Nothin’ But Net

Desperate Hubby’s confinement after foot surgery this spring has been relatively painless for our family.  We all adapted pretty quickly to his short-term inability to participate in most family activities.  When you know something is temporary it makes it much easier to adapt to a situation.

The person who suffered the most (beside DH, of course) with the “absence” of Desperate Daddy in his life was little Batman.

Batman has, from an early age in life, loved to play ball.  I distinctly remember him standing in his diaper at age one shooting a little basketball into a cardboard box  in the kitchen.

Because I am totally inept at playing sports (though I do try) and usually cannot even catch a ball thrown by Batman (because he throws too hard for me….  really) the role of sports-companion has mainly fallen on Desperate Daddy. (I hope it isn’t too confusing if I refer to him as both DH and DD.  Same person, different role).

About a month into DD’s confinement into his recliner, Batman was feeling a little lonely.  Annabelle and I had included him in our horse activities as much as we could to try to distract him, but I think he participated in those mainly to humor us.  It wasn’t really his idea of fun, at first anyway.

Fortunately we had just the solution for his sadness right next door.

Grandpa Vernon.

Starting the Show

Grandpa Vernon is our friend/next-door neighbor/adopted grandpa and also the world’s nicest landlord.  We adopted him and his beautiful wife Kay into our family even before we moved in a couple of years ago, and we have been grateful to have them in our lives every single day since.

Grandpa Vernon was a basketball star of some accomplishment just a few years ago back in high school, and he has passed his love of the game down to his lucky grandsons.  Over the past two years Batman has watched in fascination as Grandpa Vernon coached Caleb and Gabriel in basketball.  Grandpa Vernon has helped Batman too, from time to time, and Batman just thrives on the attention.

I think that Grandpa Vernon, being the wise and benevolent person that he is, sensed that Batman was a little down. He came over one night in early July, took out Batman’s little plastic basketball  hoop and set it up on the back porch, adjusted to the just the right height for Batman.

Then he gave my little boy some shooting lessons.

This is How

Grandpa Vernon told me to stop taking pictures because he didn’t want to end up on “that damned blog.”  I gave him a big glass of wine and that sort of calmed him down.  I am constantly plying Grandpa Vernon with alcohol to try to get him to hang out with us, but he is a busy man.

He made time for Batman though.

There Ya Go

Just seeing that big smile on my baby’s face brings tears to my eyes.

And I think Grandpa Vernon had fun, too.

Thats Form

The boys played quite a game of ball that night.  Grandpa Vernon taught Batman how to play H-O-R-S-E. Batman narrowly won the first game of the tournament, but creamed Grandpa the second game.  Curious.


Just a few days later we received a much coveted invitation to Kay and Vernon’s for a 4th of July dinner.  We were thrilled.  Grandpa Vernon’s skill as a basketball player is second only to his wonderful ability as a chef.  And the hospitality at Kay and Vernon’s is that of legend.

As good as the food was, though, what the kids really wanted to do was play.

Fortunately, there were a couple of other kids there to play with.

First was Jerry.  The biggest and most playful kid at the party.  Batman took an immediate shine to Jerry.

Baman Loves Jerry

Also in attendance was Dr. Danny and his girlfriend Dee.  Both kids love Dr. Danny, of course, and he was recruited to play too.  He was more than happy to comply.

Danny Winds Up

With the other kids there to play, Grandpa Vernon actually got a little break to sit and visit.

Grandpa Vernon

The kids played and played throughout the course of the night.  They took turns out in the yard playing football.  Jerry can move pretty well for a big kid.

Better Run

And he wasn’t a bad passer either.

Batman Out for Pass

He could even catch!

Jerry Catches

Dr. Danny seemed to get tackled a lot.  Especially by Annabelle.

Ball from Danny

Eventually, the big kids got thirsty, so everyone retired back up to the porch.  Then the real fun began.

Look at Jerru

Jerry regaled everyone with his very impressive ball-spinning capabilities.  He says he acquired them from so much time sitting on the bench, but I’m not so sure.

Batman was completely and utterly enthralled by this skill.  Jerry gave him some lessons.

Zach Learns

Batman felt bad that Desperate Daddy was kind of left out, sitting over in the lounge chair, so he tried to include him in the action.  Spinning was harder than it looked though.

Daddy Reaches

Even the girls got involved.  The funnest girl kid there was Shirley.  Shirley tried to teach Annabelle how to balance the ball on her nose.

Girls Game

Jerry spun and spun the ball. We all watched with fascination.

Jerry Spinner

The brightness of the fireworks we watched later that night paled in comparison to the fun the kids had with their friends at the party.  They talked about it for days afterward.

Until Grandpa Vernon gave them something new to talk about.

He showed up a few days later with a new basketball hoop.  It was the hoop that Caleb and Gabriel had used at his house until this year.

The kids were ecstatic!

Hoop Setting Up

The first step was to add sand to the base so it would stay upright in the wind and hold up to Batman’s vigorous shooting style.

Ready for Sand

I am certain that it took at least twice as long to let the kiddos help set up as it would have been to just do it himself. And as I said earlier, Grandpa Vernon is a busy man.

But he let the kids help every step of the way.

Adding the sand

Grandpa adjusted the net to just the right height and angle.

Getting Ready

Batman was ready to go.

Batman has practiced with the basketball hoop nearly every day.  Sometimes he shoots five baskets.  Sometimes it seems like 500.

It is awesome.

He’d never have made it to his first swish without Grandpa Vernon’s help.

Ya Got It

As a parent it is humbling and awe-inspiring to have people who will spend their time, talents or resources to help your children learn a new skill,  achieve their goals,  or even just help ease a lonely day, week or month.  We are fortunate to have many of these angels in our lives, and we appreciate each and every one of you.

We’ll play with you anytime.

Categories: Kids Are Funny Creatures, Life in the Country | Leave a comment

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