The youngest of my four little brothers is in his mid-twenties and moved to McCook this past summer. He is single and has never had kids of his own, but being the youngest of six siblings has made him a very patient young man.
He is great with kids in general and it has been both wonderful and entertaining seeing Declan and Uncle Casey bond over the last several months.
Declan had a playground incident some time back that involved him and another boy smearing some dog poop onto a wall at the school. I was really taken back by the situation because on numerous occasions Declan has voiced to me his disgust for dog remains. It is actually to the point that he stopped begging me to get a puppy, once I explained to him he would have to clean up after it each day.
For the most part he was reduced to a once-a-month sigh, followed by "I wish we could get a puppy that you would pick the dog poop up for."
Considering how stubborn he usually is and how effective the requirement had been in nullifying his requests for a dog, I actually told him at one point, "You know you would wear gloves and use a shovel if you cleaned up after a puppy. You wouldn't have to actually touch anything." To which he simply curled his face in disgust and said "No way, I am not picking any of that up."
You can understand my surprise when I was informed of the playground incident. When I asked Declan why they were smearing stuff on the wall, he squirmed uncomfortably and refused to look up at me, as is common when he knows he has done wrong. He said he didn't know why he had done it and mumbled that his friend was doing it so he did too.
Something tells me that will not be the last time I hear him say that.
"But you hate dog poop Declan! You won't even agree to pick up after a puppy, why would you be smearing it on the school wall?" I asked confusedly.
Declan had no answer and put his arms out for a hug, his first response when he knows I am upset with him. "I don't want a hug, I want you to tell me what happened," I said, as Declan put his hands down and stared at the floor again.
A few moments passed and I planned to just let the uncomfortable silence do its work on Declan, when Casey decided he would break the speech embargo and try to lend a hand.
"If your friend jumped off a cliff would you?" asked Casey.
Declan responded with such speed and clarity that there was no denying the genuineness of it, "Yes. If I had a parachute I could catch him and carry him down."
Declan then stared intently at Casey, awaiting a response as if he knew there must be more to Casey's cliff conversation.
It was everything Casey and I could do to not crack up laughing at Declan's lightning fast response. I wanted so badly to look at Casey and say, "You rookie, you can't let the little man turn the table like that."
We were able to keep the chuckling to a minimum and did our best to get our point across to Declan about being accountable for ones actions. As much as our lecture seemed to us like wisdom pouring from our lips to his ears, I think the only thing that resonated with Declan was my promise to him, that any such similar behavior would result in him cleaning up after several of our neighbor's dogs.
For the complete version of the Weekend Menu page, including more great recipes and food talk, see the print edition of the McCook Daily Gazette or subscribe to the Electronic Edition at http://mccookdailygazette.ne.newsmemory....