January 8, 2009


Not a lawn lover, me, but at some point, Sam shrugged off babyhood and became a rambunctious toddler, and our teeny starterhouse could not contain him. He wanted to expand his demesnes to OUTSIDE, and I had to go with him because he was at that age where one’s wonder at the discovery of new things causes one to give white dog poops an experimental lick, and when stomping headlong into the creek and either getting filthy or drowning seem like EQUALLY FINE ideas.

SO my dad came over from Alabama and he and Scott built a fine wooden play fort with attached swings, and I took Sam out to explore The WonderLawn daily, and all was good.

Sam’s first word was KITTY, by the way. Not Mama, Not Daddy (Daddy was Maisy’s) (Mama was the first word of my hypothetical THIRD child, the PERFECT one who is already at Stanford and he hasn't even been BORN yet. Nor will he be.) Sam’s was KITTY. Our kitty at the time was AWFUL WALLEY who was literally the worst cat to ever poo up this otherwise perfectly good planet. He made BOGGART look like a RANK amateur. Walley had a heart condition, so not only was he grumpy, hyper-sensitive, malfeasant, dishonest, vindictive and inconvenient, he was ALSO EXPENSIVE. And he hated babies. ALL babies, on general principle, but he loathed Sam in particular.

Sam. Loved. Him. Sam said Kitty every time Awful Walley came into the room. He said Kitty over and over again relentlessly, as long as he could see the cat. Awful Walley understood enough English KNOW he was the kitty being referred to, and he would widen his eyes in loathing and alarm as Sam chanted KITTYKITTYKITTY at him, and flee the scene lest the BABY touch him with his STICKY CLUTCHY BABY HANDS. Sam said KITTY in a delighted way when Walley appeared, called KITTYKITTYKITTY in coaxing hope as Walley slunk past, and then mournfully hooted kitty down the hall as Walley’s star shaped behind twinkled out of view. Kitty was his only word for WEEKS, and we got very tired of it. Not as tired as Walley, maybe, but pretty TIRED.

By the time we were doing Lawnsploration, though, Sam had a good 25 word working vocab, and his favorite word was, “Whazzat?”

Him: Whazzat?
Me: A plant.
Him: Whazzat?
Me: ANOTHER plant. Stinking things are everywhere, Sammy.
Him: Whazzat?
Me: Oh! That’s a---Hey! WAIT! GENTLE HANDS ON THE---! Okay, oops. Never mind. That’s half a worm.
Him: Whazzat?
Me: A rock.
Me; Yes, That is Kitty. HI KITTY.
Walley: *silently* I hate you.
Him: Whazzat?
Me: Well that’s…That is a lawn fork.

Lawn Fork was buried in leafy detritus under a bush. He had been there QUITE some time. Sam played with Lawn Fork with exclusive vehemence that day, and the Lawn Fork was toted into the house. At some point his popularity as a cat-stabber and dirt digger waned, and he got mixed in with the non LAWN forks and went to live among his near distant relations in the every day silverware drawer. Here is a picture --- a sample of our REAL forks is to the left. Lawn Fork is on the right.


Sam is now almost 12, and we still have Lawn Fork. Over the last few months, my children have become VERY competitive about WHO gets to eat with Lawn Fork. SO competitive that I have threatened to make a refrigerator chart or to send everyone to bed hungry or to make Lawn Fork my own personal PERMA FORK if they do not STOP FIGHTING OVER HIM.

After one particularly intense battle, I said to Scott, “GREAT GOOGLE MCMOOGLE I am being driven MAD. WHY are THESE WEIRD LITTLE CHILDREN you FOSTERED upon my HELPLESS BODY so obsessed with Lawn Fork.”
He looked at me like I was CRAZY and said, “Gee. I don’t know. Why do you THINK, honey?”

All at once, like a series of slides, I saw a mental Lawn Fork retrospective. I saw ME lofting him up and dancing across the kitchen while saying, “IMMA EAT MY MEATLOAF WITH LAWN FORK!” or leaping up from the breakfast table that Scott had set and saying, “I GOT LAWN FORK! I GOT LAWNFORK! IT’S LIKE WINNING FORK LOTTO!” I even CLEARLY remembered taking a big bite of pasta and then saying, with an overfull mouth, “Everything tastes better ON LAWN FORK!” Lawn Fork is the only fork with a Gender and a capitalized moniker and a personal history. If Lawn Fork is the shiz, I have made him so.

I did this.
And you know the thing that REALLY Bugs me? For true? (This is SO SAD I hate to confess it) The REAL reason that I hate how much the kids like Lawn Fork now and how they take meticulous, charted turns eating with him?

I hardly EVER get Lawn Fork anymore. *sigh*

Posted by joshilyn at January 8, 2009 7:18 AM

Let me introduce you to my friend Joshilyn ... author and monster-maker! lol

Posted by: Mit at January 8, 2009 7:57 AM

Oh sweet pickled petunias, Batman! What have you done?!

Posted by: Heather at January 8, 2009 10:12 AM

Heh. You are FrankenJoshilyn.

Posted by: Aimee at January 8, 2009 10:41 AM

Look! What's that up ahead? Why, it's the border between brilliance and lunacy!

Posted by: Jan in Norman, OK at January 8, 2009 11:05 AM

LOL But your regular forks are quite nice, Joss. I gotta say, as special as Lawn Fork's uniqueness makes him, I wouldn't eat with a fork from the lawn, no matter how many times he's been dishwashed. ;)

Posted by: Jess at January 8, 2009 11:10 AM

I do believe that, generally Lawn Fork envy is not a bad thing.

Posted by: KlintD at January 8, 2009 11:51 AM

Oh, those twinkling, star-shaped cat butts!

Heh, Jess, it's funny that I feel like a dishwashed fork that had a former life in the dirt is cleaner than one that's been in countless MOUTHS (sometimes not even your own family's)! Then again, I have always been a misanthropist.

Posted by: Brigitte at January 8, 2009 12:41 PM

Well, you may hate plants, but *I* am the smaller-souled person, because I hate meticulous, charted turns for ANYTHING. There is so much fussing about who gets to help Mom up off the floor after bedtime prayers (a process that, to be fair, only gets funnier as I expand with baby), who gets to open my car door, who gets to play on the computer first...and I KNOW that the best way to deal with such things is a SYSTEM, but I hate hate hate them. Systems, not the boys. "JUST COOPERATE!" I shriek, which is sort of like saying to a turtle, "JUST FLY!"
Btw, I'm convinced that part of your distaste for plants is because they are infested with bugs that aren't properly frozen dead once a year, as we wisely do with our bugs around here. Proper freezing dead of the bugs is key, because I never run across anything crawly that is more than six months old or so, whereas you can't be sure that the hideous water bug under your shoe isn't the same one that's been haunting your family with its scaly ways for generations.
Your bugs freak me out.

Posted by: Kira at January 8, 2009 12:52 PM

Well, if Lawn Knife ever shows up (having a pattern of dots around its handle) it may be ours. One knife disappeared the first month that we lived in this house (14.5 years ago) and has never been seen since. I do believe it was taken outside to play and thus was liberated. Now, when we have visitors, we have to break out the silver so everyone gets a knife. (It's only fair to arm everyone at the table equally.)

Posted by: Lulu at January 8, 2009 1:28 PM

I know how you feel Joss. At our house, the fight is over Flower Plate. Flower Plate has been in the family since it took up residence at my grandma's lake cabin many many years ago. When she died, I inherited Flower Plate. Either because she liked me best or because none of my cousins developed an unnatural attachment to Flower Plate like me. I'll always believe the former.

Posted by: Tammy at January 8, 2009 1:31 PM

In our house, it's Mom's Soup Spoon. It's round instead of oblong and made of real silver and everyone knows I get first dibs but tries for it anyway. It hasn't, as far as I know, ever lived in a lawn. It used to live at my Grandmother's house. At least, in my mind it did. If I think about it, which I won't, that might just be a childhood made up memory.
I do have a set of Lawn Keys, all shiny new (and the Obama countdown keychain broken from a month of cold and snow, so now I have NO IDEA when he'll become president!) and recently returned from an extended winter vacation in the lawn where I dropped them in white so deep and soft that they disappeared without a dent or a whisper. William found them recently in a melted puddle of mud, looking slightly hungover and happy to be back in my purse.

Posted by: Laume at January 8, 2009 3:58 PM

What's creepier than LawnFork?

Phantom Fork -- that utensil that shows up one day in the silverware drainer, and You Don't Know Where It Came From.

Posted by: firefly at January 8, 2009 6:42 PM

I understand completely, Joshilyn (your feelings about never getting Lawn Fork anymore. My Lawn Fork was Grandmama's knife (table, not sharp) that had a small round nick out of the blade. We counted it the lucky knife and if we ever got it while eating watermelon (outside, of course), we were stoked. Of course, Grandmama wanted it too, and she often got dibs. Now, it's in a drawer at Grandmama's house, used when family gathers. I've often considered relocating it to my home, but I haven't had the nerve yet.

Posted by: Deborah P at January 9, 2009 6:43 AM

It's the allure of the oddball. There's only one lawn fork, so therefore it is special. Even if it's not as pretty as your regular silverware, it's still splendiferous because it's unique. Well, in the universe of your flatware drawer, at least.

Posted by: Caryn Caldwell at January 9, 2009 1:43 PM


Remember in the way back past when you received a lone fork glued to an offer in the mail? That's how Bamboo Fork came to live in our household over twenty something years ago. Our two girls fight over the fork - my husband and I have fanned the flames by saying "Nah, Nah, I have the Bamboo Fork!!!"

Until...my eleven year old started always, always, always, LICKING the fork. She LICKS every last inch of it when she sets to table, when she takes it out of the dishwasher she LICKS it.

The competition for the BAMBOO FORK as ceased...she can have the fork...

Posted by: Nelson's Mama at January 9, 2009 1:55 PM

We have our own little mysterious lawn fork here too. It is a lovely little fork with a Corelle pattern of pansies on it. Very cheerful and pretty.

Posted by: Trace at January 9, 2009 8:05 PM

We have the opposite cat from Wally. Biggest B*tch of a cat EVER. Hates her SISTER, her LITTERMATE. We have real cat fights on a regular basis. They are 12 years old and I got them when they were 6 weeks. They will always hate each other. She also hate all people BUT me. She has lived with my husband for almost 7 years now, still hates him.

BUT SHE LOVES BABIES. Until they are walking, she loves them. She sits perfectly still and lets the 9 month old rip out her fur with no complaint. If the 3 year old so much as looks at her, she hisses and swats. It makes no sense.

Posted by: Lisa at January 11, 2009 11:23 PM