Helpers at the house: Matt's Memo

Bentley, Travis and Nicholas.

The griddle sizzled. The aroma of blueberry pancakes filled the kitchen. The next order - a side dish of scrambled eggs. Suddenly an assistant chef appeared on the scene. He was light on experience, but heavy on enthusiasm. He happened to be five years old.

Travis and his 7 year old brother Nicholas were visiting with family over the Thanksgiving weekend. Travis had wandered into the kitchen looking to offer a hand with cooking breakfast. Two of his hands are barely big enough to hold an egg, but I seized the opportunity to increase production.

I brought the bowl down beneath the level of the counter so Travis could have a better target for cracking the egg. He gave it one knock against the edge of the counter. I nervously encouraged him to strike a little harder. He did. Then both of us grabbed the egg to dump the yolk and albumen in the bowl without allowing the shell to follow.

Travis had such a big smile on his face. It came from being included. He contributed to the cooking. What a pleasure it was to have him help.

Nicholas was also an able assistant that morning. He learned to befriend our dog Bentley. Bentley couldn't have been happier than to have two new young friends. As each minute passed Nicholas became more at ease with Bentley's energy and love. Soon he and his brother were helping me walk Bentley up the street so he could do his business.

The boys are a constant chatter of curiosity. They wonder and ask. They offer explanations.

When it was time to load up the car for their return trip to North Carolina Bentley was suddenly in the back seat. He nearly made his way out of suddenly snowy Central New York. If it had been a trade for Travis and Nicholas we might have taken the deal.

Instead I grabbed Bentley from the back seat. The boys offered a big hug. They hit the road leaving behind a fresh perspective and the promise of doing their part again on their next visit.

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