Pai: (Trying to shake salt into his soup from a plugged up saltshaker)

Me:  Man, it is humid!

Pai: Yup.  This isn’t working.

Hank: It’s my fault.

Me: No, it is so humid from all the rain that the salt is sticking to the inside of the shaker and not falling out.

Pai: It’s not your fault, Hank.  I just need to unclog it.

Hank: No, you guys don’t understand.  It’s my fault.

Me: It is not about blame.  These things happen naturally.

Hank: (putting his hand on my hand) No, really.  Mama, while you were in the kitchen I was shaking salt into my soup and I was shaking and not looking and I plopped the top of the saltshaker in my soup.

Me: You dunked it?

Hank: I dunked it.  It was an accident.

Me: (trying not to laugh)

Pai: Well in that case… (totally sarcastic fake scolding) Hank! This is ALL YOUR FAULT!

Me: (taking on a bad British granny accent) How careless of you.  Oh My! Ring for the servants.  Something must be done about this!

Hank: (utterly devastated and dramatic) I have ruined everything!

All three: (positively purple with laughter)




Me: Goooooood morning, Mr. Hank.

Hank: (tiny voice) Morning.

Me: Hey there.  Did you wake up yet or are you still sleeping?

Hank: I woked up, but (scarecrow arm, pointing) it’s raining…  again.

Me: Hate to break it to you, but it will rain until mid March.

Hank: (harrumph)

Me: What’s the story, morning glory?

Hank: There is nothing to do afterschool when it is raining.

Me: Does that mean you would like me to pick you up early?

Hank: No. I want to stay with my friends, but all there is to do is stay inside the cafeteria or stay outside under the little roof. That is it.

Me: (thinking) Really?  What about the library?

Hank: We have a library.

Me: Why can’t you go into the library?  You’re so lucky to have one at your school and a library is a magical place.  And trust me, many a kid has stumbled into a wardrobe or through a looking glass on a rainy day because of a library.

Hank: But I am not sure if we are aloud.

Me: Can you ask?

Hank: Yes.

Me: What is the worst they can say?

Hank: (thinking) No.

Me: And no isn’t so bad.  No means you will have to come up with another idea.

Hank: Alright.  I will try it.

Me: Trying is way better than doing nothing.

Hank: Yes.  And what’s a wardrobe?

Me: Um armário (a closet), but the kind not built into the wall. Like we have in Alentejo (the southern region of Portugal).

Hank: Oh.  And kids would go in there to sit on top of the blankets and read books?

Me: Or bypass the fur coats to find themselves standing next to a lamppost in the middle of a snowy wood near the cottage of Mr. Tumnus in the land of Narania.

Pai: Time to go.

Hank: But…

Me: Ask the librarian.  She’ll know what I’m talking about.




Pai: Did you hear about the worksheet?

Me: What about the work sheet?

Hank: I didn’t have to do that worksheet yesterday, but the whole class did it.

Me: You mean the worksheet that took you two hours and left you in a flood of tears?

Pai: Apparently they only had to read the poem on the worksheet.

Hank: Yes, but my teacher forgot to tell us so the whole class did the worksheet.

Me: Wow.  If I were your teacher I would be so proud of you. I would be so excited to teach your class. You guys work hard.

Hank: I would really like it if you were my teacher.

Me: Really? I don’t know.  We are a great team, but if I was your teacher you would have to share me with 23 other kids. Do you think you could do that?

Hank: Sure.

Me: You know, My Gram was your Grammy’s teacher.

Pai: Really?

Me: Yup.  My Gram was the music teacher for all the schools so she was my mom’s music teacher and your Grammy didn’t like it, Hank.

Hank: Really.  I would love it.

Me: My mom said it was hard because she had to be picked last so that the other kids didn’t get jealous and also she couldn’t act out in school or do bad things because all of the teachers were her mother’s colleagues so they would tell my Gram if my mother was bad.

Hank: Was my Grammy very bad?

Me: No, it is more the principal of the thing.  Even if she wanted to misbehave she couldn’t.

Hank: Oh. Well you couldn’t be my teacher anyway because you don’t speak math.

Me: (giggling) True, but I wouldn’t be your math teacher.  I was an art teacher in America.

Hank: You see.  You would be the best art teacher ever.  Promise me, someday, if you teach art again I can take your class.  Especially if it is clay class.

Me: (raising right hand) I, Joy Hanford, do so solemnly promise that if I ever get a chance to teach art again, and especially ceramics, that You, Hank Pereira, can take my class. (lowers hand) Especially if it is ceramics because I think you would really love it.

Hank: Yup.