catchpenny.

kach-pen-ee; adjective:

1. Made to sell readily at a low price, regardless of value or use.

Noun:

1. Something that is catchpenny.

Fifteen years ago (in 2000, which sounds crazy to say that was fifteen years ago), my family took the most memorable road trip of my life. My brothers and I drew names so we could fairly figure out who would sit in what seat in the candy apple red minivan. We would be gone for over a month and we were each only allowed to bring one extra item. Greg and I both quickly chose walkmans (most likely with Goo Goo Dolls and Clay Walker CDs.)  John brought the “W” encyclopedia. He was a fascinating kid. He helped the rest of us become more fascinating with his “fun fact every hour.”

On this road trip out to Colorado for a family reunion, I met my grandma’s sister’s granddaughter, Libby. She was four years older and more than four inches taller. She was beautiful and sweet and smart.

She now lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and four blonde children. I had not seen or spoken with Libby in fifteen years when I called to say, “I’ll be driving through Oklahoma City!” She was so wonderfully hospitable when she responded, “Stay as long as you would like!” I planned on two nights and I now feel like two weeks wouldn’t be long enough. This family has stolen my heart and my dimes as the children sell me wax stick figures at a catchpenny price. I bought two bunches of grapes for ten cents.

They are all completely delightful.

Libby reads to the kids from a Ralph Moody book before bed. The only boy sweetly interrupts to ask “What is a megaphone?” Or “What is coal?”

The kids line up to jump on their daddy’s legs and he catapults them over his head. Laughter ensues.

The three year old girl grabs my hand and leads me all over the garden, to the fort outside, to the swing, and back to the dining room table. She handed me a napkin and said, “I’ll give you this napkin that I folded into a bag because when I asked you to go down the slide with me, you did very nicely.” I can’t imagine saying no to her sweet little face. Even with two clips in her hair, a bright blonde chunk falls in her eyes and seems to somehow make them sparkle even more.

She sits in my lap even when it doesn’t seem possible; she finds a way, on the slide, on the swing, on a stool in the kitchen. I miss her already and I’m still here in the room next to theirs.

I talk to the oldest (seven years old) about books. She explains every detail of every book she likes and I know that reading them couldn’t compete with her creative explanation.

The eight month old eats beets with rosemary and doesn’t miss an opportunity to check me out, the stranger gawking at her big blue eyes.

Dwayne’s been staying with some friends he has in Tulsa. I have an overwhelming desire for him to meet this special little family. We might have to make that happen tomorrow. The kids would love that he’s 6’4” and can throw them around with ease.

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