Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Adventures with Mr. Grinling (aka The Pothead)

Photo courtesy of BigJohnUK

As I’ve mentioned before my girls go to a Scottish Storyline School. Last night was Little’s culmination. This year the kindergarten class has been reading a book about Mr. Grinling, a Scottish lighthouse keeper.

Mr. Grinling lives in a cottage high up on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. His lighthouse resides on the rocks below. At lunchtime Mrs. Grinling makes a huge lunch for her husband and sends it down to the lighthouse in a basket on a cable. Only there's a problem. The seagulls have discovered the basket. They steal Mr. Grinling’s lunch before it arrives.

The kindergarteners have been writing letters back and forth to Mr. Grinling in an attempt to help him solve the problem with the seagulls. They came up with all kinds of ideas from covering the basket in wire to sending a cat in the basket with the lunch. None of these attempts deterred the gulls.

As it turns out Mrs. Grinling discovered the seagull solution. For two days straight she packed plain mustard sandwiches. The birds rapidly became bored with this meal and moved on to greener picnic baskets.

Mr. Grinling was soooo grateful for the kindergartner’s help that he flew in all the way from Scotland to thank the kids. The kids got to meet him at last night's culmination.

All day yesterday Little was itching with excitement. She was going to meet a real Scottish lighthouse keeper! She put on her nicest dress. We braided her hair and tied it with bows. She. Was. Ready.

On our drive to the school Little was jabbering away about Mr. Grinling (if I didn’t know better I’d say she had a little crush). I was only half-listening until middle daughter butt in to the conversation:

“I don’t get why you are so anxious to meet that guy. Don’t you know he’s a total pothead?!!”


"He smokes a pipe." she continued, "He has a pipe in all the pictures. He’s a pothead!"

My mind was reeling. My nine-year-old daughter thought her sister was learning about a doobie smoking lunch mongering lighthouse keeper.

Yes, yes. This is what storyline is all about. Potheads. And lunch.

"No sissy!" I exclaimed, "Mr. Grinling is not a pothead! The pipe contains tobacco which is completely legal. Not healthy but legal."

Okay - so you also have to question whether a Scholastic Book should contain a tobacco smoker but, hey, at least it's not pot. At any rate I don't anticipate my girls taking up the pipe anytime soon; pipe smoking lighthouse keeper or not.

"Well then," Sissy asked, "how do people smoke pot?"

"Oh, I don’t know," I replied with a slow drawl while deciding how much information to reveal.

Should I act totally uninformed or should I sound like a marijuana expert? A marijuanaologist.

I settled for something in the middle.

"People typically smoke marijuana out of bongs or hand-rolled cigarettes." I stated informatively.

I managed to leave out that people smoke pot out of just about anything including pop cans and, yes, pipes.

"What?!!" Sissy exclaimed, "People smoke pot out of BOMBS?!!"

Briefly I considered leaving the conversation at that. Clearly smoking out of bombs is a dangerous endeavor. Perhaps the kids would indeed Just Say No if explosive devices were involved. But I simply couldn't leave it be.

"No Sissy, bongs. B-O-N-G-S; a device for smoking pot."

Spectacular - we've moved on to the proper spelling of drug paraphernalia. You are nothing if not a good mother.

At this point my thirteen-year-old son was laughing so hard I thought he might actually pee his pants.

"What is so funny?!!" I demanded.

"Her," he said pointing at Sissy. "Dude, everybody knows people don't smoke pot out of pipes!"

"And what I'd like know Mister," I questioned, "is how you've obtained this information?"

"Well, duh," he said, "they teach you that in health."

Now I'm not sure which disturbs me more - the fact that Sissy thought Little was studying a pot smoking lunch mongering lighthouse keeper or that in middle school the kids, apparently, are being taught the fine art of how to smoke weed.

Clearly life with kids is nothing if not interesting. Alarming and agonizing but interesting. I just hope we survive the next 15 plus years.



Jewelry said...

And just WHY was Mrs. Grinling making such large lunches for the hubby? Munchies possibly??? Hmmmm....

Amy said...

Oh damn, thank you for my morning dose of hilarity!

L.C said...

wow...and i thought potty training was bad. what am i doing to do when i get older?? thanks for making me laugh.

Tammie said...

this is too funny.

and i had never heard of a scottish storyline school. i think the whole idea is fascinating.

Gayle said...

Oh, Shalet, you had me laughing through this story! I read it to my husband, too!

Anonymous said...

Love it!