Every time my family goes to visit Grandpa, he pinches his fingers at me and says, “Come here and let me tweak your nose.”
I say no, and I hide behind Grandma.
Dad laughs, and Mama gives Grandpa a hug.
When Grandpa’s not looking, I sneak up and tweak his nose.
Then he says, “Grandma and your mama are fixing a delicious supper, and you can’t have any.”
“Yes, I can,” I tell him.
“No, you can’t. Everybody’s working for their supper today. Your mama’s cooking and your dad’s wiring the new ceiling fan. You’re the only one who doesn’t know how to work,”
“I know how to work,” I tell Grandpa. “I help Dad in the garden.”
Grandpa says, “You’ll have to show me.”
We pick up a little basket from the garden shed.
In the garden, Grandpa ruffles the straight row of radish leaves. “These strawberries look big enough to eat,” he says.
“Those are radishes,” I tell him. And I pull one to show him.
“No. They’re strawberries,” he says. He wipes the radish clean, snaps off the root, and takes a bite. “Oh, it’s sweet. Have one.”
I laugh and say, “I don’t like radishes.”
Grandpa laughs too. He always tells me radishes are strawberries.
While I pick radishes, Grandpa pulls green onions.
When the basket is half full, he says, “Take these to Grandma. We’ll have radish sandwiches for supper.”
I run to Grandma with the basket. I tell her, “Grandpa says we’re having radish sandwiches for supper.” I try not to make an awful face, but I can’t help it.
Grandma and Mama laugh. Mama says, “He told me the same thing when I was little.”
“Honey,” Grandma says to me, “we’re having chicken.”
I feel much better about supper. Grandpa tells me, “Chicken takes a long time to cook. I think I’ll go to the park and swing.”
“You don’t swing,” I say. “I do.”
When we get to the park, Grandpa asks, “Are you ready to watch me swing?”
“You can’t swing,” I say. “You have to push me.”
“Push you? I’d rather sit on a park bench.”
“OK,” I say. “Sit on a bench. I’ll push myself.”
Grandpa sits and watches as I stretch toward the sky, going higher and higher. “Who taught you that?” he asks when we’re walking to the car.
“Mama taught me.”
“How could your mama teach you that?” Grandpa asks. “She doesn’t know how.”
“Yes, she does,” I tell him. “She said you taught her.”
“I bet she won’t teach you to play baseball.”
“She’s already teaching me.”
“When your mama was in grade school, she played baseball in this park.”
“That must have been a long time ago,” I say.
Grandpa’s quiet on the way home. When he stops the car, I ask, “Are you very old, Grandpa?”
“Sometimes,” he says, “but not when I’m with you.” He reaches across the car to me. “Come here and let me tweak your nose.”
I jump out of the car and run to the house. Grandpa follows me with his arm stretched out and his fingers pinching.
When we get to the back door, I let him catch me and tweak my nose. Then I run in the house, holding my nose and hollering, “Grandpa tweaked my nose!”
And everybody laughs.