"Nana, is this plaid?"
"No, Honey, those are checks."
He raced back to his bedroom, his shirt flapping on the hanger. Seconds later, he dashed back with another shirt in tow, "Is this one plaid, Nana?"
"No, son." I wondered why my four-year old grandson cared so much about fashion if he didn't even know what plaid was. His third trip to me confirmed he had indeed found a plaid shirt.
"If you don't know what plaid is, why did you want to wear a plaid shirt?"
"Cause cowboys wear plaid!" he beamed.
Now, I have nine grandsons so this one shall remain nameless to protect him. He was definitely in the cowboy phase of his youth, as was his older brother. Doug, an avid wood-worker, loved to craft old-fashioned toys for our grands: rubber band guns, marbles down the ladder chute and marshmallow shooters. I remember my own Daddy making toys for us too, like bull roars! Must be Father thing, so it's appropriate this week as we remember and honor our dads.
Any parent knows you can't predict the favorite toy at Christmas. Lots of money is spent, only to find that the box itself or the Dollar Tree light sabre ranks #1!
Doug made two hobby horses, each crafted to reflect the boys' personalities.
Those horses were their Velveteen rabbits of toys, loved and frayed. The broom-handle saddles got a lot of miles. The horse heads lost an eye here and there. The mane grew...well, mangy. But every day both brothers grabbed their beloved horses and galloped through the house into their imaginary sunsets.
My little plaid-shirted grandson is a bit of a maverick himself, so Doug carved that spirit into his horse's head. Nostrils flared, ears perked high. Mane stiffened and bristled. One day he'd disobeyed and his dad said, "OK, Son, you may not ride your horse today." Now that was punishment to any cowboy.
Evening and bath time came. Dad dried off the boys and the older one ran naked to get his horse for one last trot. Kids love to romp naked. Helps the drying process too. The younger boy, forgetting his punishment, scurried for his horse as well, when Daddy gently remind him, "Remember your punishment. You can't ride today."
His face dramatically drooped, shoulders slumped and his head hung low.
Hang down yer head, Tom Dooley...
THEN his creative side kicked in. Downcast, he spotted an alternative hobby horse. How shall I say this? He grabbed his little, naked self with one hand, slapped his bare backside with the other, then whooped, "YEE-HAW!" He galloped right behind his older brother all through the house.
Imaginations are wonderful things. So are cowboys and grandsons!
I read this to my grandson on his birthday. He laughed out loud because he didn't remember it. So to him it was a "new" story. I asked his permission to share it with you here. He said yes but preferred to remain nameless. I love you, _______POO!