A murder of rowdy and obnoxious crows flits from park to park in downtown Charlottetown, stopping only to preen feathers and harass pedestrians. The crows weave through city blocks toward their evening roosts in Victoria Park.

They rush past a man from Japan, likely a tourist. He is swept up in the noise and excitement of it all. He approaches Erin, speaking in broken English.

Man: What.. is.. happening?

Erin: We're crows!

Henry/Jane: Caw! Caw!

Man: Do the people of Char-lot-town dress as crows every year on this day?

Erin: Nope! This is the first time! It's a special night called Art in the Open.

He falls behind as he stops to takes a picture. Erin and the kids are now several dozen steps ahead. He rushes to catch up.

Man: This is.. wonderful!

Erin: I know!

Man: This is...

He searches for the word.

Man:  ..avant-garde!

Erin: It's somethin'! Caw! Caw!

(photo by Beth Johnston)

Blowing up the Sun

In the car.

Me: ...first of all, blowing up the Sun would be pretty tricky. You'd need a very big bomb. Probably bigger than the Earth. And when the Sun blows up, if it doesn't blow up the Earth at the same time, it would likely blast us into deep space. All the air and water around the planet would be blown away. Even if all that stuff didn't happen, without the Sun, the Earth would be colder that you could possibly imagine. Everything would die. I guess what I'm saying is, it's not a good idea to blow up the Sun.

The kids sit quietly thinking for a moment.

Jane: (whispering to Henry) Dad never let us do anything.

Messing with their minds

Lunch. At the picnic table.

Henry: Daaad!  Mum says she can't blink, is that true?

I look at my bride. She is smirking.

Me: Of course it's true.

Erin: My parents were so busy, they never had time to teach me.

Jane: You have to learn how to blink?

Erin: Of course! Don't you remember all the hours we worked on that?

Blank stares.

Me: They were so young. They wouldn't remember.

Kids: Wow.

Me: It's kind of like how I can't move my arms above here.

I raise my straightened arms to about 30 degrees.

Me: I think the doctor said I have some sort of bone-shield covering the socket of my shoulder joint.

Henry: You're making this up!

Me: (calmly) Name one time you've seen me raise my arms higher than this.

They think for a moment.

Me: See? You can't name one time.

Henry: Does it hurt?

Me: (shrugging) No. I just can't do it. You learn to live with it.

The conversation fizzles out. The kids run to the yard to play.

Erin is still wearing her smirk.

Erin: Have we crossed some sort of parenting line?

Me: I think, maybe.

Even wizards need to be polite

Friday supper. At the picnic table.

Henry: (pointing his spoon at various family members) Stupify! Stupify!

Family: Munch munch munch.

Henry: (pointing his spoon at his plate) Wingardium leviosa!

Family: Munch munch munch

Henry: (pointing his spoon at Jane) Avada kedavra!

You know the rule. No unforgivable curses at the table. Please eat your supper.

He shows genuine remorse.

Henry: Sorry, Dad.

He tucks in to the business of eating. He notices his potatoes could use some condiment.

Henry: Accio ketchup!


Henry: Sorry. Accio ketchup, please.