Thursday, August 24, 2006

Home, part III

I truly hope you're enjoying our adventures. If you're stopping by for the first time in our tale, be sure to check out Home, part I and Home, part II to catch up on our trip with SmallBoy. Just a short weekend trip, but full of fun! I'd love to know how you're enjoying the tale so far. Feel free to leave me a comment or two at the end!

SmallBoy exhibited his incredible memory for directions and routes by leading us back to the beach through the secret path, one of the many shortcuts between our cottage and the rest of our community. This path, as with the last, was wooded. The floor was dirt, leaves, tree roots, sand, sticks, and stray, often crushed, acorns (ever so painful when stepped on with a bare foot). It was a quick path, but for the inexperienced its narrowness and unpredictability - as far as the texture of the ground awaiting each footstep, can hold a bit of a scary-factor; not scary movie-scary, just an uncertainty, a fear of the unknown, mild fear for safety. SmallBoy was very pleased that he was able to be the guide, and told us as we proceeded, where we were on the path and what was coming next. I was very impressed, but yet again, not surprised, at his knowledge. It’s that Aspie-ness, again – the memory, the detail, etc. PC had told him, “Ok, SmallBoy, you lead the way, we’ll follow you, but ask us if you are unsure of where to go next.” He never asked, never even hesitated.

With the path behind us, we again took to the road. PC stopped us to show SmallBoy something that had completely amazed him as a child. Secluded, though the park may be, it is not primitive; there IS electricity running through it, as well as phone lines. PC and I have had the great fortune to have been young children when Star Wars was originally released in the theaters in the 70's – the FIRST episodes, as far as we’re concerned. Correction: I had the great fortune to have been a young child when Star Wars was originally released in theaters. PC, well, he was still on his trike. Nonetheless, there are certain things about those movies that get permanently lodged in the memories of anyone who saw them while growing up – when the imagination had not been overtaken by reality, when the creative things we would make up and pretend still ran rampant in play. Star Wars, and everything about it, was one of those things.

PC not only shares a love for the Star Wars movies, but for film and movie making. He loves to watch special features and find out how certain things were originally done, researched, pulled off. He can tell you if a movie was shot on film or tape (and we hear about it quite a bit, as LargeBoy also shows an interest in studying film). One of the first times that PC took me to Michigan, before we were married, he wowed me with his knowledge of special effects, particularly sound effects. He relayed this knowledge to SmallBoy who can find amazement in most things, and who was astounded by this new revelation. It blew his socks right off.

We had stopped on the road after emerging from the path. I mentioned earlier that the park was fully equipped with phones and electricity. Above our heads, of course, ran the electrical and phone lines for the park. PC said, “Hey, SmallBoy! Wanna hear something cool? Wanna hear a Star Wars sound?” At the mention of Star Wars, SmallBoy’s excitement and interest piqued. He looked curiously around at the land and homes around us while he attempted to figure out just exactly how, and from where, PC was going to summon up a sound from Star Wars. As before, PC took on the role of teacher and explained to SmallBoy that when George Lucas was making the first (OUR generation’s first) Star Wars movie, he had trouble finding a sound for the lasers and light sabers. That explained, PC took a rock and, on the first shot, nailed it against one of the power lines. The sound of the hit, coupled with the vibration of the wire, created a sound much like the lasers and light sabers. PC further explained to SmallBoy that before they had the technology to recreate this sound, that the rock against the wire trick was used to actually capture the sound, and then the sound was manipulated to form exactly the effects they were seeking. Tweaked one way the sound would represent a light saber engaged in battle, another, a light saber being powered up, yet, tweaked another would mimic a shot from the laser on and X-Wing or Tie Fighter. This new information fascinated SmallBoy, at least momentarily before he refocused on the task at hand, getting to the beach. I can promise you, though, that for the rest of his life, when he watches Star Wars, SmallBoy will be reminded of the creation of the sound effects and, more than likely, will share that knowledge with everyone he can.

We picked up our journey once more and walked, still barefoot, to the beach. It took the guys only moments to scope out just the right spot, take in the view of the waves crashing on to the beach, plop down their stuff and head straight into the water. It was quite obvious that this was what they had been waiting for, since 5:18 that morning (and probably before). The waves had increased from earlier in the morning when the water was still quite calm, making them ideal for some serious beach play. I’d like to say that the guys stopped and checked to see if the water had warmed at all and then gently waded in, allowing their bodies to gradually get used to the temperature. I’d like to say that they were cautious. I’d like to say many things, but I would be stretching the truth - more like outright lying. They threw caution to the wind, and tore right into the lake as if they had been traveling through the desert and had finally reached a giant oasis, not wasting any time indulging in the pleasures it provided. They were such happy campers.

PC had already explained to SmallBoy that Lake Michigan, at least our part of Lake Michigan, has a very strong undertow. That, of course, entailed explaining an undertow and how it can just sneak up, grab you in its clutches and whisk you away. He explained the dangers of fighting the undertow and what to do if he got caught. Our hope was that this would scare the bejeezus out of SmallBoy so that he would be extremely cautious, and he was. Sometimes we have to take advantage of the Asperger's to instill the importance of a particular issue. In this instance, it worked. SmallBoy desperately wanted to go out to the sandbar, but knew that he shouldn’t go out on his own. PC went in with him, as they had run into the water together, an image of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum imprinted itself on my memory, and he surmised that the water was safe enough for the sandbar - IF they went out together. PC let me know it was ok by shaking his hands over his head while flashing me this devilishly goofy up-to-no-good grin. Then, before I knew it, all I could see was the back of my guys as they waded and swam and splashed their way out to the sand bar.

I didn’t really pay too much attention to them, as I was engrossed in reading my book and bathing in the warmth of the sun's mid-August rays that reached down to embrace me on the beach. I will, no doubt, end up all wrinkled and skin cancer-y because of my extreme distaste for sunblock, but, despite my Italian DNA, the sun completely passes over me if I even apply an SPF 1. I could be slathered in baby oil, basking in the sun, being pummeled over and over by UVA & UVB rays and get nothing. If my body manages to gain some color, it’s usually just something fleeting that peels, tanned or burned, within two weeks. Hmmph!

While I read and tried to steal some rays, a group of kids came down to the beach. The boys immediately dove into the water, leaving the little girl alone to set up camp. She planted the big black and aqua blue umbrella into the sand, opened it so wide that I was afraid it would gobble her up, assembled her beach chair, and plopped in, arms folded, watching the boys. She seemed resigned, as was I, to sit in the chair and spend the afternoon as a spectator. I could still see PC and SmallBoy bopping around and splashing and leaping into the waves, and she could see her friends doing the same. After much splashing, my guys came in to the shore, PC with an exhausted SmallBoy at his side. Naturally, I thought that this was it, that SmallBoy was ready to head back. Nope. No way, Jose. This was only the beginning.

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