October is impossible. It's a month cramstuffed with so many events that the good leaders of this nation have decided to celebrate its ending by letting everyone eat candy. Here, they say, nice job keeping your shit together. Have a Payday.
Soccer was a twice a week commitment for Dylan that she seemed to be 52% committed to. This year was a step up from the pup-tent sized goals and tiny field melee that is pee-wee soccer. Now the goals are, you know, soccer goal sized and the field is proportionately bigger. Dylan's enthusiasm for the game hasn't grown proportionately, but we're working on that. Dylan played on the Etna team. Or, to be more specific, The Etna Team. Right, there was only one. And guess who they played? Yep. The Ft. Jones Team. 1 league. 2 teams. 10 games. October, yea! I dubbed the Etna team Orange United. They wore orange, and played (comparatively) like an English Premier League team. The purple team, or the Ft. Jones 3 and Under All-Stars were good, but my God, they were small. I think they recruited from the wrong playground.
If getting benched for fun-wrestling players from the other team and skipping to the ball means Dylan enjoyed soccer, then I guess we'll pack up the mini-van and all become soccer moms, because it's in our future. On the field, when she wasn't wrestling, she sometimes managed to focus long enough to be a pretty good player. But stick her at goalie in an oversized red shirt and she'd become leader of the elephant walk and have all her defenders on their hands and feet doing the Jungle Book waltz. Sometimes, when she was keeper, I'd look over and notice a completely empty net and see Dylan on the sideline getting a new beanie or gloves -- you know, because they matched better. In fact, the only goal the FJ3UAS scored all season happened while Dylan was playing goalie.
Grady was a perfect little hooligan and tried to terrorize every match he attended. If it weren't so cold he would have streaked. Regina and I learned early that we needed to divide and conquer. That meant either one of stayed home or, if we both went to the game, one of us kept an eye on our little Sidetracked Suzy while the other got playground time with the Hungry Monster.
Aside from organized sport, deer season monopolized quite a bit of our (my) time. "Got to go get food for the family," I'd tell Regina whenever the kids were especially bratty. This year Dylan wanted to join me. I was excited about this time together so I planned a few easy hunts that we could do. Our first morning out we hiked up on the hill and I decided to test Dylan's observation and keeping quiet skills. We sat on a rock that overlooked a brush patch and, sure enough, several deer started moving around. Dylan looked through my binoculars (backwards) and pointed out does and fawns. The observation skills are good, but keeping quiet? No. She chatted the entire time. Why those deer stayed in the same county as us, I don't understand. We moved on to another spot and, again, saw more deer. I kept feeding her candy bars to keep her mouth chewing and not talking, but the sugar might have backfired on me a little. We were just about ready to pack it up and go home when a few more deer appeared. I turned the binoculars around and saw that a couple of them were bucks. Here we go, I thought. Dylan's hunting gloves are little purple things with a yarn person on each finger. When I looked at her, ready to plan our hunt, she was was flapping her hands like a hummingbird's wings. The bucks looks warily on. And when I tried to sneak over to a rock for a better view, I heard a loud crunching behind me. Dylan decided to hop along behind me. For obvious reasons, the bucks changed course and we didn't see them again.
While Dylan is my little hunter, Grady is my little logger. When I got my chainsaw back from getting repaired, I decided to test it out by knocking down a few dead oaks in our horse pen. Grady followed along and I was sure the loud saw would scare him. Nope. As soon as the first tree crashed down, he raised his arms like I'd scored a touchdown and yelled, "Yeah!" So I kept on cutting until I fell a tree over the fence and thought I'd better slow down a little bit. He just needs a little pair of Prison Blues jeans and and a hickory and he'll fit right in.
Next time I cut wood, I'll let Dylan help too. The kids can be as loud as they want and it won't be their crazy hand gestures or voices that scares anything away. No one will ask them to wear an oversized shirt and stand in front of a net while all of their friends play on the other side of the field. Maybe I've finally found the perfect October sport for the whole family.