Like my ancestors, I have survived the Atlantic crossing. Here I am in Canada, visiting my family and yet typing away. (I now have access to youtube, so I will finally be able to see the cool videos readers keep sending me.)
It is March Break, so who was waiting for me at the airport with my parents but my famous nephew Pirate. To my surprise, he was wearing a suit and tie. Apparently, this was his idea, and it suddenly occurs to me that he may have been influenced by the Young Fogeys of my parish. (Just say "No" to pipe tobacco, Pirate!)
"I wrote a book!" said Pirate.
"Excellent!" I said. "How many pages is it?"
"Two or three," said Pirate.
"Is it fiction or non-fiction?"
"It's autobiographical," said his grandmother.
It occurred to me that the autobiography of a seven year old could potentially be extremely cool. ("It was when I was three that I became conscious of the very great importance of my beloved aunt in my creative, intellectual and spiritual life. Although not then a Christian," etc.) Actually, the autobiography of Pirate would be particularly cool, as he has spent about a third of his life in Latin America.
"I didn't put it in," said Pirate, when I mentioned this. "But I put in Scotland."
"You can save Latin America for the next volume," I said.
"I think if I write very well, I could be elected Class President," said Pirate.
This seemed like a non-sequitur, but suddenly I recall an American junior senator who kind of sort of thought the same thing.
"In politics, it is more important that you get along with everyone," I said, ever happy to bestow advice. "Of course writing is very very important, but to be elected Class President I suggest you hand out sweeties and then promise more after you are in office."
"You can give out buttons, too," enthused Pirate, and explained the button-making machine. He seemed to think the buttons more important than the sweeties, proving that he is still young and idealistic.
When we got back to Grandma and Grandpa's House, I thought I would see Pirate's memoirs, but instead he suggested that we go to the park. In my extreme jet lag, I agreed to go to the park. So we went to the park with a baseball bat, a baseball glove and a nerf ball. (Pirate changed out of his jacket and tie, first.)
After a session of two-person baseball, we sat on the swings. I don't really like those swings, for I so often sat on them on my youth, dreaming too many dreamy little dreamy dreams that died. But--I pointed out to myself--actually some of my little dreamy dreams have become reality, and I cheered up.
We swung. Pirate asked me a complex question about adult social dynamics, and I explained that adult men hate being bored even more than little boys do, which was why they are more careful when they make friends.
Pirate agreed that it was more difficult for grown-ups, and that when you are a little boy, you can go up to anyone and say "Hi, my name is Pirate! Do you want to play?" But, he added, adult men can't do that because they scare people.
"The people are mostly scared they'll be bored," I said.
"I think a lot of adults are boring," said Pirate.
"Which adults are boring?" I asked.
"Priests," said my nephew-godson. "All priests are boring."
"Not Father [Edinburgh Parish]," I said. "He's not boring."
"No, not Father [Edinburgh Parish]," said Pirate, with an enthusiasm that would have touched that tradition-loving heart. "I wish we could go to your church."
"Er," I said, weighing Church Unity against the liturgical horrors of Pirate's parish church. "It's the same as your church actually. It's just in Edinburgh and, uh, has Latin."
"Auntie Q---? Oh!" laughed Pirate. "I almost called you Auntie Quinta. It's because you live in Scotland. When you're away, it's like you never existed!"
"But of course I existed," I said. "I have been your aunt since before you were born."
"Oh yeah. You took care of me?"
"Not before I was born!"
He giggled at the thought.
"Well, no," I said. "But as soon as I knew you were coming, I became your Auntie. So I was your Auntie even before you were born."
"Yeah," said Pirate.