Working at the lexicon

Little Miss has gotten wise.

“Hon, would you please take three and a half big bites of your quesadilla and eat one more piece of your turkey “sausage” before you go play with Ashley and Madison in the pavilion?”

“The sausage is too spicy.”

“If your mouth catches fire, I will get a fire hose and heroically extinguish the conflagration.”

“The confla-whaaa?”

“Conflagration. It means an out-of-control and thoroughly dramatic collaboration of flames.”

A petite head tilts, accompanied by the semiotics of “huh?” It is a similar display to when Little Miss’s new friend pointed to Gentleman Caller and asked, innocently, if that was Daddy, if was I her grandfather, but I am nothing if not a master of restraint.

“Big fire, sweetpea.”


“You need to eat that so you’ll have energy to play. Also, if you leave food behind, a bear may wander into the camp and eat the rest of your breakfast.”

A small eyebrow lifted gently in a way that made me happy for all mankind.

“I know you’re the actual bear, Joebie.”

“Do you, now?”

“Yes. Joebie?”


“How do I eat three and a half bites? What’s a half bite?”

“An interrupted bite. Like you started and then were distracted by a sudden insight into Wittgenstein.”

The tilt returns, then levels out.

“I like when you make jokes, Joebie.”

“I’m absolutely one hundred and eleven percent serious at all time, sweetpea.”

Eyes roll. It’s a new skill, but she shows promise. Middle school is going to be terrifying.

“Umm, Joebie?”


“Did a bear wander into camp and eat the rest of my cotton candy?”

“I’m afraid so. We’re all lucky to have survived!”


“I think I see Ashley and Madison getting on their scooters, sugarhoof. Perhaps you should join their entourage.”

“Entour-whaaa?” she starts to say, but takes off instead to join a scooter gang.

Every day is renewed, and renewing.

©2017 Joe Belknap Wall