Up under the front porch.
That’s where Pawpaw Lee Makelin Huffman, my great-grandfather, used to hide when he was a kid back in the early 1900s.
It was there, right behind the steps, where Pawpaw Lee Make used to lie in wait like a deadly rattlesnake, fierce eyes and gruesome fangs on high alert, his body poised to strike exactly when the moment was right.
Or, specifically, when someone started walking up the steps.
Back then, deep in the country, many folks walked around barefoot. No doubt, after visiting Pawpaw Lee Make’s family, folks made a mental note to get some shoes before they ever came back.
Otherwise, they risked having Pawpaw Lee Make lunge out from between the steps to sink his choppers in their poor feet.
These days, at my house, everyone’s at risk of getting bitten and kissed (and not necessarily in that order) by my teething 1-year-old son, Kason. In fact, while he’s busy growing teeth, Kason’s 6-year-old brother, Kaleb, is busy losing them.
Just days ago, Kaleb lost his first tooth. This, naturally, was followed up with Tooth Fairy enchantment. And this, in turn, resulted with Kaleb’s mommy and me scrambling to determine the best way to ensure the Tooth Fairy could discreetly take possession of the calcified treasure.
Kaleb, you see, is a light sleeper. You could drop a pin on the carpet in his room, and his sleeping eyes would instantly pop open, fully alert.
A nifty plan emerged from some mighty fast brainstorming: Kaleb agreed that he had many, many stuffed animals on his bed, and this could easily cause some serious confusion for the Tooth Fairy during her search.
To make it easier for her, Kaleb agreed to put his tooth in a Ziploc, which was afterward taped to the outside of his bedroom door.
Fulfilling her duty, the Tooth Fairy paid our house a visit. Nobody knows exactly when she stopped by, but the cash that was left in Kaleb’s Ziploc proved she’d made the exchange.
With the exchange, however, came another matter: Kaleb insisted he needed a “money box.”
At one time, he’d made a cardboard money vault, but I reckon that was too big to keep in the house. Otherwise, why would his mommy see fit to take his money out one day and throw the vault away?
To keep this from happening again, Kaleb decided that downsizing was key. As a result, he and his mommy grabbed some cardboard and constructed a genuine, one-of-a-kind money box, complete with a slot for bills and change, plus a little door to open it up to make withdrawals when needed.
Measuring approximately 8 inches long, the money box has two compartments. The biggest, measuring about 6 inches in length and 4 1/2 inches tall, can hold the most funds. The smallest compartment, measuring 3 1/2 inches tall, serves as a bonus extension, offering just a little more extra space for more money if the large compartment should get too full.
That’s my Kaleb. Always planning ahead.
After all, he’s got a lot more baby teeth to lose and more cash to collect. Kason, my other son, has a lot more teeth to grow before he starts losing his.
Until then, I reckon he’ll keep kissin’ and bitin’ folks.
Keith Huffman’s book, “The Portable Creek: Southern Nostalgia and Other Shenanigans,” is available to order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. You can follow Keith Huffman at facebook.com/authorKeithHuffman.