This morning my son and I awoke to a beautiful day. The weather here has been incredible. Though some people are complaining that it’s been on the hot side, I am not missing waking up to 90 degrees at 7AM. I can handle the heat (and the Jersey humidity) but this is just perfect. So what’s with the title? Well, one of the (to me) peculiar things about living in Texas is that almost all of the houses are limited to one, single floor. Most of us have no basement and no second floor. Having said that I’m sure some people will point out to me that I’m wrong. I’m talking about my experience in North Texas. But I grew up in the Garden State where the houses are old and the soil strong enough to hold several floors (and a full basement). Everyone I knew growing up had a basement and we all used them to varying degrees. For us, the basement contained our laundry room (an old wine cellar) and, because it was dry and well-lighted, our toy room. But son has never seen a basement (and only rarely a second story)…
For a good portion of the day he kept telling me that he wanted to watch TV in his cousins’ room upstairs. Wanting him to mingle with the family he doesn’t see much of I finally asked him if something was wrong. At first he offered an excuse. “Daddy, it’s just that sometimes I like to be alone.” Yeah, that’s not reassuring.
“Son,” I said, “I just don’t want you to be by yourself when we came all this way to visit people.”
When I finally threatened to forbid him from the TV for the rest of the trip he spoke up.
“OK Daddy, here’s the thing,” said he, with perfect conviction. “It’s just that whenever I’m in a house with three layers I like to visit the other layers. OK, Daddy?”
That made a bit more sense. After correcting his use of layer in lieu of floor or story (but secretly vowing to use it that way myself from now on) I explained that I would show him around the house so he could see the other layers. And that’s when he explained that he had already been to the third layer on his own earlier in the day. So I explained to him the importance of not going up to the attic on his own (there are corner stairs) his cousin and I walked him up to take a look. We looked around at some Christmas items in the storage room. That’s when he found an old roll of 110 film lying undeveloped on a ledge. For those of you born after 2000, film was this stuff we used to use when taking pictures. But before I could explain that this stuff had to be taken to a pharmacy, dropped in an envelope with your name written on it, and left for several days until the 24 pictures you took were developed he decided to make me laugh.
“Oh look, a tiny telephone!” he exclaimed.
Indeed. A tiny telephone. And with that I walked him back to the first layer where dinner was waiting.