Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My Old Kentucky Home

Playing Apples-to-Apples Junior at The Creme Coffeehouse
Owensboro, KY

My wife and I flew home last night from a three-week vacation to Owensboro, Kentucky; the town where I grew up. My brother and his wife took a trip to Europe and we went back to spend time with his youngest kids, Carter and Laynie. I have nearly a dozen nieces and nephews (including three step, plus four great nieces and nephews) and I'm as gushing an uncle as I am a father. Every one of those "kids" makes the world a better place.

It's particularly fun seeing aspects of myself reflected in them--Maggie's love of games (and chocolate), Clint's dry sense of humor, Jesse's passion for fantasy, Jennifer's traveling, Sara's love of books, Josh's career as an EMT and firefighter, Laynie's bourgeoning fascination with the fantastic and bizarre (her favorite movies are Rise of the Guardians and Nightmare Before Christmas)--but of all my siblings' kids, spending time with Carter is like traveling back in time to hang out with myself.

I've heard Josh and I look a little alike. I don't see it.
A few days before we left, Carter and I were watching a documentary on Nikola Tesla (yeah, it's like that). He joked about being the next Einstein/Tesla, which made me realize I'd never asked him the annoying-adult-question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" After a few minutes of rephrasing I came up with: "What things in your life excite you?" I was hoping it would inspire a conversation about things he could do for a living. Instead, he turned to me with a furrowed brow. "Huh. I never really thought about that before." Then, after a few seconds he said, "Seeing you." Then he hugged me.

I was so caught off guard that I deflected the compliment with a smile and a "You're just trying to get a pack of Yu-Gi-Oh cards out of me, aren't you?"

He looked up from the hug with disappointment and said, "I'd never do that." And I knew he wouldn't. I apologized, hugged him again and told him how much that meant to me.

It was a good trip.

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