The Heart Tickler


February 2001

My Stories

Mother of all Road Trips-1

Mother of all Road Trips-2

Mother of all Road Trips-3

Mother of all Road Trips-4

Containing Jim in Paris

Ranging the Yellowstone

Lisbon Portugal- Part 1

Lisbon and Sintra- Part 2

Evora Portugal- Part 3

Coimbra Portugal- Part 4

Porto Portugal- Part 5

At the Mammogram Office

Carmel Art Gallery

Venice- Part I

Veneto- Part II

Ravenna- Part III

Cinque Terre- Part IV

Vernazza Bonus- Part V


Crunch Time

Putting on the Ritz

Granada and Sevilla


Tuscany and Umbria - 1

Tuscany and Umbria - 2

Driving in England

Dwelling in England

A Dozens Reasons

In the Hamam

Istanbul Greece Diary

Pearl Harbor Team

Old Girl



Grandpa's Cabin

Pay-It-Forward Latte

England and France

N. Italy - 1

N. Italy - 2

N. Italy - 3

N. Italy - 4

Lessons from 4 Corners


Going to the Dogs

Don't Embarrass Me!

Letter from Siena

Arrivederci Roma

Joining the Matriarchs

Living History

Newlywed Game

Chaos Theory

Zach on the Road

Huckleberry Season

Stanley & the Sunbeam

I Dare Say


Middle School Relay

Grad Party


Moving On

Radio Shack

Newlywed Couches


Old Faithful Inn


Sweet Potato

Mother Bear

Two Blondes in Iberia

Revisiting Spain

Four Seasons Camping

Curly's Truck.

Disaster Restorations

Bobbie the Wonder Dog

Ducks and Beavers

Wearing Red

Photo Boxes

Las Vegas Soufflé

40th Birthday Party

The Heart Tickler

Wonderful Little Things

Heritage Tour

Erickson Era

Old Buildings


Split Seams

All Nighter

Talent Show

A Look Back

The best questions come at night. On the rare evening Daddy isn't around for his master- storytelling to Taylor, I substitute with a bedtime cuddle. It's pitch black. You never know what's coming. "So, how old are you, Mom?"

"Thirty-nine. But I'm gonna be forty this June. Pretty old, huh?' Pause.

"No, I think it's an HONOR!"

Oh, how this kid touches my heart. I no longer fear June, 'cause you know, it's an honor. That's my motto. Don't dare question it, either.

They're learning about hearts in Ms. Quast's fourth grade class this week. Without using any charts or diagrams, Ms. Quast carefully describes the various blood vessels vånich supply this crucial organ. Better yet, she tells of her own personal experiences as a potential heart patient. "l started feeling kinda funny," Taylor told me later. "All those blood veins and stuff- I felt a little sick."

"l guess you're not going to be a heart surgeon, huh, Taylor?" I asked.

"That's just Ms. Quast said!" Taylor answered. Ms. Quast must have noticed the curious shade of green on his face.

Taylor made a big heart card for me at church for Valentine's Day. OK, it was upside down, but to me, it vas perfect. Less preparation vent into his Valentine's Day box for school. I thought nothing of it when Taylor asked for a large bag to haul his Valentine's loot. I just pointed where to look. Taylor pulled a huge Meier and Frank department store bag from the overstuffed drawer.

In his defense, Taylor hasn't had a lot of time to think about things like Valentine's boxes. Being cast in South Salem High's play, "The Music Man," takes up a lot of his energies. Mine, too. For security reasons, I hang out at the practices with the young director, 60 teenagers and 10 grade schoolers. (Yesterday I smelled something buming. Tums out everyone else did, too. No one cared.)

Anyway, Taylor's play practice meant he missed the Valentine's party, Mhich was OK. Before he left, he got to see all the kids describe their special Valentine's Day boxes. He admired Michelle's castle, whose lid popped off when two cords Mere pulled. He appreciated DreWs grand piano-shaped box. Taylor got up and gave a monologue about how tough it was to yank that bag out of the kitchen drawer, how he'd somehow tom it up good on the way to school, and how he'd attempted a Scotch tape repair later in the day.

Taylor missed the class voting for best Valentine's Day box because of play practice, but heard the results. Michelle got first; Drew got second. Taylor was in the running for third place. Apparently, they liked his story, if not his bag. Taylor must have been thinking of all this last night vshen he said, 'You know, Mom, sometimes you can take sorta bad stuff and make it funny and OK."

"Yes," I said, thinking not of Valentine's Day bags, but of flying Dairy trucks.

Then he said, out of the blue, 'Thanks, Mom, for coming to all my play practices. I know that can't be easy for you." I felt a warm tingle inside; this is the good stuff of parenting.

After Taylor rides a roller coaster, he always says, "It makes my heart tickle." Taylor may never be a cardiac surgeon, but I don't know of anyone våno can tickle other people's hearts Mith such sweet and tender skill.