One of those times was Sunday.
The Pony and I completed the weekly shopping at Walmart. We stashed the purchases in T-Hoe's rear. As I pushed the button to close the hatch, The Pony took the cart to the cart corral.
I know I said there are no words. But Val likes a challenge.
The Pony is usually one of those kids you don't notice. He wears slacks in black or khaki, solid polo shirts, a navy blue hoodie. He blends into the woodwork. Sidles along the wall. Nothing makes him stand out. You could walk right by him five or six times and not remember him. Unless you saw him Sunday returning the cart.
The temperature was 65 degrees, so The Pony opted for shorts. Not that he consciously chose them, but that he put on what I tossed on the back of the couch from the laundry room. It was a pair of royal blue athletic shorts with a white stripe, and a matching (close enough) royal blue knit shirt. The thin kind that dries fast. Completing his ensemble were his navy blue Adidas slides with the white stripe. No socks.
Let the record show that The Pony is loath to shave on the weekend. So he had a little chin stubble, and a scraggly patch under his right ear. He is also loath to trim his toenails, which jutted like raptor talons from the ends of his great toes. Further let the record show that The Pony refuses to pilot a cart in Walmart, no matter how many items I send him after with his own list. He makes four or five trips across the store, arms piled full, until he is finished. No matter how many times I ask him if he would like to take a cart, his answer is "NO!"
Apparently, pushing a cart is more desirable in the parking lot. The Pony grabbed our empty basket and wheeled it around to start his descent past five parking spaces, and across the parking aisle to the cart corral. At first I thought he was going to give it a push, then stand on the back, like I've seen other mothers' helpers do in the past. Uh huh. I thought he was just getting that little run at it, and was going to jump on and ride it down the hill. In fact, I was so certain that I worried a little that he might turn that thing over backwards and crack his skull on the pavement. My worries were unfounded.
The Pony took off with both hands on the cart handle. His head was tilted back in joy, catching the warm rays of the sun. His Terrible-Cuts-needing curly tresses bounced in the breeze. Light reflected off his glasses while he trotted down the parking aisle, his Adidas flapping on the blacktop.
Oh, how he trotted! Like a cross between a Royal Lipizzaner Stallion in the throes of a dressage routine, and a goose-stepping soldier on parade. While still pushing the cart! Indeed! His hand position on the cart handle, and the tilt of his head, were very much like these ragamuffin street urchins playing pretend steeds in the first minute of this clip from the 1968 Best Picture, Oliver!
There he went, in a controlled careen across the asphalt. Or...as it turned out...not so controlled a careen.
THE PONY SLAMMED THAT CART INTO THE HOLLOW METAL RAIL OF THE CART CORRAL!
The cart rebounded, almost upending The Pony. As it were, he was jolted to a stop, that cart shoving him back a good two feet.
The Law of Conservation of Momentum is a harsh taskmaster.
There was a 30-something woman strapping a baby into the back seat of her car, which was parked on the downhill side of the cart corral. She looked over her car roof at the approaching Pony. When he came to a sudden, unintended stop, the expression on her face was priceless. She looked up the hill at me. Like, "Is he yours?" Or, perhaps, "What is wrong with him?"
The Pony galloped back to T-Hoe and climbed into his regular seat behind me. "That kind of hurt. I think my ankle is swelling. It might leave a bruise."
Oh, how I wished technology was my friend! I could have had a viral video, but for my ineptitude. I laughed so hard I almost cried. Even now, I'm chuckling. As I did all day Monday, on the way to school, in the classroom, on the way home...every time the subject came up. The Pony gave me unrestricted permission to tell whomever I desire.
And I desire a lot.