A year ago about this time some friends of mine moved back to town and I’ve enjoyed starting a new tradition with their kids.
For each of their birthdays, they get to choose an outing with me.
Yesterday it was Sam’s turn.
He chose to go to Nikki’s, this frozen yogurt place where you can sample all the flavors first, before deciding what you want to buy.
We tried every single flavor once. Some twice. We wanted to be sure.
Sam chose a combination of cherry limeade with orange dreamsicle, topped with maraschino cherries, gummy bears and those sour sugarcoated “worms” that are just disgusting.
He looked at me after a few bites and said, “I think this is making me hyper.”
Oh well, you only turn seven once.
It had been a long time since I’d enjoyed an afternoon with someone named Sam Thomas.
I couldn’t help but grin watching Sam’s face crinkle up just like his dad’s does when he’s frustrated or questioning something. And I love thinking that someday Sam, too, like his dad, will probably come to look a lot like his granddad, the other Sam Thomas I knew.
I felt the same last week when I drove up to the Texas-Oklahoma Jr. Classic golf tournament in Wichita Falls to see my cousin Joe’s oldest son, Ryan, play.
Looking across the table at Ryan over lunch, watching his grin, his face bearing the same exact expression as his dad’s when he laughed, I saw another red haired boy I loved.
Seems like only yesterday when I was driving Ryan’s dad to the course every morning for his ungodly tee time when he played the same tournament in high school. That was the year Joe’s birthday happened to fall during the tournament and we ordered a cake decorated like a golf course for him.
Hideous shade of green icing that turned our teeth green.
Almost as hideous as those “worms” on Sam’s frozen yogurt.
But how appropriate for today, when I’m remembering little red haired boys.