Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sorry Charley

Charley has a new nickname. “Amy, I’m sorry Charley.”

He owes Amy an apology, and until he comes forth and does the right thing, that’s what his new nickname is. So don’t be afraid to use it! The next time you see Charley say, “Hi Amy I’m sorry Charley!”

Or, you could just leave that to me. Since it is between us, that is, and because he’ll probably get mad at you if you call him that.

What? You’re wondering what it was that the little buzzard did? Well let me put it this way; he did it to me before he did it to Amy.

We’re sitting on the couch Friday and waiting for the bus, just half asleep as always, when out of nowhere, Charley says to me, “Oose weet,” Mom.

“You sweet too,” I say.

“No, oose weet,” he says.

“And so are you,” I say.

So he peels himself off the couch and walks over to me, points at my stomach and says “No Mom, Ooose weet, and Daddy too.”

Oh I get it. He’s saying, “Lose weight.” Okay, let’s get this out of the way right this second. I’ve been struggling lately, not wanting to stay on my diet. Well, that’s not all together true. I want to stay on the diet but just put one teeny little thing in front of me as a deterrent, and as Brad says, "The flesh is weak," and could you please pass the Krispy Crème?

“I take back all the nice things I was thinking about you,” I say, and he starts to laugh.

And then, and then, and THEN, he just couldn’t leave it alone. He says, “Amy oose weet.”

Oh no. He didn’t. He couldn’t have. “Charley, did you tell Amy she needed to lose weight?”

He says, “Yeah.” Well just color us socially inappropriate next time.

I say, “Charley you can’t go around hurting people’s feelings like that.”

He says, “No not.”

“Son, you need to apologize,” I say,

“No not.”

So I say, “How would you like it if Amy called you That Downs Boy?”

“Not me,” he says.

And I say, “Well she could if she wanted to, you do have Down Syndrome, you know.”

“No not,” he says.

“And, while we are on the subject, you, my friend, are not exactly a skinny minnie.”

“Yes I are,” he says.

“Okay, repeat after me, Amy, I’m sorry,” Charley.


“Yes, say it.”


Okay, repeat after me, “Charley’s not getting any milkshakes or chicken nuggets until he apologizes to Amy.”

He puts his hand on his hip.

“You ARE going to apologize to Amy, aren’t you?”

He blinks at me.

“This school’s out,” he says.

“Fine, then you can apologize on Monday,” I say.

Another blink. (He does this when he’s thinking something he better not say).

So I grab the camera and tell him to strike a pose.


Voila, a picture of Charley’s stomach.

“See Charley? You’re no skinny minnie either.”

He says, “You take pitchur you!” pointing to my stomach.

Not on your life.

“I’m telling Ronald on you,” I say.

“No not, no Ronalt, no!” he says.

Charley doesn’t like it when I tell on him to Ronald because he knows Ronald will give him the business. Ronald understands all about Charley because his brother Tony had Downs. So when we get to church on Sunday I ask Ronald if he’ll help me play a joke on Charley, and he says “Sure!” and when Ronald gets up to lead the singing he calls on Charley and says that sometimes when we do something wrong we are need to apologize, and then asks Charley if he’s an “Amy I’m sorry Charley.”

Well let me tell you, Charley just hangs his head, and I do mean in shame. Ronalds starts leading the singing, and Charley turns to me and says, “Mommy!” as in, how could you?

So the weekend passes and at every opportunity I’m reminding him about the Amy-I’m-sorry-Charley thing, and Monday is finally here and he's gotten off the bus. I go walking down the steps to see if he did in fact apologize to Amy like he was supposed to, and here he comes down the sidewalk, with his head hung down, and walks right past me, stomps up the steps and plops his rear end down into the rocking chair on the porch. Uh oh, upset child alert.

“Hi son,” I say, just as cheerfully as I know how.

“Don’t talk me!”

“Why not?”

“I MAD!” he says, and I can see that he’s crying, and it melts me like butter.

“What happened?” I ask, “What’s wrong?”

“Crytalt tookin’ my beer!” (It’s really a root beer but he calls it “beer” because he thinks it makes him look cool, and of course, don’t forget the shock effect of those around who have no idea he’s really talking about root beer).

“She took your beer away?” I say.


More tears.

By then Crystal has gotten off the bus and is making her way down the sidewalk. I go walking toward her, and of course, you-know-who is on my heels because heaven forbid that I might actually have a conversation with someone without Mr. Nosey hearing every word.

So Crystal proceeds to tell me that she took Charley’s root beer away from him because he took Sammy’s pencils and then lied to her when she asked him about it.

Charley has caught up to us now and has his head buried in my chest, with big wet tears.

“Well what did you go and do that for?” I ask."Why did you take Sammy's pencils?"

"I play joke on Sammy," he says. Uh huh, I'm sure Sammy thought that was real funny.

And as if that wasn't bad enough,he had to go and lie to Crystal about it. Crystal is Charley’s bus driver and he just loves her. He would do just about anything for Crystal and doesn’t want to be out of favor with her, and now Crystal has gone and taken his beer for lying to him.

“You took my beer Crystalt!”

So the three of us stand out in the yard talking about the infraction, and Crystal says that she gets him a root beer every day for the bus ride home, which is mighty nice of her, but she cannot tolerate Charley lying to her about Sammy’s pencils.

I ask Charley if he’s given all the pencils back and he says yes, and he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a yellow eraser. Crystal opens her hand and he gives it to her. Sometimes I have to remind myself that this is a 19-year-old boy with a beard.

So the three of us come to an agreement. Charley is to get on the bus “good” in the morning. He is to wear his jacket like he is supposed to, and he is to take his medicine so I won’t have to follow him out to the bus with it, and he is to have a good attitude, and he is NOT to take Sammy’s pencils again, and then Crystal says she will give back his beer.

Crystal says goodbye and hops back on the bus and drives away.

Charley and I turn and walk back to the house.

He’s still not in a very good mood, but I am usually able to needle him a little until he come out of his funk.

We walk off arm in arm heading toward the house.

“Repeat after me,” I say, “Tammy, I’m sorry,” Charley.