Another Saturday meant another morning at Salomón Klein, the orphanage by my house. Playing with 45 five-year-olds for about 3 hours isn’t exactly exactly what you might call tough work, but when noon comes, I’m always exhausted. Yesterday I was, among other things, a horse, a lion, a bird, an elephant, and a kangaroo for the various kids that found their way onto my back.
Playing with the kids brings back some fun memories from my childhood. On Saturday, I found that several kids were fascinated with my leg hair. During the cramped ride to the park, the kids sitting on me, next to me, and in front of me, keep touching my legs and pulling the hairs. I have fewer now. I’m sure the reason for their interest is they (a) don’t see many men and (b) I’m one of the seventeen people in this country that wears shorts when it’s hot. As the kids were investigating the best way to remove my hair, I remembered playing with my Uncle PJ as a child. At the time he had a full mustache and I, like the kids in the orphanage, made numerous attempts to remove it. I thought that, with the right technique, I could take it clean off.
Another time while we were in the park, a person in a giant fox costume arrived on a motorcycle with a local police officer. I think the idea was to teach kids that police officers can be your friends and don’t have to be scary. That, in fact, was the lesson that 42 of the 45 kids learned. The other three were absolutely horrified by the fox costume and cried for ten minutes. Chuck and I tried to comfort them. Every time the boy I was holding stopped crying, he would look over at the giant fox in the distant and burst into tears again. “You don’t have to look,” I explained to him, “if it scares you.” A moot point. But at the same time, I was reminded of Easter brunch one year with my family in Washington, D.C. When the giant Easter bunny approached my then baby brother Michael, he was horrified and burst into tears. Not being the smartest bunny in the litter, the bunny decided the best way to stop the crying was to jump around in front of Michael. When will we learn that giant animals are Bad News?
For now, I have six days to recover until next Saturday. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that will be enough time for my legs.