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Chapter 6

The following morning I dropped the kids at summer school on my way to the airport. Jannie is eight; Damon just turned ten.  They’re really good kids, but they’re kids. You give them a tiny advantage, they take a lot, and then they take a little more. Someone, I don’t remember who, said that’American children suffer too much mother and too little father.’ With my kids, it’s been the exact opposite.
‘I could get used to this,’Jannie said as we pulled up in front of the Sojoumer Truth School. Helen Folasade Adu - Sade - was singing softly on the CD. Very nice.
‘Don’t get used to it. It’s a five-block walk from our house to school. When I was a little boy in North Carolina, I used to walk five miles through tobacco fields to school.’
‘Yeah, right,’ Damon scoffed. ‘You forgot that you used to walk barefoot. Left that part out.’
‘I did. Thanks for reminding me. I used to walk barefoot through those nasty tobacco fields to school.’
The kids laughed and so did I. They’re usually good to be around, and I’m always videotaping them. I do it in the hopes that I’ll have nice movies to watch when the two of them go bad in their teenage years. Also, I’m afraid I might get CRS someday - the can’t remember shit disease. It’s going around.
‘I have a big concert on Saturday,’Damon reminded me. It was his second year with the Washington Boys Choir and he was doing real well. He was going to be the next Luther Vandross, or Al Green, or maybe he was just going to be Damon Cross.
‘I’ll be home by Saturday, Damon. Trust me, I wouldn’t miss your concert.’
‘You missed quite a few already,’ he said. It was a sharp little dig.  ‘That was the old me. This is the new and improved Alex. I’ve also attended several of your concerts.’
‘You’re so funny. Daddy,’ Jannie said, and laughed. Both kids are smart, and smart-assed as well.
‘I will be home for Damon’s concert on Saturday,’! promised.’Help your grandma around the house. She’s almost a hundred years old, you know.’
Jannie rolled her eyes. ‘Nana’s eighty years young, or so she says.  She loves to cook, do the dishes, and clean up after us,’ she said, imitating Nana’s wicked cackle.’She truly does.’ ‘Saturday. I can’t wait,’I said to Damon. It was the whole truth and nothing but. The Boys Choir was one of Washington’s secret treasures.  I was ecstatic that Damon was good enough to sing with the group, but most of all that he loved what he was doing.  ‘Kisses,’! said.’Hugs too.’
Damon and Jannie groaned, but they leaned in close and I wondered how much longer they would be willing to give me hugs and pecks on the cheek. So I took an extra few while I could get them. When the good times come with your kids, you’ve got to make them last.
‘I love you two,’ I said before I let them go off to school. ‘What do you say?’
‘We love you too,’Damon and Jannie chorused.
‘That’s why we let you embarrass us to death in front of our school and all our friends,’Jannie said, and she stuck out her tongue.  ‘This ;s your last ride to school,’ I told her. Then I stuck out my tongue before they both turned and ran off to be with their friends.  They were growing up way too fast for me.



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