Smelly Socks: Whistle while you work

Jamison helping out.

Jamison, my 9-year-old, walked into our kitchen with a purpose. I noticed that he was wearing his favorite camouflage pants - a classic pair with a torn knee - and he already had his boots on in true ranch-boy fashion.

He plopped down in the kitchen chair as I handed him his morning ritual, a cup of chocolate milk. In a single gulp, it was gone. With a milk mustache on his upper lip he turned to me, "Ah, thanks, Mom. I really needed that. Bye, I have to go to work."

Startled, I asked if he was going to finish his cereal first. "No time, Mom, I have a lot of work to get to, and don't you hear the diesel? Mimi and Popsy are driving up, and well, they really need me."

My parents, Mimi and Popsy, have been busily adding on and renovating a house located on the ranch. This remodel has been a slow and steady process for them that has gradually turned into a major house transformation.

My father has an especially active creative gene, which takes on a life of its very own when a home is in need of a remodel. They are thick in the middle of this renovation, and Jamison is in heaven, playing amidst the dirt, dust, tools, machinery and workers who are trying to work around a 9-year-old who questions their every move.

Between my father's creative gene, Jamison's love of construction and Mimi's unceasing patience with his millions of questions, Jamison has been getting quite an education.

Before their big Dodge pickup was turned off, Jamison had already opened the driver's side door and had ahold of Popsy's hand pulling him out. Jamison loves construction projects and knows that the best view to all that is going on is the one smack in the middle. My blond-haired little boy also knows that he can smile sweetly at his grandparents, and they will allow him access to their endless supply of Cokes, since he happens to know right where they are kept.

After all, if Mimi and Popsy say that he can have one, then he doesn't have to ask Mom or Dad. When I casually ask him how many he has had and he can't remember the number, I tend to get worried. To soothe my worry, my Mom calmly tells me to relax, "You can see that he is working hard and has earned those Cokes."

I don't ever remember my mother being that lenient when I was 9. I am chalking that up to the fact that it is a grandparent's prerogative with their grandson.

Jamison came running around the corner of the porch, where my Mother and I were sitting down talking. "Mom, Gilbert is starting up the backhoe. Oh baby, here we go!" Then, his feet carried him right next to Popsy's side, as he was busy explaining directions to the backhoe driver who was being very careful as Jamison was watching his every move like a hawk.

Gilbert is tremendously talented and cautious, but I believe it is the first time that he has had to work around a 9-year-old with an insatiable curiosity when it comes to machinery.

I turned my head for one minute, and the next thing I see is Jamison wheeling a large magnet all over their yard picking up stray nails and other sharp metal objects. He marveled at how the nails and bits of metal are pulled out of hiding and seemed to be sucked up by the magnet.

He mentioned that he wants to devise a special device to suck up all of the Legos he has littered all over the floor of his bedroom. "It really wouldn't be that hard to make. You know, it would be like a Lego vacuum cleaner," Jamison innocently explained.

As the sun began to set, I heard the diesel truck going back down the road toward the highway to take my parents home to Victoria. Suddenly, Jamison's smiling face appeared at our backdoor.

"Hey, Mom, Gilbert dug some amazing ditches and holes. He did a great job, but I think that I could have done a lot neater job. Can you believe that he wouldn't even let me try? So I am done for the day, and I am just going to watch some TV."

I took a look at him and asked him to stop right there. I told him to strip down outside the door as he was covered from head to toe in about 2 inches of caked on dirt. "Honestly, Jamison, where does all of this dirt come from?"

As if I was completely clueless he looks at me, "But, Mom, I am a boy. I am supposed to be dirty. Remember that God made Adam out of dirt?"

I stifled a laugh as I escorted my stripped down child into the shower to remove the many layers of dirt that was all over him except for the white rings on his face where his glasses fit.

As I helped him scrub his hair for the third time in the shower, he recounted his busy day and told me that "Mimi and Popsy will totally be back again tomorrow, and maybe Gilbert will let me help drive the backhoe." "Nah," he stops himself, "I'll just supervise. I have to keep everyone in line. There is a lot I have to do."

Gilbert has the remarkable gift of patience and the ability to operate machinery with an inquisitive boy asking him questions every three minutes. I know that Jamison also has his own share of remarkable gifts.

I believe that he will be blessed to do something in the engineering field with the unrelenting interest he shows in construction and design.

From the minute he wakes up in the morning, he is busy working with his Legos, wooden scraps, leftover boxes or anything that can be put together into some type of unique creation. He never fails to amaze me with the uniqueness of his projects and the intense thought behind them.

Yesterday as I glanced out of our back window, I spied Jamison on his four-wheeler with a wagon that he had tied to the back to use as a trailer. He had various bricks piled in his "trailer," which are remnants from Mimi and Popsy's construction project.

"Just what do you think you are doing with those?" I questioned him.

"I am going to build a special garage for my four-wheeler. You know, to protect it from the outside elements," he said

"Oh, of course. Why didn't I think of that?" I responded with a sigh.

Johanna is a proud seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at smellysocks@vicad.com.