Nothing to Do



“Dad, I’m bored.” James seldom whined, so his complaint caught my attention. Ian stood behind him, his arms crossed because I allowed no electronic games.

“Why don’t you go outside?”

“It’s too cold.”

“How about a movie? We have lots.”

“Nothing sounds good,” Ian said.

I glanced out the window at the gray clouds and the overpowering drabness of a January afternoon. The temperature hovered slightly above freezing without a single flake of snow in sight.

“OK, there’s only one thing to do.” I raised my voice. “Sandi, feel like playing a board game?”

She laughed, and a few minutes later, we sat at the table around the game.

“OK, James, this is easy. Just roll the dice, then move your token that number of squares.”

He rolled the dice.

“Two. OK, now move your red guy two spaces.”

James took up his token and placed it on the other side of the board.

“No, see these little squares? You move your guy just two of them. Ian’s turn.”

The dice clattered on the board. “Nine. Move your green guy nine squares.”

Ian slid his token three squares, counting up to eleven. Sandi took his hand in hers and counted off nine squares, then took her turn while I brought up the rear.

“Your turn again, James.”

He rolled the dice off the table and the game stalled while Mom and I looked for the missing die.

Minutes later, Sandi held up the wayward cube. “Found it.”

“Roll again, James, and this time, keep the dice on the table.”

“Nah, I want to watch cartoons.” He sped toward the TV with Ian on his heels.

Sandi winked at me. “My turn?”

I turned toward the boys, absorbed in a cartoon DVD they’d seen dozens of times before.

“Yeah. Your turn.”

 

William R. Bartlett lives in Belton with his family.

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