Thursday, August 23, 2007

Farewell, noisy surgeon

Today in his final hour before bidding us farewell and heading back to Berkeley, Uncle Graham performed surgery on Will’s knees. They had both been badly injured, the first when Will fell off a “train” (of chairs) at school and the second when Will fell of his “motorcycle” at home. And the wounds were serious. As Will examined one knee he held up a finger and said, “Look there was a jet ski in my knee!” Soon he found a jet ski in the other knee as well, and Graham decided to become surgeon.

“I think what we’re going to do,” he said to Will, who was lying on the couch in injured patient position, “is take a little piece of your ear to use as cartilage. This ear has a lot of cartilage. See how it moves?” He wiggled Will’s ear. “And sometimes you have to take a little piece of your body and substitute it for another one. And this knee’s not doing so well.”
So Graham injected Novocain into both the knee and the ear and performed cartilage replacement surgery. Then he put invisible casts on both of Will’s legs, making Daffy Duck-like noises as he squeezed the casts on tight.

Will kept insisting the casts were falling off so that Graham would replace them again and again and repeat the silly sound effects.

Will loves his Uncle Graham and his noises.

A bit earlier in the day when I reminded Will that Graham would be flying home to California today, he looked at both of us somberly and said: “Then he can’t make noises.”

“Do you mean you won’t be able to hear his noises?” I asked. Graham’s noise repertoire this week included the sounds of fake flatulence, whale calls (through a cardboard gift wrap tube), loon whistles and other bizarre sound effects.
Will nodded yes, still sad.

“Will you miss his noises?”

“Yes I like his noises. I really like his noises.”

Uncle Graham looked down at Will and said, “I like your noises too.”
Later as Graham and Will smothered each other with kisses for their final goodbye before Will’s nap, I got weepy (as I tend to do whenever I say goodbye to my family after a visit – Colorado and California are both too far away). I situated Will in my lap so he couldn’t see my face, patted my eyes dry and tried to control the little waver in my voice as I read his naptime story.
Because of course in the end I’ll miss Uncle Graham’s noises too.

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