. She was the queen eternal of two-year-olds.
Noah was joining in too. He moved lightly from one foot to the other, in a quick, tip-toe step. “I have to go pee, Dad,” he said.
Church service came to an end finally, mercifully. Malika descended from Cindy’s shoulders triumphantly. We cleaned up the debris, the blankets and books and crumbs that by then had nearly pushed, Mark Johnson clear off the end of the pew. People filed by us down the aisle, with cheerful hellos. The teenagers ducked out, trying to hide their grins. George Brabec stepped forward to shake my hand. He looked proud of Cindy and me for surviving an hour with Malika in church. Or could it have been a handshake of sympathy, as he recalled church services with his grandson, Jason, who was Malika’s most serious challenger for the Terrible Twos honor?
Cindy and I haven’t decided if we will bring Malika to church again next week, or whether we will wait a year or two.