As I understand it - there are tribes in the outback of Australia and in Africa (and probably other places) whose members believe that photographs steal a piece of the subject's soul. I got my information from the movie Crocodile Dundee, I think. But regardless, I believe that my nephew Jacob may be aboriginal. Because I've never met a young man who hates having his picture taken more than he does.
He recently returned to Montana after visiting Virginia for a month. I didn't know I would miss him as much as I do. He brings with him all the challenges of an 8 year old boy - an impish delight in driving the adults around him crazy, seemingly endless energy, a puzzling sense of humor. But he also has a charming smile, a love for adventure and one of the most infectious laughs I've ever encountered.
The month flew by.
Some of the things I'll remember most? Camping at Jellystone with the church family is high on the list. Even though I didn't get to see him very much - he spent as much time as possible enjoying the water slides, pool, jumping pillows and running amok with friends - both old and new. And even though he told me that he didn't sing during devotions...he did seem to listen! And when I asked for input, he was one of the few who spoke up (including the adults). The boy played hard and slept even harder.
One evening I decided to take him out to dinner - just the two of us. It is an activity that I did with my nephew Jack (now 18) when he was about that age. I was reminded of the fact that each of my nephews and niece are individuals. Jack always favored a restaurant with "waiters and real forks" - and we tried a lot of new and different foods together. When I asked where Jacob wanted to go to dinner, he decided on Chik-fil-a. Well, if that is what he wanted...who was I to argue? We enjoyed (?) dinner, he got chicken grease on my phone, spilled my drink and played in the playground. After that we went to Peaksview Park where I got to see another aspect of his individualism. Whereas Jack (at that age) always wanted to hang out close to me...Jacob departed the car, saw some boys playing, and took off to join in the fun. After they left we spent a few minutes playing tag, just the two of us...but headed to meet my sister for shaved ice pretty quickly (I was worn out!!!). It was pretty neat to see how played with the other boys - making sure that everyone was involved. One boy was a little shy, but Jacob made sure he was included.
But I think that the evening that I will remember most is our evening at Tiny Town golf. Mom, Dad, Denise (aka Aunt Moe), Jacob and his Dad (my brother Gordon) all met to play. Since we thought 6 people would be too many...we split into two teams. I was excited that Jacob picked me and Aunt Moe to be on his team. Although he could have picked more talented players, we lost miserably to the other team...I was happy to be able to spend an hour enjoying his company. I even got two hole-in-ones! And a whole lot of 5s...I am an inconsistent player.
We wrapped up the evening (and our month together) back at The Sweet Spot for ice cream and shaved ice. It was excellent. The next day when he and his Dad headed to catch his flight to Montana...I shed some tears that I hadn't expected to shed. He is far from me geographically, not far from my heart.
But I still don't know why farts are so funny...