Tag Archives: large smelly boys

Five Years at the Opera with the Large Smelly Boy

Mixed-media collage by Laura Grimes
Mixed-media collage by Laura Grimes



It’s been only five years since I took the Small Large Smelly Boy to his first opera? It’s already been a whole five years?

During that time I’ve thought frequently about the post I wrote after I took him to Portland Opera’s double bill of Pagliacci and Carmina Burana in fall 2010, when he was 12 years old. At least a few times every year I think about writing an update: What’s he doing now? Did it take? What’s happened since then? How old is he now? Did that first opera change his life like all the ta-DUM-ing in the post?

That whole event back then seemed like just life. A night out on the town with my lad after he took out the trash. A quick documentation of a special occasion. But I had no idea how much it would resonate and grow long-long legs and, well, if not change the course of history, then at least skew its trajectory just a bit.

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Balls, burritos and blasts from the past

I got balls.

By Laura Grimes

Dear Mr. Scatter,

I finished dusting my balls, recurating them, and I added an avocado pit to the collection. Can you guess which one it is?*

I know you think I just lobbed you a big fat softball (I have two in my collection) so you can make a smartass comeback, but then I would just have to emphasize softball, so let’s leave it at that.

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Caution: Blogjacking in progress

By Laura Grimes

Quick. Mr. Scatter is on the road, so let’s post while he’s not looking.

Some people call. Some people text. I believe in the more sneaky form of communication — surprise blog posts broadcast to the world. Consider them entertainment and information all scrolled into one.

Dear Mr. Scatter,

What’s news since you left this morning?

Holy hot tub, I received an email with the below attached picture of a souvenir for the upcoming royal wedding (it’s good to have friends in low places). If you can’t tell, they’re tea bags.

Royal tea bags

Continue reading Caution: Blogjacking in progress

Mr. Scatter at home on the road

Mr. Scatter's home away from home?

By Bob Hicks

Once again Mr. Scatter has scarpered off to the rainy northlands, abandoning hearth and home and leaving Mrs. Scatter to the unruly task of caring for the Large Smelly Boys. (Two words, Mrs. Scatter: fumigation service.)

The wide world is cold and scary, and yet sometimes one can find one’s self at home in the most surprising of places. For instance, Mr. Scatter and his Crumpled Toyota galumphed unexpectedly into the roadside attraction shown above – Scatter Creek Safety Rest Area – and felt not just refreshed, but also downright welcomed. It was like finding a lost branch of the family and settling in for a neat bourbon and a friendly getting-to-know-you chat. Mr. Scatter assumes that Scatter Creek itself lies somewhere in the immediate vicinity, but he’s not entirely sure: the whole place was so drenched with downpour, it was all creek to him.

Perversely desired liquid, now R.I.P.This particular wayside shelter is a few miles south of Tumwater, Washington, a town known in Mr. Scatter’s youth as home to a strictly prohibited and thus perversely desired pale yellow liquid known as Olympia Beer — or more familiarly, Oly, which sounded like a misspelled Norwegian lumberjack. (That was not an entire unlikelihood in this neck of the woods.)

Tumwater was many, many miles ago. Mr. Scatter and the Crumpled Toyota have surged ever forward into the dark wet north, on beyond Chuckanut and the wrinkled geoduck and a four-flush of sad-eyed, brightly blinking casino signs. Mr. Scatter has dressed in his plaid flannel shirt and flannel-lined jeans in hopes of blending in with the wildlife, some of which also are sheathed in sleek and brightly colored water-wicking outer skins with the word “REI” or “Patagonia” tattooed on their breasts. It is a rugged and exotic environment, broken up occasionally by tiny pioneer settlements with names like “Bug” and “Jam.” *

therockyandbullwinkleshow1Mr. Scatter is a coffee man, not a tea man, and so if he happens to come across a moose in his northern wanderings, he will not shoot. Instead he’ll pause to pass the time of day and enquire politely after the health of his old friend, Rocky. Even in the wilderness, one should be civilized. Are you listening, Large Smelly Boys?


* This is an actual fact. The town of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, was originally known as Bug. The town of Ferndale, Washington, was originally called Jam. Not all change is progress.

Thankless holiday goes up in flames

This oven looks freakishly like Mr. and Mrs. Scatter's old one that caught fire. Many thanks to the Small Large Smelly Boy (Felix/Martha) for the splendid design that cleverly covered up the baked-on grime on the bottom. Wikimedia Commons and Felix/Martha

By Laura Grimes

Two days to T-day!

Mr. and Mrs. Scatter love planning Thanksgiving dinner, even if it’s just them and The Large Smelly Boys. They love writing up the menu, ferreting out the special recipe file, taking stock of ingredients, making lists, shopping, splaying out the bounty.

Then on Thanksgiving day, they put on music and start chopping. They put out a nice spread of appetizers and pour some wine. They both happily bustle around the kitchen, nibbling and testing. The big feast is a time of thanks, good food and good friends, but, really, it’s the long, slow process of getting there that they savor. Basically, it’s Norman Rockwell meets Currier and Ives, if only their paintings could also convey the cozy warmth of a fuzzy blanket and scratch ‘n’ sniff cooking smells. Yes, that’s exactly the Scatter household on Thanksgiving day.

WAIT A SEC! WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! Back up to the “splaying out the bounty” part.

A handful of years back, Mr. and Mrs. Scatter were at this point in the process, a few days before T-Day. They had just finished the exhausting list-making and marathon shopping. They had just unloaded all the bags and set out all the food.

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Here there be faeries: fantastic, isn’t it?

Lucas Threefoot as the Bluebird in Oregon Ballet Theatre's "The Sleeping Beauty." Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

By Bob Hicks

“People must love fairy tales,” the fellow said, and then he laughed, in something that sounded like happy, faintly embarrassed resignation. “Me, too, I guess,” his laughter seemed to say.

The man and his companion were standing behind Mr. Scatter’s shoulders, in a Keller Auditorium crowded with people on their feet, most clapping loudly and a few even whistling and stomping and shouting out, during Saturday night’s curtain call for the final performance of Oregon Ballet Theatre‘s The Sleeping Beauty. Next to Mr. Scatter, the Small Large Smelly Boy, who is rapidly developing into an enthusiastic and discriminating follower of the ballet, had also risen to his feet, although as always he declined to clap: that would be too demonstrative.

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The language that brings us together


By Laura Grimes

Wordstock is all about community. It’s about taking the very private act of reading and celebrating it with a giant public festival that attracts thousands of people. It’s a shared experience of language. It’s stories that connect people.

Over two packed weekend days at the Oregon Convention Center, it was a treat to hear one writer after another and glean their personal experiences. But the stories that stand out for me the most were in the first two hours.

I arrived on Saturday right at 10 a.m. when it opened. I hadn’t planned to be an eager beaver, but The Large Large Smelly Boy had to be somewhere and Mr. Scatter dropped me off.

The readings and panels hadn’t started yet so I cruised the aisles. I nearly passed by the booth for Title Wave, the store that sells books that have been withdrawn from the Multnomah County Library system, but a cover caught my eye. I had been helping the Large Large Smelly Boy look for it at home just two nights before. I walked over to the shelf.

A clutch of five volunteers were bunched in the middle and one whispered excitedly, “We have a customer!”

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What we have here is a failure to concoct a drink

Just waiting for a mad scientist./Wikimedia CommonsBy Laura Grimes

THE SCENE: Mr. and Mrs. Scatter arrive home late one muggy evening after going to The Theatre. It’s October, when mad science takes over without warning. The Small Large Smelly Boy is waiting on the front porch to greet his adoring parents. The He Cat’s nose is just behind the slit door.


(Gives his beloved mother a big hug.) I’m ready for a martini with two olives.

(Mrs. Scatter and The Small LSB unhug and open the front door. The He Cat bolts out the door.)


Hi, Jack the Barfer.


(Laughing.) Why Jack the Barfer?

Continue reading What we have here is a failure to concoct a drink

The first pickle pass-off went down!

By Laura Grimes

Kickass Ginger Molasses CookiesThe first large jar of spicy dill pickles vintage 2010 has launched into the world. It was exchanged over morning coffee for kickass ginger molasses cookies. Just in the nick of time, too. A pack of Large Smelly Boys took over the house. (How rude of teachers to have an in-service day.)

The list of barter offers has grown slightly since the last update (see below).

Because we’re a 75 percent meat-free household, we’re working on a multiple trade for the elk meat. Not to worry, the vendor said: “A three-way always sounds fun.”

Continue reading The first pickle pass-off went down!

Get kids to read without really trying: 1

By Laura Grimes

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck“Why didn’t you tell me a naked lady runs down the street with a giant snake?”

I jokingly chided Mr. Scatter that it was all his fault that I was completely unprepared to read this rip-snorting scene while on a crowded bus and that I was forced to stifle gut-busting laughter until I couldn’t breathe and had to spill out onto the sidewalk.

But before I innocently chatted up Mr. Scatter, I did two things: I made sure one Large Smelly Boy was within earshot and then the other.

“What lady? Where?”

The LSBs immediately drew closer and wanted to know details.

Continue reading Get kids to read without really trying: 1