Charlie’s Room: The Shoehorn

Isaac took the chocolate pudding out of the refrigerator, whisked it, and divided it into three bowls. He carried them to the table, one at a time. First Marianne’s, then Charlie’s, and then he sat down with his own bowl.

“It looks wonderful,” Marianne said.

Isaac sighed. “I forgot to get whipped cream. Chocolate pudding is always better with whipped cream.”

Charlie already had a chocolate beard and mustache. How did that happen so quickly? He grinned. “It’s good. I wish we could have pudding every night.”

Marianne laughed. “If we had pudding every night, you’d get sick of it.”

Charlie frowned. “No I wouldn’t.” He sat up and set his spoon down. “Dad? Can I use your special spoon to eat my pudding? I’ve always wanted to try it.”

“What special spoon?” Isaac looked at Marianne. She shook her head and shrugged.

“The one on your dresser. The shiny metal one.” Charlie sighed. “I’ll go get it and show you.”

He jumped out of his chair and raced out of the kitchen, ignoring Marianne’s reminder to walk. He returned moments later with a metal shoehorn and held it out for them to see.

“That’s a shoehorn, not a spoon,” Marianne said. “It’s for feet. Don’t put it in your mouth.”

Charlie frowned. “But it would be a great spoon. If I wash it, can I use it to eat my pudding?”

Marianne made a face. “No.”

“But…” Charlie looked down at the shoehorn. “What’s a shoehorn anyway? Can it make your shoes play music? How does that work?” He grinned. “I want to try it.”

Isaac laughed. “It doesn’t make music. I wish it did. Musical shoes would be fun.”

“Just eat your pudding.” Marianne pointed to Charlie’s chair. “Sit and eat. No more talking about the shoehorn until after pudding.”

“Oh yeah, the pudding.” Charlie sat down and set the shoehorn next to his bowl. “I still think it would be a great spoon.”

Isaac laughed, and Charlie grinned. Marianne sighed and then smiled. She picked up Charlie’s bowl and set it next to hers. “Well, if you don’t want your pudding…”

Charlie picked up his spoon with a panicked look. “No, I want it. I do.”

Marianne set his bowl back in front of him, and they all laughed. After pudding, Charlie picked up the shoehorn and ran off to get his pajamas on and brush his teeth while Marianne and Isaac did the dishes. They all met in the living room.

Charlie dropped several pairs of shoes in a pile in front of the couch and sat on the rug next to them. He poked one of the shoes with the shoe horn and then wrapped the laces around it. “So, how does it work?” he asked.

“It helps you put your shoes on,” Isaac explained.

Charlie looked at the shoehorn. He flipped it over a couple of times. “Like a robot?”

“Go get my work shoes and I’ll show you,” Isaac said.

Charlie set down the shoehorn and raced to the front closet, ignoring Marianne’s reminder to not run in the house. She sighed. “It must be nice to have that much energy.”

Charlie returned with the shoes and handed them to Isaac. Isaac leaned over and picked up the shoehorn. He placed it in the back of his shoe and then slid his foot in. “Just like that,” he said.

“That’s it?” Charlie looked disappointed. “Why would you even need it? I can put my shoes on just fine without one.”

“I use it so that I don’t bend the back of my nice shoes when I put them on, but it’s also helpful to people who have sore ankles or stiff shoes or things like that.”

Charlie frowned. “I guess that makes sense.” He flopped down on the rug and held out his hand. “Can I try?”

Isaac handed him the shoehorn, and Charlie used it to put his shoes on. “I guess it does make it easier,” he said at last.

“Put your shoes and Daddy’s shoehorn away, and then we can play a game,” Marianne said.

“Can we play Carcassonne?”

Marianne smiled. “Of course.” Charlie scurried off again. Marianne sighed. “Walk!” she called after him. Isaac laughed.

Much later that night, when everyone was in bed and the streetlights shone through the windows, Isaac woke up. He heard a lone horn softly playing music from the dresser. Apparently, it did play music after all.  He smiled, turned over and went back to sleep.

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