Friday, September 10, 2004

Hattie Wants Ice Cream

   When the young'uns were wee, the friends with kids in our circle would get together often and engage in wholesome family fun. One occasion found us in Prescott, Wisconsin (no, this is not another Wisconsin post!) at the public beach on the beautiful St. Croix river. Everybody was having fun, just chillin' and swimmin'. Little Hattie, one of the Peterson Twins, had a need, and being an expert judge of human character (at age seven) scanned the crowd and picked her mark. Me. I had been lazing, almost sleeping, with a straw hat over my face. She came up, plopped down on my towel and gave me a look. She was lying with her elbows down, her head propped up in her hands, and with her eyes staring right at me.

   "I want sum ice cream" - she blurted.

   "Uh, what does you mom say?" - I drawled.

   "Go get me some ice cream" - she would not be sidetracked.

   "What about the other kids?" - I was wary.

   "Get sum ice cream for everybody" - she continued her staring.  "Well, where is it?" - I couldn't shake her.

   "Go to the Dairy Queen. Go get some ice cream" - she knew she had me in her thrall.

   I was quiet for a bit, playing it cool.

   "Go get some ice cream, Now!"

   Is there anything quite like a seven year old girl? Not a little kid any more, not yet beset with the problems of adolescence, a creature with a sense of herself, without self-consciousness. Sure, I got Hattie her ice cream, and some for all the other kids too. Hattie is grown-up now, a beautiful, poised young woman. I think that she still has the look. But it may never be used in such a simple, pure way again.

By Professor Batty



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