Ever experience that magical event that occurs when you place a yard sale sign in front of your house? The sign seems to act like a homing beacon of sorts, emitting some kind of bargain hunter attractant and suddenly, ten cars appear out of nowhere. Pouring out of the vehicles emerge gangs of folks ready to give you next-to-nothing for everything you have on display.
Another similar “alarm” that goes off in our house is when I turn on the shower in the master bathroom on Sunday mornings as we get ready for church. For some reason the squeak of that knob turning in the shower causes children to begin congregating just outside of where I am trying to maintain some level of privacy (and decency!). The mirror in our bathroom seems to be the only place in the house that can be utilized for the brushing and combing of hair and doing all manner of preparations for departing the premises. As the water trickles down my backside thoughts begin going through my head such as, “Didn’t we build this house with multiple bathrooms for a reason?” Soon the completion of my brief bathing experience necessitates the herding of children away in order to protect their innocence as well as provide me the remainder of my privacy.
Shortly I emerge with partial clothing on and make my way to the sink to finish the job I’d started of making myself presentable to the outside world. Word gets out that Daddy is out of the shower and the gathering of souls resumes as some of the little people make their way back to the family reunion. I then begin the wonderful process of shaving, a ritual that I strongly dislike. I smear on some shaving cream and get down to business. As I hurriedly remove whiskers as fast as possible so as not to be late for church, Olivia curiously observes as usual. Watching intently, she said, “Daddy, when you do that it makes you smell like Daddy.” That seemed to make perfect sense to me.
Gathering socks and shoes to complete my wardrobe I had to say excuse me to the crowd a time or two more prior to departing the preparation room. With my smooth face and completed outfit intact I began assisting my lovely wife in going down the checklist regarding those gathered around to make sure that all hairs were in place and loins properly girded. As the official time checker I began the routine of notifying everyone regarding how many minutes remained until departure. Soon we all made our way down the stairs and loaded up the van, ready to be happily on our way down the road.
On that particular Sunday, as we were scurrying along on our way to church I made my way down our usual route. Taking a left turn off of the main highway onto the small county road that we travel down, Holly blurted out, “Daddy, did you see that buffalo squashed on the side of the road?” That brought a moment of concern to my mind as to whether I was going blind and missed a giant beast on the side of the road, or whether Holly knew what she was talking about, so I replied back to her with my usual, “Huh?”
Holly then replied, “Yeah, there was a buffalo on the side of the road squashed, you know, one of those things that has the shell on it.”
The lights came on for me as I connected the dots and pictured Holly’s buffalo in my mind, the usual armadillo that is seen frequently, feet upward, as we travel about in the summer along the rural roads of Arkansas. I said, “Oh, you mean an armadillo?” to which she replied, “Yeah, that’s it!” Laughter ensued.
Armadillo, buffalo, what’s the difference? It’s easy to get lost in the translation.
Written by David Steen, with God smiling, summer of 2013.