Sunday, August 10, 2014

What the fox says

Our new friend Addison is a fireball of energy. The only time I saw her still when she visited Fern Forest Treehouse was when she was watching videos of mischievous cats on H’s iPad. Her jumpiness is fine with us. Addie is an eight-year-old athletic marvel. The only girl on her Little League team, she made the All-Star list this past season. Next year she wants to be the pitcher. She also plays basketball, soccer, does gymnastics, and swims.
            Boy, does she swim! Her grandparents Gail and Craig took her to a local swimming hole on the New Haven River on Saturday. From the overhead bridge, an old rope hangs that swimmers used to jump from, but someone attached a new rope that’s longer and sturdier, and that’s what folks use now to swing and drop into the deep pool under the bridge. Addie did that a few times before she got bored. Then she grabbed the rope, swung out, and leaped from the new rope to the old one, swung again and finally let go for a plunge into the pool.
            Remember, she’s eight years old and weighs probably all of sixty pounds.
            Below the pool is a cluster of boulders smoothed by cascading water. Some of the boulders form a chute where the water runs through furiously. I’ve never dared the chute, but H has shot it a few times, always feet first.
            Not Addie. Splayed out like Superman, she rode the rushing water through the chute headfirst and laughed as she was dumped into the lower swimming hole. The water slows down there, and she could leisurely swim to the side where she got a foothold and scrabbled up over the boulders to have another go at the ropes.
            Gail had a tough time keeping up with Addie, but don’t count this grandma out. She took a turn on the rope, too, and bravely let go over the deep water. Craig took several turns, but Addie was audacious. Needless to say, she was fairly worn out that evening and at dinner slipped into slumber in a booth at the Bobcat Café.
            One day she was wearing a tee shirt with “What does the fox say” on the front.
            “I like your tee shirt,” I said. “What does it mean?”
            “It’s a song.” She tried to describe the song to me, but I was having trouble grasping it. So H looked it up on his iPad.
            “Here’s the video,” he said and handed me the tablet. The song is by a group called “Ylvis,” and “The Fox” is a sort of upbeat, modern version of Old MacDonald: “Dog goes woof
/ Cat goes meow 
 /Bird goes tweet 
and mouse goes squeek. / Cow goes moo 
 /Frog goes croak 
and the elephant goes toot. / Ducks say quack
 and fish go blub 
and the seal goes ow ow ow ow ow.”
            The tune is seductively catchy (500 million video hits will attest to that). If you watch the video, you’ll see that the members of the band are handsome and quite young—maybe too young to have kids of their own. I remember reading to my own young son a book called Fox Eyes by Margaret Wise Brown. In the book, the fox only said “Whiskerchoo.” Bry loved it whenever I sneezed the word, which was on nearly every page.
            But Ylvis has pounded author Brown into the ground with their lyrics. Here’s a little bit of what the fox says, according to their song: "Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
And the fox says: “Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
            And the fox says: “Joff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
           The fox says a lot of other things in the song, too. A very vocal fox it is. And since Addie’s visit, I’m a fan of the fox, and I’m a fan of Ylvis. But I’m especially a fan of Addie and her grandparents. They promised to make their visit an annual tradition. I hope they do. I want to hear more about this fox and the feats of courage of our new friend Addison.

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