hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


June 27, 2012

Poor Tom's Almanac: A young girl named Alice

Her name is Alice and if you want to get poetic about it, she's sugar and spice — everything nice.

You'll find her at an occasional Boston Celtics games with her dad, Chuck. She's the one dressed in green doing her gyrations in the aisles, just to get noticed on the big screen above the court.

She enjoys pizza and ice cream, the Disney channel and books. A bio sketch tells me she's sometimes emotional, awkward and artistic, cute yet sympathetic. She'll win your heart in an instant, given the chance.

I first met her about five years ago when she escorted her dad to one of our YMCA lakeside outings. It was one of those "guy" soirees and Alice was quickly adopted as a mascot. While we discussed the throes of our men's racquetball games, Alice gushed forth with her own impression.

"My dad says he can whip you all with one hand tied behind his back."

It brought some levity to our charmed circle and a little discernment to the father, but Alice quickly became a regular. Being raised by a single dad left little choice, except for a sitter. We greeted the child with open arms annually.

A job change set Chuck off toward a new path. One day before a game, he voiced his concern. The company was sending him to school in the mid-west and he needed to leave Alice with someone he could trust.

"We'll watch her," I volunteered. "It'll be a pleasure. It's like having a grandchild stay with us."

Actually, we've been blessed with six grandchildren and the older ones have bunked here often. They get to be spoiled with affection and defy all the rules of the house.

"Let the party begin," I proclaimed after dropping her dad at the airport. "It's not Disneyworld, but we'll have our share of fun and games."

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