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12.22.2010

Why Don't You Write About Bupkes?

That's what Tio said tonight when I was figuring out a post for the blog. Should I take him literally or figuratively?
A Man Called Bupkes
Bupkes is our family mascot. When school started this fall we got a white erase board for the kitchen to keep notes on. Of course, I couldn't help fiddling and the first thing I did was to invent a cartoon character to leave messages for the kids in speech balloons, a beatnik with a goatee and small fedora I called Bupkes. He'd remind the boys who had projects after school, what note needed to go to a teacher, various forms of encouragement or a joke. I like putting a caption under him spoofing a movie or song title. "Rudolph the Red Nosed Bupkes", "A Fistful of Bupkes" or "Dial M for Bupkes" etc.. Last week I started drawing him in silly looking different hats. He looked miserable under them always asking where his own hat went. Finally, looking the most idiotic under a Mandarin tassel cap Kit asked, "Will Bupkes ever find his hat?"

When the older boys were small I used to tell them every December that "Uncle Fuzzy" lived in the Christmas decoration chest and if we opened it carefully, we might actually see him. It was magical watching their eyes bulge with excitement wondering what kind of creature Uncle Fuzzy was to live in a steamer trunk. Alas, he never did appear and I suggested he always went to Florida around Christmas time. This year there was a note waiting for Doc in the chest, "Sorry I missed you, I had to leave for Florida early οΎ– Uncle Fuzzy." We'll leave a note back to him after we pack all the stuff away again next week.

A healthy fantasy life is a good thing. It gets their brains simmering with some imagination and creativity of their own. We used to fly our tree fort to the planet Fbiblinar and make board games based on our biking adventures playing pizza delivery shop on the lanes of the local graveyard. There's a potting shed there that I always called "Dan's House" and as young as 3 years old Tio and I would knock on his door to see if he was home. Then we'd create excuses for where he might be and what kind of life "Dan" led. During the election season this year I drove with Tio to a neighbor's house to do some canvassing.
"Where are we going?" he asked.
"Dan lives here," I replied.
"So we finally find out where Dan really lives," he laughed like it gave him closure, years after he came to know that the tool shed in the stoneyard was just that.

These things may not be very important but they sure aren't bupkes. Maybe we should have a contest to design the poor boy a better hat.