Make yourself at home

Whose hose is it, anyway? A cure for backyard blues

One of us is like Tom Sawyer, I think. Just not sure who.

  • Palm Coast Observer
  • Opinion
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After a stressful day of work, sometimes I want to go home and do something really meaningful and make great memories with my family. But instead, on Monday, I went outside by myself to water the lawn with a garden hose because that’s all the brain power I had left.

Fortunately, as I was unwinding the hose, my son Luke found me.

At 6 years old, Luke is looking for an adventure everywhere. And if he doesn’t find one, he brings one.

“Dad, do you know what a sousaphone is?”

“Not sure,” I said, screwing on the spray nozzle. “A phone used by Dr. Seuss?”

“Dad!” Luke said in his half laugh, half scold.

“OK,” I said, “what is a sousaphone?”

“Well,” he said, thrilled to share his knowledge, which he later told me he learned from his music teacher at school that day. “This guy, John Sousa, played a tuba. And he wanted to play it in the marching band, so he uncurled the tuba in a specific way, and he made a sousaphone instead.”

I looked at Luke for more explanation, but there was no moral to the story, just a fact that amazed him. And he was satisfied with amazement. 

He pulled up a chair next to me, and we watched the water spray on the grass for a while. I had planted seed in a pesky thin patch several days earlier in the backyard, so this was actually a do-or-die moment for that seed. 

In the spray, a rainbow appeared. Then a red cardinal landed in a tree branch.

“Can I try?” Luke asked, holding his hand out for the hose.

This circumstance began to remind me of Tom Sawyer, who tricked his friends into painting the white picket fence for him. I just didn’t know if I was Tom Sawyer, or Luke was.

I gave him the hose, and he immediately started playing with the settings on the nozzle sprayer: shower, full, center. The task at hand was no longer being completed.

“Stick with ‘mist,’ please,” I said. “We’re trying to get the ground wet so the seed will grow.”

Soon, his feet were getting sprayed, then his hands. Finally, I had to take the hose back, and he was gone, running away, happily dissolving into a new adventure back inside the house.

I was left outside, spraying the grass, or lack thereof. None of my problems at work had been resolved, of course, by this little episode.

But in unexplainable ways, I felt restored, once again, by the miracle of a child’s attention.

What mundane household chores do you do with your children or grand children? Email [email protected].



Brian McMillan

Brian McMillan and his wife, Hailey, bought the Observer in 2023. Before taking on his role as publisher, Brian was the editor from 2010 to 2022, winning numerous awards for his column writing, photography and journalism, from the Florida Press Association.

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