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Cheryl Hughes: Who's to blame?

When our kids were young, Garey was forever blaming them for his missing green comb. 

                “Cheryl, I can’t find my green comb!” Garey would yell from the bathroom.  I would hear him rummaging through the drawer where it lived.  “I bet the kids took it,” he would mutter under his breath, as he continued to search.

                I knew where I would find the green comb before I went into the bathroom to look.  I knew also the kids hadn’t taken it.

                “Garey, move out of the way,” I would say as I reached into the drawer and ran my hand down the far left panel.  Sure enough, the green comb would be standing flat against that side.  It was one of those combs that refused to lie flat, in plain sight.  It always pressed itself up against the left, side panel of the drawer, as if it were planning an escape.

                “Here it is,” I would say, “And the girls are too persnickety to use one another’s combs.  They wouldn’t use the green comb if it were the last comb on earth.”

                The explanation would appease him until the next time he misplaced the green comb.

                If the kids weren’t catching blame for missing things, the dog would be in the hot seat, especially when our dog, Scout, was still living.

                “I can’t find my red-handled pliers,” Garey would say, “The last time I had them was when I was working on the lawn mower.  Scout probably carried them off.”

                “They’re probably right where you left them, and you mowed over them, and now they’re buried in the dirt,” I thought, but didn’t say.  (Once in a while, I try to remember the wisdom of picking your battles.)

                One year after deer season, Garey couldn’t find his camouflage hunting boots.  He tore his shop and our house apart looking for them.  “Scout probably carried them off,” Garey said.

                “Garey, Scout did not carry off those boots!” I said.

                “Then where are they?” Garey asked.

                “I have no idea,” I said, “But you can rest assured Scout didn’t do it.  Even if he took one boot, you’d find pieces of it all over the yard, because the only reason he’d want it would be for a chew toy.”

                The following spring, Garey found the boots, right where he had left them, turned upside down on a stack of wood behind his shop.  He placed them there after his hunt, because they were wet from wading through water.

                After the boot incident, I teased Garey mercilessly any time he misplaced an item.

                “I just dipped that bowl of ice cream, now what did I do with it?” Garey would mutter to himself in the kitchen.

                “Scout ate it!” I would yell from the living room.

                “Cheryl, have you seen my hat?” Garey would ask.

                “Yeah, I saw Scout wearing it,” I would answer.

                “I just had those socks, now where did they go?” Garey would ask himself.

                I would stick my head around the corner of the door and say, “Scout’s feet were cold.”

                And on and on it would go and continues to this day.

                Last week, I was helping my granddaughter, Sabria, with a science project for school.  They are in a unit where they are studying inventions humans have made by copying things in nature. Last week was the airplane and how its features mimic birds.  The assignment was to make 4 paper airplanes.  The first plane had to incorporate wooden skewers, the second used straws in the structure, the third had to add a tail fin, and the fourth plane could be one of the student’s own design.

                After the students completed their projects, they had to film themselves demonstrating each plane and what they had learned.  They posted their videos on the homework site.  The students were able to view one another’s findings.

                Most of the videos went the way you’d expect.  The findings were pretty much the same—some dive-bombed, some flew upside down, the added tail fin got the best result.  One little boy demonstrated his first two planes then gazed very seriously into the camera, and said, “I made one with a tail fin, but my dog ate it.”

                You know what?  In these times of uncertainty, it’s almost a comfort to know that kids are still blaming dogs for eating their homework.


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