OUR youngest recently celebrated his birthday. He is now eight and with each passing year we realise the baby of the family really isn’t so little any more.
His birthday treat was to take a few friends to see Men in Black III. With industrial quantities of alien goo, chases, gags and some mild swear words, the film that critics have generally regarded as a cynical reboot for relegating Tommy Lee Jones to a cameo and putting Josh Brolin in the lead alongside Will Smith was, in the opinion of this test group, deemed probably, no definitely, the best film ever.
Never mind that the narrative arc from the first two Men in Black films doesn’t quite tally with storyline of the third of the franchise. Still, the Hollywood suits have been vindicated as the film has trousered more than $600 million and our group were beside themselves with excitement before, during and after the film.
We route-marched the now alien-destroying gang back from the cinema for some food – pizza and a home-made birthday cake, courtesy of his big sister. We then rigged up a crocodile-shaped piñata as the grand finale to the clebrations. In years gone by, this has kept a party of children amused for up to 20 minutes as they vainly attempt to destroy a glorified cardboard box to extract the sweets inside.
This tradition looks under threat as, under the not-so-gentle attention of several eight-year-old boys, it lasted barely five minutes. But all went home happy enough.
Top presents this year included a couple of Lego Super Heroes, a Super Mario ‘Game over’ T-shirt and any book by David Walliams – Gangsta Granny being the current favourite.
In among the pile of presents was a smallish parcel from his granny and grandpa. As he is very keen on tricks and a devotee of CBBC hit Help! My Supply Teacher is Magic, he was delighted to have already received from them Foulsham’s Simple Conjuring Tricks for Everyone via Amazon.
This extra parcel was of the brown paper and string variety, with a handwritten address label. Inside were two more books: Foulsham’s New Party Book and Foulsham’s New Fun Book.
Enclosed was a note:
I got these two books for my eighth birthday, almost exactly 75 years ago. Things were a bit different then. We lived about a mile out of the small town, so I only saw my friends at school, no sleepovers.
No brothers or sisters, no radio, no TV, no houses near us, no electricity in the house – oil lamps downstairs, candles in the bedroom, no reading in bed.
I did a lot of reading, though, and I enjoyed these books, even though I found them a bit strange. Some of the jokes were a bit corny all those years ago. Your present is coming via Amazon so Granny and I have not seen it. We hope it is OK.
Have a great time, love Grandpa.
Of course, as youth is wasted on the young, our son read the letter, glanced at the books with their musty covers and, after a few minutes, moved on to something shinier.
I quickly removed the specks of dust that were making my eyes water and put the dog-eared books carefully on his shelf, the note enclosed – handily placed so that he will rediscover it one day.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
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