In the midst of a tawdry patch in our civil discourse where immigration is concerned, Wyatt fought back: his favorite celebrity when he turned three years old was the Statue of Liberty. He couldn't get enough of her -- his teacher mother provided him with several good books, and images of her adorned several of his tee shirts. He made the firefighters at the station around the corner cookies shaped like her, and the family took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry so he could get up close and personal with his friend. We got him a penny bank shaped like Liberty for Christmas, and he had a green foam diadem like hers from a novelty store that he could wear: he would hold a book against his tummy with one arm and raise an imaginary torch with the other, intoning "Welcome!" with a seriousness that made us wish everyone were like Wyatt.
He has not abandoned Liberty, exactly, but other interests have come into his life. There was the era of the Space Shuttle, in which he watched it on television, orbited tiny models of it around the living room, read more books about it with his parents and directed everyone in the recitation of a carefully scripted description of its takeoff and landing: "...10--9--8... liftoff of the Space Shuttle Atlantis (or Endeavor). Expanding our lives, expanding our minds in space!" as he freed his model shuttle from the surly bonds of the couch and made whooshing noises. And then there was Thomas the Tank Engine, an English steam engine whose episodes, models, track layouts, books and tee shirts can set a person back some serious money.
The current obsession is the most inexpensive thus far: there's not a lot out there about porta-potties. Hardly anything. But walks around his new neighborhood brought him into visual contact with the strange-looking little huts on the edges of the construction sites he loves, and he must needs explore. The whole concept was thrilling to someone who only recently acquired control of his own excretory life, and Wyatt was hooked. He became knowledgable about their seats, their handles, the remarkable fact that you don't flush them -- They have a pit instead, Mamo, he tells me wisely. Meeting an adult friend of his parents for the first time, he got the ball rolling with a question: Do you know why porta-potties don't flush? The visitor did not know. Because they don't have pipes, he answered triumphantly, and went back to his play.
Neighborhood walks and rides in the car are hopeful and exciting voyages of exploration; who is to say upon what vacant lot a porta-potty might not have been erected since he was there last? Wyatt can spot a porta-potty at a great distance. He sees them before anyone else does. A recent family trip yielded a bonanza: an entire field of porta-potties, reporting for duty at a large public event. There were 121 of them, and he counted them all. Recently, the turquoise one that graced a building site in his neighborhood disappeared in the night, a development that caused some consternation. But that is the way life is: the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
Like all human obsessions, Wyatt's relates in a hidden way to an unspoken dread. Don't worry, Mamo, he reassures me, you're much too big to go down the pipe when you flush the toilet. I thank him for this reassurance, and in that exchange I understand bit more about where this particular interest originates: Wyatt is working through something important. But he needs some time. Rome wasn't built in a day: I see shreds of remaining concern -- he keeps an eye on his colleagues at nursery school, and is apt to check on anybody who seems to have been in the bathroom too long. Because anything can happen.
I don't know what the next obsession will be. I doubt if it will be as funny as this one, but you never know. This world is a challenging one to master, and none of us ever tames it all.
THE GERANIUM FARM AT GENERAL CONVENTION, JULY 6th
In between all the church politics, come to lunch with Barbara Crafton, Deacon J, Debbie from the Hodgepodge, Trapper John and Farmers from all over the country. The Geranium Farm will hold its luncheon at General Convention in Indianapolis, IN on Friday, July 6 from 12:45pm to 2 pm. We've been assigned the Capitol 1 room on first level of the Westin Indianapolis Hotel. Cost of the luncheon is $20, payable in cash or by check at the door (we are not taking payment in advance). Barbara Crafton will be this year's speaker. There will be a raffle for some unique prizes and a small memento for every guest.
Reservations must be made in advance by sending an e-mail to The Farm's Deacon, Joanna Depue at: firstname.lastname@example.org. As we must order food from the Convention facilities in advance based on the number of people attending, your reservation will be considered a commitment on your part to attend the luncheon. In your reservation email, mention what diocese you are a part of! We look forward to greeting old friends and meeting new ones on July 6th.
Any Farmers in the neighborhood willing and able to lend a hand making the tables look Indiana gorgeous? Taking money at the door? Selling books? Anybody have something wonderful to contribute to the raffle? Proceeds from the raffle go to Episcopal Relief & Development. We've got some good stuff already, but the more, the merrier. Email Deacon J.