But first we had to drive up into the mountains for two and a half hours. To a six year old two hours is like ALL DAY.
Instead of falling asleep, he decided to watch everything and ask questions. The main one was, "Are we there yet?" I'm sure you've heard that one before??
He said he couldn't sleep because the sun was in his eyes. We were driving east and the sun was, indeed, in our eyes.When we turned north to drive over the San Joaquin River, again, I thought he might take a nap. He got really quiet. When I looked back to see if he was asleep, he said, "Noni, why do you and Papa live so far away? How long before we get there?" I told him that we had another hour and a half to go. I told him that we use to live in the town we had just passed through and that was where his dad grew up. His next question was, " Did you have kids when you lived in that town?" I realized that I was going to have to be very clear from now on... that a six year old only processes NOW and that it's very hard to understand a timeline of Daddy being a baby, then a child, then a Daddy. This is not an easy concept.
So I tried again.
"Well Bean, Daddy use to be your age and then he grew up. You will too." Before I could add any pertinent information to back up my statement, he said, "What are those tall white things over there?"
Thinking I had dodged a bullet (sorry!) with the human development issue, I responded quickly, "Oh, those are windmills. They make energy from the wind."
"But they don't go very fast.". He was really watching them and then he added, " How do they go faster?'
"They need more wind. The wind makes them go faster."
He looked at me and said, "Oh." and there was a moment of silence. Only a moment. Then he saw the sheep.
"Look Noni. What is that?" A huge flock of sheep were lying out in a field enjoying the sun.
"Those are sheep." I said.
"Oh." he said. "Some are little."
"Yes, Bean, the little ones are called lambs."
"That's nice. I would like to touch them."
"Well Bean, the guardian dogs probably wouldn't let us touch the babies."
"What dogs?" He hadn't seen the big white Maremma's that were lying around with the sheep.They really blend in.
"The dogs that watch over all the sheep out there. They live with the sheep."
"The dogs LIVE with the sheep?"
"Yes!" I said, "They are trained to take care of the sheep."
"Even in the rain."
"Yep, even in the rain."
We came to the Rio Vista Bridge and turned east again.
Bean spotted a hawk on a telephone line.
"Look at that bird."
It was about then that I realized that my grandsons attention span was saving me from serious discussions on any one subject and that all answers could be in very general terms. It also made me realize how new his view of life was and how he still had such a sense of wonder about everything. He was discovering life.
What happens when we grow up? Where does that wonder go?
We stopped at a Farmer's Market to use the bathroom and we saw a goat and some chickens.
We drove to a gas station and filled up. Bean noticed that there were two red trucks and a red sports car in the gas station. He said that he wanted a red sports car like that one. I said that it was beautiful and someday he could probably buy one. He said "Yes, I will."
Then he wanted to know how long it would be before we got to see Papa.
I said, "About an hour."
"Why does it take so long?" Bean was getting restless.
I said, "It just does."
"We-ll Noni," ( this "well" had two syllables and an accent on the "we".), he said, " I think that you live too far away. I am tired of driving."
I'm sorry Bean, but we are more that half way there now. We will be there before you know it."
LOOK, Noni, I see COWS!"
Bless the milk cow farms in East Lodi. They don't know how much time they consumed and how they made the last leg of a trip across the Central Valley of California a whole lot faster.
"I love cows, Noni."
"Do you Bean?"
"Yes." he smiled, "They are my favorites."
Bean doesn't think that they need extra hay. He thinks they should eat the grass that is in the field.
Bean doesn't like the smell. ( I admit. It was pretty bad.)
Bean says that cows are really big and they lay down in the "muddy-poopy"mess and that is why they smell so bad.
I joked about which ones were the "chocolate" ones that gave chocolate milk.
He wasn't sure about that, but... could he have marshmallow's in his chocolate milk when we got to the house... and did we have the little marshmallows for his MARSHMALLOW GUN that he brought with him.
I told him we did.
We finally got into town, picked up the mail and headed down our road and home to PAPA and the dogs. They were all waiting for us.
The Bean rested, ate dinner, played with the dogs, watched a cartoon movie, played outside and made me a special puzzle picture at his brother's favorite desk in the extra room.
Little Bean was here for a few days, suit case, Bug Vacuum, Marshmallow Gun and all.
Tomorrow we will climb the rock wall, build a playground, throw rocks ( Yes, you can do that here. We have acres of rock throwing space.) and go buy a pair of boots at Wall Mart. He needs an extra pair for the hike with Noni and Papa.
Sweet dreams little guy. See you in the morning.