out of the mouths of babes
One of the adorable traits young children have is their lack of filter. They call the world as they see it. Did I say adorable? I meant adorable and horrifying.
At the time of what I am now calling “The Incident,” Nora was three years old. Nora being Nora (and three) is vocal about everything. The Lovely Marianne relates that a month ago she spent an hour in the car with Nora and Nora’s mother during which time Nora kept up a non stop stream of observations, opinions and stories. Anyway, last week, TLM and I spent the week in Gearhart OR on the Pacific coast with Nora and her family.
We rented a house close to the beach for the week. The Pacific Way Bakery is located in downtown Gearhart a few minutes walk from our rented quarters. Always interested in trying new food options, my son and his family decided to patronize the bakery. It turns out that the Pacific Way Bakery is popular so when we arrived a slow moving line had formed. Always restless, Nora quickly grew tired of waiting so I volunteered to walk with her down the street a ways. So far, so good, nothing traumatic just a casual stroll while Nora kept up a running commentary about the sun, the sky, the beach and various princesses and unicorns populating her crowded imaginary world.
The fun started when we returned to the rest of her family still waiting in line. Okay, picture the scene.
Okay, a group of people stood about where I’ve placed the small crowd and Nora and I had just passed them and were just under the caption labeled “Nora and I” when Nora noticed something about one of the people we had just passed. See that guy on the right in the shorts? Now picture him with a prostheses from his knee down. Nora didn’t have to picture it; she saw it and it caught her attention.
“Grandpa,” Nora said although said doesn’t do justice to the volume. It was more like shouted. “Look at that guy! What’s wrong with his leg?”
Before I could explain that there was nothing wrong with his leg she shouted. “He’s got a robot leg! Why does he have a robot leg, Grandpa.”
“Nora, I think–“
“What happened to his leg? Did it disappear?”
Nora is pulling me back in the direction of the group and I’m desperately trying to pull her toward her mother.
“Grandpa, do you see the robot leg? Why does he have a robot leg?”
After what seemed like at least a year during which time Nora became ever more vociferous about the “robot leg,” I managed to pass her off to her mother who distracted her with something else, anything else. I was embarrassed. Her mother was embarrassed, but Nora was oblivious, just calling it like she saw it. I briefly considered approaching the man and offering my apologies, but not knowing how that would be received, I went with the tried and true tactic of pretending the incident never happened.