Thursday, September 9, 2010

"He's a Helluva Boy"

I love overhearing comments about Ryan (especially positive ones). So yesterday, when two of our outings were to Herb’s work and out to dinner, where there are lots of folks who don’t know I’m Ryan’s mom if I’m not with him, there were plenty of opportunities for such overheard remarks.

Herb’s company, Teradyne, is celebrating its 50th anniversary, so they had a big party yesterday complete with a barbecue in the parking lot under a giant circus tent and lots of midway-style games. A number of Herb’s co-workers had brought their little ones (there’s been a rash of babies there recently), so Ryan and I went over to join in the fun. One of Herb’s co-worker’s brought her 8-week-old twins, who each weigh about 10 pounds. I had to laugh, recalling that Ryan was hardly ever that tiny on the outside. Even Ryan’s buddy Emma, who’s only a few weeks younger than he is, looks like a tiny peanut next to him. It was funny to hear all the comments from other parents who were amazed at his size. And the other thing about him that everyone noticed and commented on was his goofy “Bert” laugh. He loves people, so when he’s in a crowd he chortles even more often than usual, and it tends to be his machine-gun-style “heh-heh-heh-heh” laugh that sounds just like Bert from Sesame Street. And every time he laughed that way, someone else laughed at how funny and endearing it is. Naturally, I think it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard, but I admit that I’m completely, 100% biased, so it’s nice to hear from other people that it is, in fact, uproariously funny.

Our other outing of the day that brought lots of comments was a trip to The Chateau restaurant. The thing that I love most about the Chateau is that the waitresses are almost all a little older than at most places, and they’re all incredibly friendly and motherly. (I half expect to get scolded if I don’t finish my vegetables.) So naturally, within 30 seconds of walking in, every waitress in the room knew Ryan’s name and dropped by to say hello to him. And of course, in between courses, Daddy marched Ryan around to say hello to them again, as well as to greet all the other patrons, especially those with other small children. I love watching the two of them during this routine. And not only watching their interactions with the patrons, but hearing each table’s comments after they move on. But the best comment of all came from a guy sitting at the table behind us. He was a heavyset man with a gruff smoker’s voice and a thick New England accent, and looked like he’d be right at home in the cast of one of the Godfather movies. Now, that might make him sound a bit scary and intimidating, but let me add that he came in with a tiny, frail, elderly woman who was apparently his mother, and he very gently, carefully, and graciously escorted her to the table and settled her in, so I knew already that there was a heart of gold deep down. So as Ryan stopped at their table and flirted shamelessly with both the ladies and grinned charmingly at the gentleman, all three of them admired him and enjoyed chatting with him. But the crowning glory came after they’d moved on to the next table, when the gentleman summed up the visit by saying knowingly, “He’s a helluva boy.”

What a perfect comment! He is indeed a helluva boy. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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