By Patricia LaPointe
Graham was born on May 5, 1998. I spent most of his first months helping his Mom adjust to motherhood. Although I have so many memories of holding him, rocking and feeding him, there was one event that I really treasure. I was changing his diaper and singing the ABC song to him when he babbled “boogs”. This became his nickname then and remains so today. In respect for his age, however, I sometimes refer to him as “Mr. Boogs”.
As he grew, we spent many delightful times taking long, long, long walks. And thanks to Boogs and our walks, I dropped a bunch of weight.
Boogs’ favorite toys were his Thomas Trains. When he was nearly two years old, he’d ride in his stroller the two miles to the next town where there was a store that sold the Thomas Trains. As we entered the store, I’d tell Boogs that he could pick out two trains. He’d stand in front of the shelves picking up one train car and then another when he’d then see other cars or accessories that interested him. Before long he’d be holding four or five Thomas items in his little hands. I’d ask him which two he wanted. His response, those beautiful blue eyes, first looking at the items and then up at me, always had the same result. Of course, Grandma, or Gamma as I was called at that age, would walk up to the cashier carrying five Thomas items.
Boogs was a really smart kid and a devout follower of the PBS children shows. So, I wasn’t surprised whenever we were out for a walk and approached a corner with a stop sign, he’d instruct me to stop the stroller: “Stop, Gamma, stop.”
He was also a very observant child. Whenever we passed a house displaying an American flag, he’d jump up and down in the stroller and shriek: “Gamma! The fags are fapping!”
On these walks we always had our drinks: my coffee and his juice in a sippy cup. We’d take a break to sip our drinks and when we finished, he’d say “Re-fretching” His Papa and I still say it after taking sips of “refreshing” beverages.
There was one fast food restaurant that Boogs really liked. It had hot dogs, burgers and Italian food. Boggs’ order was always the same: “doodles” and “meballs.” Papa, or Bapa as he was called back then, would always order pasta, bread and olive oil/parmesan for dipping. On one occasion, Bapa put the oil/parmesan dip a bit too close to Boogs. Being a curious child, he reached over to get a better look at the concoction and in doing so spilled the entire dish all over his powder blue outfit. I immediately grabbed him and headed to the restroom. I soon found out that oil and parmesan do not rinse off very well. It was a very hot August day and the scent of parmesan heating up filled our entire car on the ride home.
Eight more grandchildren have entered my life, and I have wonderful memories of my time with each of them. But my Thomas Train, “refretching”, parmesan-coated Boogs holds a very special place in my heart. When he was leaving for college a few years ago, I didn’t see the 6’1” young man, duffle bag in hand, walking away. I saw the little Boogs, holding the trains and I just wanted to say “stop”.
© 2022 Patricia LaPointe
Pat LaPointe, creator of Share Your Voice, an online interactive community for all women. She is editor of the anthology; The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys from Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment. In addition, she has conducted writing workshops for women — both online and onsite. Pat’s essays and short stories have been published widely in anthologies, literary journals and on Medium.com @patromitolapointe. Currently, Pat is completing her first novel, forthcoming late 2022.