Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want: This Key

I wasn’t kidding. This story is a continuation of the previous one. I know you’re all, “Well, even though I didn’t read her last post, I’m not about to go back now and waste my precious time on it. No, I’m NOT. I’m just going to read this one here and piece it all together. I’m smart. I can do that.”

Yes, honey. Yes. You’re smart. And you’re pretty and sweet, and the other kids just don’t understand you.

But go back and read the previous post anyhow.

I’m waiting. (*taps foot and begins humming “Ina-Gadda-Davita”*)

What, you again?

You haven’t even scrolled down to it yet, ya Big Faker. It was called “Like Searching for a Grain of Broken Rice in a Bowl of Particularly-Soggy Shredded Wheat,” and it involved my talented girl parts and a 95 minute run, so you really don’t want to miss it.

Schlep off now.

I’ll wait. (*starts filing nails and practicing some “Mr. Bojangles” soft shoe, further proving her ability to multi-task when fingernails and vaudeville converge*)


Oh, HI. I’m glad you’re back, you upstanding and honest reader who’d never skip a preliminary post in an effort to cadge four extra life minutes during which you dreamily picture what Sarah Palin looks like with her glasses off, hair down, her “energy plan” a’roarin’. Now that you’re up to speed:

So yup. There we were the next day, the Assembled Family Jocelyn, ready to fan out the family’s collective vision and scan every stick, leaf, and dead raccoon on a very particular stretch of the Superior Hiking Trail, in search of my shiny silver Camry car key.

(if you have no idea what I’m referring to and are just kind of nodding and smiling blankly after that last paragraph, that’s because you are one seriously lazy cuss and didn’t EVEN go back and read that previous post, Mrs. Pants On Fire…like it’s so onerous to take a few measly minutes out of your life to catch up with the rest of us. You’re just a living, breathing, personified “War of the Worlds” broadcast, fooling the entire audience into thinking one thing’s happening when, in truth, you’re just sitting in your lazy chair drinking Diet Mt. Dew and pretending to be “an avid blog reader and defender against alien attack”)

Before the family gathered around, I had done some kitchen-table triangulation and narrowed down the most likely area for the key loss–to a spot called “Pee Alley.” Knowing this, we could park on a nearby road and hike in a few hundred yards, looking all the while for browning ferns and a mish-mash of footprints that indicated a Woman/Ipod scuffle.

But first, we had to get the kids out and on the trail, the motivational script of which read,

Me: “Okay, now that you’re both home from school, we’re going to drive up to the spot where Mommy was running yesterday when she lost her key.”

Kids: “Mommy, why do you talk about yourself in the third person? It creeps us out.”

(okay, they didn’t say that, as they’re still learning–and will be for at least another decade–that anything beyond first person exists in the world)

Me: “So, listen, we’re going for a lovely hike on this sunny fall day. Our mission: to find a silver key.”

Kids: “Don’t wanna and are not.”

Me: “This actually wasn’t a request. We. are. going. out. to. the. woods. And. we. will. make. this. an. adventure. And. FUN. You. poopshoots.”

Kids: “Not going. Don’t like hiking.”

Me: “In what universe do children of mine not like hiking? This is unimaginable–preposterous–like women over thirty wearing leggings under a tunic blouse! Clearly, you are not the true people I grunted out from my body; anyone fostered under my care is destined to have a life-long fixation with sumacs and granite and singing The Smiths amongst them. Pod-people, you are clearly not my children. Either you hike with Pappy and me, or I love you not.”

Kids: “Hey, Mom? You’re kind of a dinkus.”

Me: “I know what you are, but what am I? Now get in the car.”

Kids: “Not going. No hikey. Can’t make us.”

Me: “The key is very shiny, you know, which means it’s glamorous. Only the cleverest of people could ever find the treasure that is a lost key in the woods. Let me tell you a tale about the kind of person who only wishes he could find a key in the woods: there was a guy once who seemed, on the surface, to be clever, a guy named Johnny Keyfinder. One day, he plunged into the woods, in search of a key. After many hours, he emerged, keyless, having fooled himself that he’d found something better: a hand full of appleseeds. Listen to this: old Johnny ‘Keylacker’ Appleseed then wandered the country for years after, holding his seeds in one hand and shaking hands with the other. Now how clever does he sound to you? Not very, eh? Not bloody clever at all. Kind of dumb hickish, if you want to use real words about it. Seriously–how did he think he’d wipe himself or cut a steak, what with both hands already so busy? This man was NO keyfinder. He was just a busy-pawed gladhander. Eventually he keeled over, appleseeds in hand, with his last words being, ‘I never did find me a key, so what’s it all been about?’ His legend pales in comparison to the one you two are going to create today, when you hit those woods and find Mommy’s key!!!!”

Kids: “Gracious! He was hebetudinous. We must differentiate ourselves from that dolt. Hie now–to the horseless carriage. Oh, and thanks for the thesaurus last Christmas, O Maternal Matriarch.”

Me: “Huzzah! The afternoon is ours to seize.”

So then we, like, drove there and stuff.

The second we stopped the car, as predicted in a secret wink-wink-eye-rolling exchange between Groom and me, the kids did shape up and forget their hatred of Woods. They ran to the trail and began bushwacking, peering, and

herky-jerking on the balance beam known as “uprooted and suspended birch.”

Two minutes in, the true beauty of the afternoon became apparent, particularly to the Star Warsian Wee Niblet:

We were in Ewok country.

Vexingly, Ewok Country is rife with stands of browning ferns, each looking more like a possible pit stop for a full-bladdered runner than the last.

But the Jedi Youngling was not daunted.

Picking up speed,

Niblet gathered light saber sticks, thrashed the bushes in search of battle droids, and continued his Jedi training, which has advanced considerably in the last few months. Specifically, his ability to harness The Force has gained finesse.

Concentrating, the lad raised his hand and channeled all his fledgling powers into using The Force to find that key.

Fortunately, Jedi Master Groom was in the lead. Stopping suddenly and staring intently at the ground, Groom called to his Padawan, “This looks like a spot in need of your attention, Boy. Focus your powers here, and let The Force do its work.”

Skipping along, humming a new song learned in kindergarten (“Hell-ooow/How are you?/I’m so glad/To see you”), holding his Force-channeling hand in the air, Niblet abruptly pulled up short.

He stared hard for a minute, soaking in the quiet of the immense trees surrounding him, and then carefully bent down.

When he straightened to his full height–equal to that of the brown ferns cloaking him–he peeled open his hand, on which balanced–

by the Original Light!–

a silver key.





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20 responses to “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want: This Key”

  1. flutter Avatar

    *jazz hands*

    oop, sorry I was rocking out with bojangles. and why the hell do I want Marscapone all of the sudden?

  2. Jeni Avatar

    I was finally starting to get a bit sleepy here, reading, lightly scanning over some posts. That is, until I saw you had a new one posted and I clicked in to see what words of wisdom you were imparting tonight. Now, I’m wide awake and probably will be for some time from reading this and snickering the whole way through the darned thing! Just can’t beat a kid on a mission, can ya?
    Now send me some melatonin so my system will go back to the droopy-eyed syndrome that had set in a bit earlier so I can go fall asleep!

  3. lime Avatar

    the force is strong with this young one. could you send him my way that he might locate the boy limelet’s school uniform which has been missing for a week.

    as for johnny keyfinder, i deeply appreciate this little known biographical information on him. i don’t know what kind of revisionist crap has been perpetuated on kindergarteners everywhere but i for one and glad to have the truth out.

  4. Todd Lund Avatar
    Todd Lund

    Your encyclopedic knowledge of music is truly inspiring, Jocelyn. I haven’t heard “Ina-Gadda-Davita” (Iron Butterfly, unmistakably) in over 35 years. And your gift of a Thesaurus (most thoughtful, despite the fact that this invaluable item has become so damn trendy in recent years) to your young offspring underscores just what an incredible mom you really are. Finally, what a generous man your Groom is, to allow niblet to score the find.

  5. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    I still think it would have been easier to have a new key made.

  6. Shania Avatar

    OK, you caught me! But. I didn’t scroll down bc I always obey my reader and I had already read the first post.

    And if you could loan me the small one for a bit? I have much treasures for him to suss out.

  7. Glamourpuss Avatar

    Niblet Eagle-Eyes saves the day – good lad.


  8. furiousBall Avatar

    Diet Mt. Dew is the cleanser used to clean Pee Alley I’m pretty sure. Oh, and I forgot to say so, but I got a CD from some lady in Minnesota

  9. Jazz Avatar

    Inna Gadda Da Vida baby!!!

    Ha! I did read!

    So there…

  10. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    I’d say the force was with Niblet, and with you too, Sweet Lady Who Loveth Things Shiny.

    I would pay money for such a one to live in our household and find the location, location, location of all the things my good husband loses.

    Some people have all the luck, not that I’m bitter or anything.

  11. chelle Avatar

    hehe so glad you found the key despite all obstacles!

  12. Anette Avatar

    Thank you once again for your brilliant report from family Jocelyns adventures! You are a writing genius!

  13. kimber the wolfgrrrl Avatar
    kimber the wolfgrrrl

    I can almost hear the celestial chorus, and see the shaft of golden light piercing the softly parted clouds….

  14. choochoo Avatar

    Have I mentioned that you’re funny? Hmm. Don’t know if I did. Now I have to go back and check all my previous comments, as well, just to see if I did…

  15. pistols at dawn Avatar
    pistols at dawn

    That was the most effective Fake Person You Shouldn’t Be Like story since Young Goodman Brown. Or maybe Highlights’ magazine’s Goofus and Gallant, which also was written by Hawthorne, I believe.

  16. Minnesota Matron Avatar
    Minnesota Matron

    Honey, the problem is your secret pocket. The Matron runs too (and also alarms her children with this whole third person thing) but tucks the key inside of a sock!!

    Works like a charm. And 70 minutes is a nice long run — more than me! I get out for four miles in the mornings. It’s a sanity saver, isn’t it?

  17. rak Avatar

    I am well impressed!

  18. Chantal Avatar

    “We. are. going. out. to. the. woods. And. we. will. make. this. an. adventure. And. FUN. You. poopshoots.”


    Glad you found your key! Looks like a nice place to run. Much better than the sidewalks in my suburban town.

  19. liv Avatar

    dang! you use yer words purtier than a $20 whore.


  20. Karen MEG Avatar
    Karen MEG

    I can’t believe you guys found the key!!!
    It helps to have slave-children, doesn’t it LOL!

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