Honeybug Gifts

January 14, 2012

It was a white ceramic Williams & Sonoma quiche dish decorated with painted red strawberries that I got at the W.I.N. store for $4, but it did seem to be a treasure to our guest who came right downstairs after finding it, hugged me tight, and thanked me for their anniversary gift.

It’s important to me to hunt for the little things that might matter. You just never know where someone might’ve been before he got to you.

“Maybe in those first few years my life slowly opened, curled like cupped hands, a receptacle open to the gifts God gives”…. But there was the “moment the cosmos shifted, shattering any cupping of hands.” pp 1, 2, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, 2010.

By the end of third grade, most of the kids’ baby teeth were gone. The permanent ones had arrived in their mouths. Around fourth grade something similar happens with their eyes. The baby eyes don’t drop out, nor are there eye fairies around to leave quarters under pillows, but new eyes do arrive nevertheless. Big-kid eyes replace little-kid eyes.
Little-kid eyes are scoopers. They just scoop up everything they see and swallow it whole, no questions asked. Big-kid eyes are picky. They notice things that the little-kid eyes never bothered with: the way a teacher blows her nose, the way a kid dresses or pronounces a word.
Twenty-seven classmates now turn their new big-kid eyes to Zinkoff, and suddenly they see things they haven’t seen before. Zinkoff has always been messy and atrocious and too early and giggly and slow and more often than not wrong in his answers. But now they notice. They notice the stars on his shirts and his atrocious hair and his atrocious way of walking and the atrocious way he volunteers for everything. They notice it all….
It is in the first week of June of that year that Zinkoff is most profoundly discovered. It happens during Field Day….

They file by. Some whisper the word. Some say it aloud. Each pronounces it perfectly.

He hopes his parents won’t ask him about Field Day at dinner, but they do. …
And he thinks he’s out of the woods when Polly pipes up: “Didja win?”
He screams at her. “No! Okay?”
And everybody stops chewing and stares and he runs from the dinner table crying. He half expects his father to follow him up to his room, but he doesn’t. Instead, he calls up: “Hey, want to go for a ride?” Zinkoff is always asking to go for a ride, and his father always says not unless there’s someplace particular to go, or it’s a waste of gas.
Zinkoff doesn’t need to be asked twice. he flies downstairs and off they go in Clunker Six. There’s some chitchat in the car, but most of it goes from his father to the jittery dashboard. “Easy there, honeybug…no big deal…I’m right here…” The rest is just a ride to no place in particular, wasting gas galore.
Even in bed that night Zinkoff can still feel the shake and shimmy of the old rattletrap, and coming through loud and clear is a message that was never said. He knows that he could lose a thousand races and his father will never give up on him. He knows that if he ever springs a leak or throws a gasket, his dad will be there with duct tape and chewing gum to patch him up, that no matter how much he rattles and knocks, he will always be a honeybug to his dad, never a clunker.
pp 98 – 100, 107-108, Loser, Jerry Spinelli, 2002.

A gift here. A few homemade cookies there. Who knows? Maybe even a honeybug word. You just never know.



  1. Laura Hoopes says:

    Hi Cheryl,
    I need to read your blog more often! What an inspiring story! Thank you, hugs, Laura

  2. Joan says:

    Beautiful blog….love the “loser” excerpt

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