All the other children emerge from the ball field from this baseball camp looking sweaty but relatively clean. Joseph, however, is covered in red clay. When I say covered, I mean the socks are orange; the gray baseball pants have holes in each knee and are caked in red clay.
He recently found a wooden bat in our attic, left by a former owner, and insisted on taking it to the camp. So when I picked him up today, he smiled gleefully, holding up a wad of money. “Look at all this money I made today!”
“Made,” I asked, “How do you make money at a baseball camp?” “Well, no one else has a wooden bat, so I give people one free trial at bat with this wooden beauty. Then if the like it, they pay me a dollar and can use it the rest of the day.”
So now we are renting out a discarded wooden bat. Ok, that’s entrepreneurship I guess!
Our children want a puppy, and we want a puppy. But I don’t think I can potty train a puppy and a small girl at the same time. Soooo until the small girl decides to cooperate, no puppy.
Naturally, these children fall in love with every puppy they see in the major pet stores around town, which we of course are frequenting in our search for life-saving fish vitamins and the like. So H makes an off-hand comment about how we don’t want a dog from a pet store because they come from puppy mills. And then the inevitable question: “What’s a puppy mill?” Yes, it’s one of those questions we really shouldn’t have answered. But we did. And now we suffer and suffer and suffer…
Take the other night. Everyone is busy catching lightening bugs. Our neighbors’ sweet, but tired, 14-year-old Boston terrier named “Darla” hobbles outside and sniffs around. Edward takes one look at Darla and approaches our neighbor, asking pleasantly: “Are you running a puppy mill out of your home?” This is in the same tone of voice you might use to ask a polite question like “Are you having a nice evening?” “Did he just say ‘puppy mill?’” she asks. “Oh yes, he did. He sure did.” I answer.
You know, it just takes one reference and we are off! Our neighbors, by the way, are a sweet couple in their sixties involved with the ministry, clearly not the “puppy mill” types. But yesterday we apparently had a run-in with some official looking puppy mill types:
“Look at that smoking lady in that old van. Look at her hair, Mama. Look how it’s so wild looking. Look at her poor dog…how its hair is so dirty. I’ll bet she is running a puppy mill, don’t cha think? Look at those two men with her…look how big that man’s nose is. I just know they have a puppy mill…don’t cha think?”
Yes, I’m sure of it. And black lungs, too.