Amory and I are driving in the new Honda last friday, and I have to call the school to let them know that Tennessee is home sick. (At that point, we were still thinking maybe he had mono.) Anyway, I realize I don't have the number for Redwood High, where Ten goes for first period math class. So I call information and get the number. After I hang up, Amo says, "Being a phone operator must be a hard job." And I say, "Why's that?" And Amo says, "How do they remember all those numbers?"
That cracked me up. It reminded me of the time when I was about eight-years-old or so -- probably qabout 1966 -- and I was with out with Ed on a hot July day. We went to buy ice from a big ice machine -- I think it was in the parking lot of Carduner's Liquor in Hightstown. Anyway, my Dad says you just put some coins into the slot of this giant machine, and out slides a big block of ice. Well, the truck had arrived to fill the machine a little earlier, and the guy was inside stacking the new blocks. I put the money in, but instead of the ice coming down the chute, the big door opens and a man in shorts and a t-shirt hands us our block of us. As we were walking away, I said to Ed, "That must be a hard job". And Ed said, "Why's that?" And I said, "Doesn't he get cold in there?"
We're getting in the pickup the other day, the three of us. And my hair's been kinda shaggy lately, and Tennessee makes a comment about it and I say, "Well, heck with it, I'm just going out like this". And Amory, in his deadpan gravelly voice, says, "What a hairdevil".
June 30, 1997.
Amory wanted in the bathtub and so he punched through the 4 x 8 sheet of safety glass. Bang. Mighty Mouse. Hercules. Young Frankenstein. The kid is fearsome. He’s a nice kid but I pity the fool that picks a fight with him in grade school. Really. He’ll pummel the poor kid. Pick him up over his head and toss ‘em across a desk. Its like living with Baby Arnold. He is such a brute. He has no idea how strong he is. He’s already stronger than Tennessee. When he resists me, its much harder to hold him down than Tenny is now. Anyway, I walked into a sea of glass. Tennessee was standing by the toilet, bleeding, practically in shock. He was afraid to move. Which was good because there was glass everywhere. They were both naked. Amory was walking around in the glass trying to get in the tub. The tub was almost overflowing, the water was still running and there about 2 inches of glass on the bottom of the tub. If he had succeeded in climing in he would have been surprised at how uncomfortable it felt. I was barefoot too -- walked in over the glass and hauled ‘em both out of there. There was glass everywhere. In the hall. In their bedroom. Some even found its way onto Tennessee’s bed. How I don’t know. It had to fly like 20 feet and around a corner. That baby musta really exploded. I was home alone with them and it was hard to clean up the glass, the blood, keep them away from the danger areas. The whole place was off limits and they were really wound up and Tennessee wasn’t hurt bad but his cuts were bleeding like mad and there was blood everywhere which scared him. Amory didn’t have a single scratch. I have no idea how he managed that.
July 4, 1997
Amory and I headed to Everygreen, Colorado on Independence Day. Amory and Ed -- Pop Mowrey -- met for the first time. They really hit it off. The two Russells! It was nice to see them together. Ed was in good form -- he really got in there and met Amo on his level. They were laughing and playing harmonica. Eric and Katherine had a little party on Saturday -- about 15 of us I’d say. We rocked Evergreen. Floated a keg of Killian’s, played a lot of horseshoes. Amory took a shoe to the side of the head. Took it like a man. Amory was all into the fellas, hanging with big boys all day!
Sometime in 1997:
I remember one day when Amo was about two-years-old, and we went to a park in Marin. He was playing on the swings, and I was watching him but not standing too close. At some point, I realized he was shimmying up one of the exterior poles, the swing set framing structure. And he's reaches the top. Now he's standing on the top horizontal pole of the structure in a squat, hands gripping the pole on either side of his feet. It's too late for me to shout at him or make a move -- I'll only alarm him and quite possibly initiate a premature dismount. So I watch. He steadies himself, and to my incredulous distress, jumps. I'm getting that slow-motion, car-wreck thing, as he catches a little air and begins his rapid descent. To the surprise of me a couple of horrified moms who are watching, he lands in a perfect two-point stance, knees bent, legs shoulder width apart, arms out for balance, palms down. He looked like a little ninja who just leaped from a balcony into fighting position.