*If by "clever" you mean, "thoughts that go directly from my mind to the keyboard without time for reflection, polishing, or so-called-wit."
Owen liked this swing. Although he looks mildly constipated in this picture, let me assure you that most of the time, when he was on this swing, he was blissful. Just swaying back and forth, a feather in the breeze, not a care in the world.
I love my country. I'm a liberal and I love my country. Sean Hannity, I'm talking to you. It's possible. Deal with it. And yes, I know about your hybrid Cadillac Escalade.
I also love angry bald eagles. If I had a biker tattoo, it would look exactly like this box. Warning label and all. And it would be a tramp stamp.
Paul and his (not twin) brother took this picture, surrounded by all that is good and holy in the world---beer, the Red, White & Blue, and an impressive arsenal of fireworks.
Look at them. Happy as pigs in mud. I pray that Owen and Joel are at least as close as Doug and Paul.
Alas there is a darker side to this photo. About five fireworks in, Paul shot a rocket. The trajectory was a bit off, so it spun in the air, and landed in a ravine in Doug's backyard. It then, promptly, hit a bit some dry brush and sparks were a flyin'.
Yes, we had fire. Within seconds, Doug was yelling for a bucket, his wife, Erin, (all 29 weeks pregnant of her) was sprinting towards the hose, and the neighbors were crowding anxiously.
Rest assured that nobody lost their home, but when all was said and done, there was a menacing, ten-foot scar in the ravine.
Paul and Doug wisely elected to forgo the remaining rockets. Luckily, there were mortars that went boom without causing impending doom.
Erin is 29 weeks pregnant in this picture. In 2006, Erin went into premature labor with my nephew, William, at 29 weeks.
Their NICU story is not mine to share. Suffice to say, it had a very, very happy ending. William is a delight, and is on-schedule with all major milestones and developmental expectations.
Every night, Owen prays, "Please be with Erin's baby. Keep her safe, healthy, and full-term." He then prays that Joel be full-term as well. (I think he made it, buddy).
Doug and Erin don't live in fear. It's possible that this baby could be premature, and it's possible that she will arrive, as expected, in September. Truly, they are doing what they can to control the situation, and releasing the rest.
But it's there, like an invisible papercut. A visit to the doctor, a well-meaning comment or simply looking at William, stings with surprising intensity.
Or perhaps I'm projecting. All I know is that I love them and I worry for them.
At one point, Erin unexpectedly left the deck, where we were all sitting. She was gone a long time. I went inside, and looked for her. Is this it? I thought to myself. Oh God, please no. Please don't force them to do this again.
I found her upstairs, watching TV. "Are you okay?" I asked.
She smiled, knowing my worry but thoughtfully not acknowledging it. "Oh, the mosquitoes were getting bad out there," she said. My shoulders relaxed.
They live each day, and they live pretty joyfully, too. They know the past, but they look toward the future, a future with a beautiful daughter in their family.
But, hey, do me a favor? Join Owen and pray that Erin's baby, Kiri Jane Campbell, will be safe, that she will be healthy, and that she will indeed be full-term.