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‘Where You House?’
Innocence and Dissidence Meet in a Child’s Eyes
The cute one looked up at me demurely as I laced on my boots and said, “How you goin’ Jim?”
“Walkin’ in these boots.’
“Dems good big boots.”
“They are still squeaking from walking in a meadow creek in Utah.”
“Wit bears?”
“Big two-legged bear named Bob.”
She then paused and thought and turned her green and pink slime between her hands, saying, “Then Mister Green-Pink snake says see you later alligator!”
As I put my coat on she looked up and said, “Jim, you goin’ to you house?”
“I don’t have a house, Emma. I have this backpack. This is my house.”
She then began to cry and I said, “I have lots of other people’s houses to stay at.”
She wiped away a tear, “You sleep in da woods?”
“Only about once a year and Bob ‘ill be there to protect me from four-legged bears.”
“Where you stay den!?” as she sobbed and twisted the now uncomfortably contorted snake.
“Tonight I go with Mister David, the doctor.”
Her MumMum interjected, “Let’s skip whatever ho’s house you’re staying in tonight.”
“Then I go stay with Erique, the big brown man.”
“I remember him—he a bear too, right?”
“That’s right. Then I go visit Sean and his four little children.”
“Oh? Den where?”
“Then Mister Grey and I drive to visit the Man from Uncle who sent you the big box of supper balls.”
“Oh, I like that one.”
“Then I will go visit my mommy in the big house.”
“You mean with the crazy big dog?!”
“Yes, that dog.”
“Okay…” a grin spreads across her face and she says, “Can Emma come?”
Her MumMum answered for me, “As soon as we hit the Lotto we’re getting’ out of this hole, Darlin, don’t you worry.”
Emma then waited for David to pull up in his truck, having me hold my walking stick out alternately “high” for her to use for push-ups and “monkey climbs” and “no low” so she could “limbo,” singing a song she made up as she danced and climbed, a song about a dancing girl who could climb every tree in the woods…
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