“Hurry up, now, we don’t want to be late for the Blue and Gold Banquet!” I was really talking to myself since getting everyone spruced up and out the door usually fell to me. Being a first class Den Mother of my son’s Cub pack, I insisted we all be present and ready on time. The family Scout was fixing his scarf, excited to be going to this very important event. Little brother, too young at 5 to have such a neat uniform, had to settle with wearing what Mother thought was important: his best Sunday clothes. Grey slacks and red blazer topped a freshly pressed white shirt and looked especially fine with his polished black oxfords.
It was time to leave. Husband made sure to get home early from his commute to the city and was now standing, jiggling the car keys in readiness. “Everybody all set?” “Mark, have you been to the bath room? You need to go. Hurry now!”
We waited. Impatiently. Then we heard him coming. Step, squish. Step, squish. Stomp, squish. Young Mark appeared with one leg of his slacks wet to the knee and water oozing from his one shoe. “WHAT HAPPENED? For heavens sake, what did you do? You can’t go like that!” “He’ll have to change,” said Father. “He only has one good outfit and his other shoes are a disaster,” my voice was rising out of the well modulated range.
Mark shrank under the accusing gaze of three big people towering over him. “Explain yourself, young man!” “Umm, well, I stepped into the toilet.”
WHAT? All of us were trying to picture how tending to his business could have risk attached to it. “You stepped into the toilet??!” “How on earth did you do that?”
With chin beginning to quaver, he answered “I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
That’s when I had to leave the room.
Fast forward now, calendar pages falling like leaves. The scene shifts to a kitchen four states away. Father of the household is engrossed in the morning newspaper while his wife is tending to the stove. Domestic quiet prevails. “Matthew! It’s time for breakfast. Come!” the mother calls out as she put things on the table. Suddenly Step, Squish, step, squish, step, squish is heard coming down the hall. The boy in question appears, pant leg wet to the knee, with water oozing from one shoe.
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? You are all wet. What in the world happened?” His mother’s voice rises with that tone of aggravation familiar to most mothers. She drew in a breath ready for the next explosion. “Umm, I stepped in the toilet.” he replied.
“You did WHAT?”
“I wasn’t looking where I was going,” he stood hanging his head, waiting for the next angry outburst of parental wrath.
Just then, Mark dropped the paper and jumped to his feet. “That will do,” he admonished the boy’s mother, “that will do. There is nothing wrong with the boy, absolutely nothing wrong.”