Special Guests

Coming home from work each night is usually the highlight of the day. It’s got nothing to do with how I enjoy working at the Globe, however; after all, there is nothing like walking through the front door and being greeted by two delighted children wrapping their arms around you and screaming "Daddy!"

But every once in a while, I’ve got to play second fiddle. Mommy, of course, gets her fair share of love from G&Z. And Saturday, we had some guests that at times relegated us to mere bystanders in our own abode.

My cousin, Ray, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., yet three years ago began attending Carleton College in Northfield. He had visited a few other private, liberal arts colleges in the Midwest, made Carleton his No. 1 choice and was thus thrilled at his acceptance. We’ve gotten together a few times over the past couple of years, but on each occasion it’s been a trip to see him. I’ve had lunch with him a couple of times on the way up to Minneapolis, and in another instance the kids came with Becca and me up to see him during a Parents’ Weekend to get together with my aunt and uncle.

On Saturday, Ray made the trip to Worthington, and this was colossal news to Grace when we told her he was coming. Grace remembered Ray well from seeing him up at Carleton; she especially enjoyed swimming in the hotel pool with him. (She also especially enjoyed all the time she spent with Ray’s dad, Uncle Larry, and had he been here Saturday the screams would have left those from Beatlemania in the dust.) Unfortunately, Ray’s arrival wouldn’t be until 6 p.m., so the inevitable "When’s Ray coming?" queries had to be endured for some degree of time. These, incidentally, are not nearly as bad as questions of the "are we there yet" variety.

Also of importance was the fact that Ray was bringing his girlfriend, Kate, whom neither of us had met. They were going to be hiking in Blue Mounds State Park in Luverne earlier in the day, then heading back east to our place for supper. When they finally arrived, Grace was immediately smitten with Ray (no surprise there) … and Zach, quite quickly, took to Kate. Meanwhile, Bec and I more or less just sat back and watched.

Ray and Kate were great sports about getting all the attention from our hyper 5- and 2-year-olds. The kids escorted their special guests downstairs (or, as Zach says – and Ray picked up on – "down-mares") after supper, and we later went for a neighborhood stroll, with Grace on her bike riding next to Kate, chatting away. We let G&Z stay up a bit later that night … and when they woke up the next morning, they were asking for Ray and Kate immediately.

Our visitors had to get back on the road pretty quickly in the morning and were no doubt a bit drained from our super-energetic offspring, but they stayed long enough to have breakfast and have a bit more down-mares time. Then they left … and they have been missed. Zachary, particularly, has asked for and jabbered about Kate repeatedly.

The excitement surrounding Ray and Kate, though, has already died down considerably over the last couple of hours. After all, what could possibly top a visit from Grandma and Grandpa?