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Consider This

By LC Van Savage


Like you with yours, when I look at our grandchildren I see flawless beauty, stunning brilliance, enormous creativity, depthless intelligence, superb co-ordination, and astonishing potential. All of those attributes are in Thomas Ryan Van Savage, our fourth grandchild and second grandson. He’s around two something, so beautiful I have to shield my eyes, so funny I forgive him everything, even to the willful heaving of a plate full of spaghetti, meatballs and sauce onto my favorite white pants. This boy can do no wrong.

Thus, when Tommy’s mother Kate, our dear daughter-in-law, asked me if I’d like to accompany her to a big motel in South Portland so Tommy could try out for a possible LL Bean catalogue modeling job, I agreed instantly, saddened somewhat when I thought about all those other sweet kids who hadn’t a snowballs’ chance. Off we went.

The paper said that pictures would be taken at 1:30 PM. A note pinned to a door said “they” would be back by 2. By 2:30 the hundreds of restless kids were slowly melting down, their parents getting the wild-eyed look of trapped animals. It got hot, sticky, and still “they” didn’t show.

I began to walk, (run,) the bored Tommy up and down the hotel’s corridors. He pulled open hotel room doors, grabbed spray bottles off a cleaning cart, hammered on heavy plate glass doors, shouted and aimed a kick at everyone, as slowly his sunny disposition turned dark. More kids showed up, several little girls in Shirley Temple dresses, probably not appropriate for the Bean catalogue, but cute anyway. Tommy of course was still in the lead as far as looks went, but I was polite and didn’t let on.

Kate stood in a rapidly filling room holding onto Tommy’s stroller while I took him for another exercise session, beating our way through the humanity. It was getting hotter in that place and the wannabe child models and their doting, anxious parents were turning into a vaguely ugly mob, and then not so vaguely. Young Thomas now charged into the motel’s front lobby and began to chin on the ropes to keep the mobs in line, to dive beneath tables, to ram himself onto couches where the other kids sat, not-so-patiently awaiting the call, and to just bolt everywhere.

Kate came to spell me and vanished into the madding crowd with Tommy who was now going limp and working up a series of large screams. I went after them ramming the stroller through the thickening mob and suddenly heard Kate calling me. She’d gotten into The Room! She was just passing by when “they” came out and said “OK, everyone here come in to get photographed.” Kate jumped into the sacred space. Tommy was about to be discovered!

I barged in and saw Kate filling out the form while behind her Thomas was wrapping himself neck to knees in some tape he’d found, dropping to all fours with the top of his head on the carpet doing his favorite “head run” around the room, then leaping to his feet to turn the air conditioner on and off and on and off. Next on his agenda was to go limp again, emit a Banshee yell, crawl around to look up little girls’ dresses, occasionally grinning at me screeching, “Hey Bucky!” repeatedly, which is what he calls me, (don’t ask) and to stuff his mouth as full as possible with a bagel his mother desperately handed him with hopes it would drug him.

Finally, his turn. Kate said, “Tommy! Let’s get your picture taken!” and with one cheek bagel-bulged, looking like an apple-sized goiter, he happily went up against the wall as kid #302, got his beautiful, misshapen face photographed, and it was mercifully over. We rammed him into the stroller, beat our way through the crowds, into the car, and sped home.

Hey LLB people, our lines are open.  

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