Still in Ohio visiting my friend and her family. Today, my friend had to work, so I grabbed her eleven-year-old daughter, who had been sitting around watching television, and the two of us went for an hourlong drive together up to Sandusky, on the shore of Lake Erie. We walked along the waterfront and looked in the shops; then we found a shopping mall and wandered a bit in there. We got ourselves some cold lemonades for the ride home.
There is something absolutely wonderful about eleven-year-olds. They are old enough to be articulate and to have a sharp wit, but they're not sullen or teenagery yet. The young lady who was my companion for the day was absolutely delightful company. I just want to share with you some of the great things she said. (I'll refer to her as Elf, because of how cute she is. I'm not sure she'll take that as a compliment, but it is absolutely intended that way.)
(In the car on the way to Sandusky)
Elf: Nothing interesting has ever happened to me.
Me: Lots of interesting things are going to happen in your life. You're only eleven, so you're just starting out. Give yourself a little time.
Elf: I have already waited for eleven years. Exactly how patient do you expect me to be?
(As we are parking at the mall)
Elf: I have never been to Macy's.
Me: Really? Never?
Elf: Well, I was there once, but we only bought something for my sister, so it doesn't count.
(Walking in the mall)
Elf: Ooh, look! Victoria's Secret!
Me: Yup! Would you like to go in and look around?
Elf (stricken): God, no. That place terrifies me.
(Smelling a sampler of lotion at Bath & Body Works)
Elf: Gack. This smells like my grandma.
(Looking at the GPS instructions)
Me: It wants me to make a right onto Milan Road. (I pronounce it Mill-AHN.)
Elf: It's pronounced MY-lin.
Me: Oh, sorry. I mispronounced it because, you know, there's a city in Italy called Mill-AHN.
Elf: Well, this is a city in Ohio and it's called MY-lin.
(And finally, at dinner, Elf collapses in a giggling fit.)
Elf's dad: Goodness. What's gotten into you?
Elf (still laughing hysterically): I am just SOOOOO TIRED!
I just love that little girl. And that's all the news from rural Ohio today. More soon, as it unfolds.