A hundred in between

uncle_charles_104We spent the weekend admiring our grandson in Western Massaachusetts. He is obsessed with the moon and is lucky he can see the moon just about every night. But shiny bright round things are also included in the broad definition of what constitutes moon. he can hardly babble about anything else.

His English vocabulary is expanding fast and I can sometimes understand him, not quite as good as his parents but nearly recognizable. His Dutch vocabulary is following at a slower pace but his mom is helping to reinforce the new words. It is terminally cute when he says with a straight face that a plane overhead is a ‘vliegtuig’ and his cup with milky tea a ‘kopje thee.’

On Sunday we all piled in one car and drove the two and a half hours to Fairhaven on the South Shore to congratulate Axel’s uncle Charles (his mom’s youngest brother) with his birthday. Youngest brother sounds a bit funny for someone who has turned 104. He is the only survivor of that generation.

Faro’s entrance in the parlor of the old peoples’ home where Uncle Charles’ party was held was no less than spectacular and brought down the average age in the room by a few decades. Everyone’s face lit up. And Faro, being the sunny child he is, obliged.

There was live piano music of old tunes people could sing along with, there was cake and coffee and pie. And then there was Uncle Charles with a golden crown that had a piece of paper pasted onto it with the number 104. A local newspaper photographer snapped pictures of four generations and busily wrote down family relationships to understand who was who and get the captions right.

Tessa drove down from Dorchester, a mere 45 minutes away, and joined in the fun, with the extra benefit of having some time with her nephew. When we parted it was dark and rainy. The two and a half hour back was a little much for all of us but especially for young Faro who could only be distracted so much with songs and looking for the moon (too cloudy).

We spent another night in Easthampton and then I drove home to start cleaning my desk to allow for a stress-free recovery, while Axel and Sita had a business call in a nearby town. Axel bused in at the end of the day.

I picked him up at the Boston bus station for a dinner party at a colleague’s house in Cambridge to welcome colleagues from Kinshasa and Pretoria. It made for one very long but very productive day and a wonderful weekend.

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