PAGE THREE With Apologies to Art Linkletter

Times Like These, You Need The Man in the Yellow Hat

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Kids can surprise, amuse and amaze us. These two youngsters did all three.

My 4-year-old grandson Yonah may well be a real-life "Curious George," that mischievous monkey of children's book fame.

For example, this morning, his 6-year-old brother, SarEl (that means Prince of God), came upstairs from the basement and told me, "Yonah pulled the plant down." I should note that my daughter Cindy, her husband and their five children were visiting us.

My guess as to what had been toppled was soon confirmed: It was the eight- or nine-leaf plant that has been growing in our basement since . . . well, my wife couldn't remember, either, so it has to be a long time. About three feet high and just as wide, it sat in a pot next to the bar on a little three-legged iron table with a wooden top that I had built some years ago.

As mentioned by SarEl, the plant was indeed on its side on the rug; dirt had spilled all over the place. But there was no sign of Yonah. The basement seemed deserted.

I got out the dustpan and whisk broom, put the plant back in its pot and proceeded to brush the dirt into the dustpan and then back into the pot on top of the exposed roots. Luckily, the dirt was very dry, as we evidently had not watered the poor plant in quite some time. Next, I got out the vacuum cleaner and sucked up most of the remaining dirt and dust. Spying some dirt underneath my wine rack next to the bar, I shut off the vacuum and moved the rack.

As I did so, a small figure appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and scampered across the basement and up the stairs. I immediately equated the fleeing Yonah to a guilty Curious George.

Later that day, after I told my daughter about the toppled plant incident and Yonah's subsequent frantic escape from hiding, she replied: "Yes, I remember. He came up the stairs sobbing!"

I said, "He was crying?"

"Yes," Cindy said. "He was sobbing. And all he said was, 'SarEl did it! It wasn't me!' "

But we know better, don't we Curious Yonah!

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