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The last week before the March break was Glen's first full week of school in town. He was settling in fairly nicely and making a big effort to do his homework regularly. He was taking to heart the promise he made to us to try harder to conform to our two rules. He even asked Dana and me a couple of times to help him with some things he got stuck with. He had also bonded with Ms. Bell as she instantly recognized his talent.
"That's a wonderful pencil drawing of the old oak tree outside the classroom," Dana said.
"Ms. Bell helped me with some of the perspective to get the bare branches with the snow on them just right," he said with a very proud smile.
He also had started to listen as Dana and I tried to bend his moral code towards something more ethical than what we had observed sometimes. I had a talk with him about relationships with the opposite sex and given what he had told me about his multiple partner extra-curricular activities, I impressed upon him my view that sex and love should go together.
"We can always get you one of those inflatable dolls if it's just sex that you want. That way you don't have to worry about using a condom and you don't even have to talk to it," I said. He was a little shocked at my bluntness, but he got the message.
Not only was he much more pleasant to live with, he was a much happier kid. I credited some of that to Sean and Jake who had made an extra effort at school to take him under their wing. They had taken him into their rather extensive circle of friends and he was fitting in quite well, particularly with the girls. He was a good looking young man with his trim body and dark long hair and certainly wasn't shy around females. The boys were also keeping tabs on him to make sure he wasn't skipping or getting in with the wrong kids.
"He didn't want to present this report in English and Jake and I knew he was going to skip the class after lunch," Sean said.
"We told him we wanted to see his teacher, Ms. Eruzia, because he told us she was hot, so we walked with him to class," Jake said.
"And he was right," Sean said, as the two of them looked at each other and smiled.
John Webster was making a very good recovery and the doctors indicated that soon he would be to the point where he wouldn't need to be in the hospital. We had a meeting where his physiotherapists, social worker and his physician were present, to plot out his next steps. The plan was that he would be transferred to a community based care facility after we got back from Disney, to continue the rehabilitation.
He was also very happy that the boys were getting a chance to go to Disney World, which was something he dreamed of doing with them but never thought he'd be able to take them there.
"I'm so glad you boys are getting a chance to go. I really wish I could be there with you and see how much fun you two have," he said when we were getting ready to leave after our last visit.
We got luggage for both of the boys, as they didn't have any decent stuff to take to Florida. Garth had his packed about a half hour after we brought them home from the store. He had included just about every piece of clothing in his dresser and closet that wasn't in the laundry.
"How come you didn't pack your hockey equipment," I said, as Dana and I were in his room that night to put him to bed.
"Are we playing hockey in Florida?" he asked.
He was annoyed when Dana started to chuckle and he realized I was teasing him. We told him we would look over his packing tomorrow to make sure he had everything he needed and he finally calmed down.
"I think you could probably leave some of your winter clothes at home. It'll be a little warmer there than here," Dana said, as she gave him a big smile and sat down to read with him. It was her turn that night and they were just about to finish the 'Talking Toilets' book.
"Let's see what Captain Underpants does with those talking toilets," she said to him with a big smile, as I left the room.
We were flying out on a private jet from Pearson airport in Toronto at 11:30 on Saturday morning of the March break. We told the boys they needed to be up at 6:30 so they could get ready and have breakfast so we could get there in time to clear security. Dana and I were up at 6:00 and got showered and ready. I was first to go to the Kitchen and when I got there Garth was dressed and sitting on a stool at the breakfast bar with a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal in front of him. Beside him was Glen, also dressed and eating.
"You two are eager this morning. Did you get any sleep at all last night?" I asked.
"Someone was up at 5:00 o'clock bugging me to get up," Glen said as he gave Garth a look. Garth just giggled.
I knew Glen wasn't too annoyed, as his look didn't have the usual daggers when he was mad at his brother. He didn't want to admit it, but he was as excited at the trip as Garth was.
I thought that Jake was chatty when he was excited, but Garth was redefining the the term. He had to tell everyone that we came into contact with in the limousine and at the airport that we were going to Disney and this was his first time there. He even had the security guard chuckling after he had walked through the scanner and told him that it looked like one of the rides at Disney that his friend Miguel had described to him.
"Who wound him up this morning," Sean said to Glen as we were sitting in the lounge waiting to board the plane. The three boys just chuckled as Garth was regaling us about another of his important eight year old concerns.
The flight attendant on the plane got a big kick out of Garth and was very patient with him. After we were in flight he took all the boys to the cabin to see the cockpit and talk to the pilots. Sean and Jake had already had that experience, so they let Glen and Garth stand in front of them while they were shown all the instruments. Both Glen and Garth were fascinated as the pilot told them what all the instruments were for. Garth then had to tell us everything that he could remember about what the pilot had told him when he sat back down.
"And then he flaps the wings and we go into the air," he said, with a serious look on his face.
After about an hour into the flight, the lack of sleep caught up to Garth. His eyes were getting very heavy as he was looking out the window at the ground below. Finally he was sound asleep. I got a pillow and gently placed it between his head and the side of the seat.
Sean and Jake spent much of the flight telling Glen about Disney World and a lot of the things they were going to do over the week. Their friendship was continuing to strengthen as the weeks went by and they enjoyed each others' company.
I had rented a Lincoln Navigator to use for the days we would be in Naples, as the BMW wasn't big enough for all of us. Melissa and Rachel would also be there with Melissa's grandmother, Anne, at her place and I was sure there would be times they were going to be going places with us. Melissa and Rachel were becoming good friends and Melissa had asked her to come to Naples with her. Rachel was thrilled, not only for the chance to spend time with Melissa and go to Florida, but also for the fact that she would be able to spend some time with Jake. Their relationship was growing beyond the intellectual attraction that had initially drawn them together.
Glen and Garth were just in awe as we drove from the airport to the house in Naples. They were both pretty quiet as they took everything in and were acting as if they were having a dream, even though Sean and Jake had told them a lot about what they were going to see and experience.
"I've never seen real palm trees before," Glen said, with a big smile, as we drove through the gates to our gated community.
"Do we get to swim in the pool," Garth said, excitedly, as we took them on a quick tour of the place. Even though we had a pool at the house in Canada, he hadn't really seen it as it was covered with snow.
After we got settled we told the boys we were going to go shopping for food and clothes. Sean and Jake had outgrown a lot of their summer stuff and Garth and Glen didn't have enough summer weight clothing for the week.
"You and Garth are going to need a few more things to wear than you brought, Glen. Besides, I'm sure both of you have outgrown a lot of your stuff from last summer, just like Sean and Jake," I said.
I told him that we were just spending the allowance that CAS gave us for their care, because his pride was once again showing through. He didn't protest and was grateful for what we were doing for him and Garth. He didn't believe me though, but he didn't say anything else and the looks we exchanged said it all.
The surfer look was really in and we got all of the boys some nylon and spandex surfer t-shirts with UV protection, along with swim shorts, cotton cargo pants and velvet print cotton oversized t-shirts. Sean was the fashion consultant as we looked through the stuff and he made suggestions to the other boys as to what looked good.
"The orange and blue spandex top looks cool with those flower print shorts," he said to Garth as he came out of the dressing room.
Garth also fell in love with a pair of bright blue Crocs. We were a little concerned that they wouldn't be as good for his feet as sandals, but the sales person assured us they would be comfortable and provide his feet with good support. We also got him and Glen a good quality pair of running shoes to walk around Disney.
"Those Crocs are so bright I'm sure they glow in the dark," Dana said to Garth as she patted him on the back as we left the store with him wearing them. He just giggled.
We were hungry and we decided to eat at the Cracker Barrel restaurant, which was a chain of restaurants that wasn't in Canada. Thank goodness they made grilled cheese sandwiches, as we were a little apprehensive about eating out in restaurants with Garth's peculiar eating habits. He was very happy with his meal and afterwards we browsed in the gift shop that was in the front of every one of their restaurants. Sean, Jake, Glen and I weren't too interested; however Dana and Garth were, for different reasons.
"They always have such interesting things that we can't get in Canada," Dana said. I just smiled as it looked like all the same stuff to me in the many Canadian gift shops we had been in.
Garth was off by himself looking at some stuffed animals and when I went over he was examining a squirrel.
"Mandy, my friend from school, told me about these. They're Webkinz. They're neat," he said, as he gave me a big smile.
He explained to me that they were like a real pet and you could go online and play with it. By now Dana had joined us and she knew all about them.
"I'll bet they have a much better selection at ToysRUs," she said.
On the way home we made a stop and picked up a better version of the squirrel and Garth was ecstatic. We had got Glen a camera, so we didn't feel that we were playing favourites by buying this for him. We were trying to keep things somewhat equal in anything we bought for the boys.
"You'll have to give it a name," I said as we drove back.
The other boys gave him suggestions and after about five minutes he had decided.
"I'm going to call him 'Bushy', cause of his tail," he said as he hugged him.
When we got into the house, Garth was dying to register 'Bushy', so Dana and he went off to the computer and got things set up. He wanted to spend some more time on the computer and it was all we could do to tear him away.
"I thought you were excited about going swimming," I said.
He finally got his swimsuit on and joined the other boys in the pool. All four of them loved the water and had a great time splashing and playing around while Dana and I had a glass of wine on the deck and watched them. We were both happy that Sean was very satisfied about the look of his back after the procedure to remove the scars and didn't feel the need to swim with a t-shirt on this year. We took a short dip with them, but we were enjoying watching the four of them interact. We told Garth to stay in the shallow end and the boys involved him as much as possible in their game of Pirate they were playing with the foam woggles.
Periodically, Glen got out of the pool and took pictures of the boys with his new camera. Sean and Jake had shown him the basics of how the camera worked but he really didn't need any more instruction than that. He was technologically savvy and with his artistic talent he took some great pictures. I wasn't into cameras and photography, but I knew the difference between a good picture and ones that weren't.
"That's really quite an interesting shot, Glen," Dana said, as he showed us what he had taken. He had managed to capture the action at the precise moment, as Jake had whacked the water in front of Garth with his woggle and splashed him.
"That'd be a great one to load onto my Facebook page," he said.
"You seem to be very interested in this. I should hook you up with my brother-in-law, who teaches a photography course at the college at home," I said.
Lorraine's brother was an excellent amateur photographer and had done a great job with our wedding pictures in the fall. I knew he would be more than happy to help Glen, as he was very passionate about photography.
While we were eating dinner later that evening, Sean and Jake were a little distracted and kept looking down in their laps. We realized that they were texting on their iPhones. We were also guessing that it was Rachel and Melissa, who were the recipients of those messages, as they were coming in the next day.
"Boys, turn those off. This is a holiday and you don't need to be texting while we eat. This is a time to share conversation," I said.
The next day we didn't do too much, except swim in the pool and some shopping. We also were getting ready for the dinner and dance at the club that night. Sean and Jake wanted Dana to help them brush up on their dance steps, which they hadn't had much practice with since the last year. Dana also spent some time with Glen and Garth. The plan was that they would dance with Dana, so they wouldn't feel left out.
Glen was a little reluctant, but Dana wasn't letting him off the hook. When he got over his hesitation, he wasn't a bad dancer. Garth on the other hand was a riot. He didn't know why he had to learn to dance and his version of the two step was rocking from side-to-side.
"And try not to step on my feet, Garth. You don't have to take such big steps," Dana said, as she chuckled.
All the boys looked very grown up as they were dressed in their suits to go to the club for dinner and the dance afterwards. Sean and Jake were particularly excited, as they were looking forward to seeing Melissa and Rachel. Glen looked very different in his new suit and it was obvious he wasn't used to wearing a dress shirt and tie, as he stretched his neck to get comfortable.
"You clean up pretty well, young fellow," I said, as I laughed and patted him on the back.
"Al, don't tease Glen. He looks very handsome," Dana said, as she gave him a big smile as she straightened his tie.
He really did look very good in the black suit with grey pinstripes we got from Lou's for him. He had an excellent sense of style and colour and had overruled Sean's choice of tie and chose a yellow one with a grey dot through it that matched the pinstripe in the suit. Lou was impressed and complemented him on his taste, as he also picked out the suit himself. Even with his long dark hair he looked very good in the formal wear. He was also a little nervous, which was something we hadn't seen from him before. He was too cool to say why, but I knew it was because he had never been to a formal function like this in such posh surroundings.
Garth looked very grown up in his blue blazer and grey pants. He also was a little uncomfortable wearing a dress shirt and tie, but the praise he was getting from all of us made him quickly forget about it.
"You have to stand right here, Garth. Now don't move," Glen said, as he arranged us all for a picture. He had learned how to use the delay on his camera and was setting things up for a group picture before we left.
I was a little quiet as we drove over to the club and Dana knew something was wrong. When we got there the boys were walking ahead of us and she asked me why I was in a reflective mood.
"I'm having a flashback. Last year Sean and Jake were a pair of good looking boys in their suits, but now they're two handsome young men with girlfriends." She gave me a big smile as she took my arm as we walked into the lobby.
When we got into the dining room, we were seated at the table next to Melissa, Rachel, her grandmother, Anne, and her gentleman friend, Monty. Naturally Sean and Jake didn't take their seats until they had greeted Melissa and Rachel. The two couples had a rather extended embrace, but they restrained themselves and didn't end up in a lip lock, which is what they really wanted to do.
"I guess you four want to sit together," I said, as we all laughed.
Anne and I asked the maitre'd to put the two tables together and the love birds were quite happy as they sat beside each other. Anne got us caught up on her life and it seemed that things were moving forward for her, as she was very happy in her relationship with Monty. She also was intrigued at the situation with Glen and Garth and we brought her up-to-date.
"You two boys are very lucky to have such wonderful foster parents while your dad recovers," she said.
It wasn't long after that the Airdons came in and sat down at a table near us. When Mara saw Jake, she came over to see him. It was obvious she still wasn't over him yet, but she knew that he was taken and didn't try to make any moves on him. However, when Glen was introduced she had a hard time taking her eyes off him after that. The feeling was mutual, as he kept glancing over to her table as we ate.
At one point I leaned over to him and asked, "Is your neck sore?" He looked at me with a puzzled look, but then realized what I meant and gave me a sheepish smile.
Dinner was great and we managed to get Garth something that he was pleased with. The young waitress, who was a very good looking blonde girl in her early twenties, made sure that nothing touched anything on his plate and made a big fuss over him.
"I had the chef make a little crater on the top of your mashed potatoes so the butter doesn't roll down and go into your peas," she said, as she put the plate in front of him and gave him a big smile.
After she left, Garth turned to Glen and said, "She's really pretty, isn't she."
Glen wasn't paying attention to him, as he was still looking at her as she walked towards the Kitchen.
When the dance started, Sean, Melissa, Jake and Rachel went to the dance floor. Glen then asked Dana if it was Ok to go ask Mara to dance.
"If you don't hurry she's going to beat you to it," she said, as she gave him a big smile.
Garth was occupied entertaining Anne and Monty and telling them about a number of things he felt were important, such as 'Bushy', his new clothes and the 'Talking Toilets' book. They were getting a big kick out of him and were enjoying his company. It gave Dana and me a chance to get in a couple of dances.
"I'm glad I could squeeze you in, Al. My dance card isn't as full now that Mara's here," she said, as she chuckled.
When we got back to the table, Sean and Melissa were talking to Garth.
"She's really cute and she's your age," Melissa said.
"We'll go over with you and you can ask her to dance," Sean said, as the two of them gave him a big smile.
They had found a little girl with her grandparents at another table on the other side of the dance floor and they were playing matchmaker. After some coaxing from all of us at the table he reluctantly agreed. We saw Sean and Melissa talk to the grandparents and the next thing we knew Garth and the little girl were on the dance floor beside Sean and Melissa. Garth remembered what Dana had shown him and took her hand and put his arm behind her back. However, he forgot the rest of the instruction and went back to his version of the two step for the duration of the song.
"Oh my goodness. That little monkey wasn't paying attention to a thing I showed him," Dana said, with a disgusted look on her face.
He walked her back to her table and was talking to the grandparents and the next thing we knew the two of them were headed to our table.
"This is Sandy. She's with her Grandma and Grandpa. She's from New York," Garth said, with a big smile.
Darling was her last name and she certainly was, as she was a cute little girl, with curly blonde hair and green eyes. She wasn't too shy and told us a few things about herself. She was staying with her grandparents who owned a home on the other side of the gated community.
At one point I leaned over and whispered in Garth's ear, "I thought you said girls are yucky."
"Sandy's not like a real girl," he whispered back, and then giggled.
Garth and Sandy talked for a little while and then Garth asked, "Can I go to Sandy's table to talk to her Grans again?"
"That little boy is delightful," Anne said, as they took off across the dance floor. We agreed.
Sean, Melissa, Rachel and Jake left the dining room during the band's break. It had been a while since they were together and we knew that they were 'catching up' on things. I wasn't going to go searching for them this year, as I was confident, given the talk I had with both Sean and Jake, that they would make good decisions.
Glen and Mara were getting along very well and spent a fair bit of time talking at the Airdon's table, as well as dancing. Mara was a very good looking girl with her long brown hair and low cut black dress, something that hadn't gone unnoticed by Glen. It was obvious Glen was charming and certainly was not shy.
"You and Mara seemed to get along well," Dana said to Glen as he was getting ready for bed that night.
"She's a really nice girl. She's really into Art too," he said.
"I'm glad you had a good time, young man. I'm also glad you had a good chat with Mara and got to know her," I said, as I gave him a smile. He got the drift of my meaning that he was treating her as something other than one of his conquests.
Over the next two days we had the boys enrolled in golf school once again. Melissa, Sean and Jake were in the same class, Glen, Rachel and Mara, who now had a new found interest in the game, were in the beginner's class and Garth was in the younger beginners age group with Sandy.
We had outfitted both Glen and Garth with everything they needed for golf, including the clothing. Glen wasn't into hats and objected to wearing one. However, Dana was insistent that he needed one since they would be out in the sun for a few hours.
"I think you forgot something. Here, let me help you," she said, as she put the hat on his head.
"I'm going to have hat head when I'm finished," he grumbled, as he walked out the door. He looked like a number of the younger golfers on the PGA tour, with his long hair flowing out from underneath the hat.
All four boys had left-handed clubs, as that was the way they played hockey. It was much easier to get left-handed clubs these days, which wasn't the case when I took up the game, otherwise I would have been left-handed as well. The success Mike Weir from Canada had on the PGA tour had led to a lot of young Canadian boys taking up the game as leftys, as that was the way a lot of them held their hockey sticks when they played.
"Now we have four Mike Weirs in the house. It'll be obvious who the Canadians are on the range," I said, as I chuckled.
When we were dropping Garth off the first day, Dana went to give him a kiss before he went off to join his class on the range. He was embarrassed because Sandy was watching and screwed up his face as Dana pulled him close.
"Garth Webster! You're not too big that I can't kiss you in public," she said, as she scolded him. He smiled, wiped his cheek and bounced on over to the range.
We stayed for the first twenty minutes and observed their lesson. The young pro had them practice the swing with a club for a few minutes before they actually hit the ball. It looked like Garth and Sandy took in what he was telling them, but when it came time to hit the ball off a tee, Garth's swing looked suspiciously like he was shooting a hockey puck. The pro spent another few minutes getting him back to a golf swing and was very patient with him.
"That poor young pro has his work cut out for him," Dana said, as we laughed.
All the kids were having a good time, but it was a shortened version of what they were enrolled in the year before, as the school was over after two days.
Sean, Melissa and Jake were becoming very competent golfers and the pro that was doing their instruction had managed to make some significant changes to their swings. All three of them were hitting the ball with more confidence at the end of the two days.
Glen, Rachel and Mara also had a great time and looked like they had the potential to become good golfers. All three of them were pretty good athletes and picked up on the instruction very quickly. The bond between Mara and Glen was growing stronger with each day and I was glad to see that they were at ease in each other's company and seemed to have some common interests.
Garth and Sandy were so cute together, as they learned the basics of the game. Garth was quite an outgoing little boy and on a few occasions over the two days had taken it upon himself to give Sandy his expert opinion on her swing and what she was doing wrong. The young pro got a big kick out of him.
"Garth, I don't think telling Sandy to 'give the ball a big smash' is a good swing thought," he said, as we laughed when we were watching the second day.
Anne, Monty, Dana and I watched the ending competitions and were very pleased at the progress of each of the kids. The beginner group played one hole as the parents watched. Both Garth and Sandy were able to hit the ball each time and had a fair idea of the mechanics of the golf swing.
The older kids hadn't played their competition at that point and were watching Garth and Sandy. They followed them down the hole as they played and when they finished they gave Garth and Sandy a big cheer.
"Did you see my drive? It was really, really long," he said, as he ran over to us after he finished the hole.
"We could hardly see it, it went so far," I said, as Dana and I gave him a hug and chuckled.
"You're supposed to tip your hat to the gallery when they clap and cheer," Jake said to Garth, as the kids laughed.
The next day the girls came over to swim, including Sandy. Her grandparents had dropped her off and were going to pick her up on their way back from shopping. We sat under the shade of the umbrella at poolside while the kids swam. Anne, and Monty stayed for a while and chatted, but left after about an hour. Garth and Sandy tired of the pool and ended up inside where Garth was showing her his Webkinz, 'Bushy'. They spent a lot of time on the computer playing with his virtual pet. After a while we followed Garth and Sandy inside to give the bigger kids some privacy. After about twenty minutes we looked out and Sean and Melissa were sitting very closely together face-to-face on a lounger. They were holding each other's hands and were having a quiet conversation. Jake and Rachel were doing the same, only they were in the pool hanging over the edge of an air mattress. Glen and Mara were sitting at the patio table and were chatting away.
"Isn't young love wonderful?" Dana asked, as she took my hand as we were looking out the window.
"It doesn't have to be young to be wonderful," I said, as I leaned over and gave her a kiss.
Mara's parents came to get her before dinner, as they had a reservation at one of the restaurants in Naples and were going to a show afterwards. Glen was a little lost after she left, as we could see that he was smitten, as was Mara.
"I'm sure you've exchanged emails. Besides, she lives a block from Melissa in Toronto. That's not that far away," Dana said, as she gave him a big smile.
After dinner it was time for Melissa and Rachel to go. Sean and Jake wanted to walk them to Anne's house, which was a few blocks away. It was still light out so we agreed. I also knew there was a park on the way, where I was sure they were going to spend some time before they got to the house. When they left, both couples were holding hands as they walked away.
In the meantime, Glen was being a good brother to Garth and was patiently playing with his online Webkinz. It was a very strong bond between the two of them and for the most part Glen was very patient with him, despite the age difference. An hour later Sean and Jake came back with contented looks on their faces.
"How was the park?" I asked.
"How'd you know?" Jake said, as the two of them looked at me with sheepish smiles.
"You forget. I was your age once."
We had booked three adjoining rooms at the Grand Floridian resort in Disney for the two days we were going to be there. Garth and Glen were in one, Sean and Jake in another and we were in the third. Garth and Glen were once again in awe of their surroundings as we checked into the resort late in the afternoon. They hadn't stayed in many hotel/motels before and certainly not one this luxurious.
"This sure beats the Knights Inn we stayed in last year when I was in a hockey tournament," Glen said as he looked around their room.
"We've each got a big bed," Garth said, as he fell backwards onto the mattress.
"That's not a trampoline, young man, so don't get any ideas," Dana said, as she gave him a look.
They also enjoyed the pool and arcade, as well as the supercalifragilistic breakfast buffet at the 1900 Park Fare restaurant the next morning. The girl that was dressed up as Alice made a big fuss over Garth, which the other three boys weren't objecting to. It gave them a chance to quietly ogle her, as she was another very good looking young woman.
"She's better than the Alice from last year," Jake said quietly to Sean and Glen, making an obvious reference to a key part of her anatomy.
We decided to go to the Magic Kingdom first, as we wanted to stop at the Emporium souvenir shop to get some things for the boys and to take home for friends.
"Garth, look at these sunglasses," Sean said, as he took Garth's hand.
He had found a pair of blue Mickey Mouse sunglasses with blue lenses that matched his Crocs. Needless to say we got them and he was beaming from ear-to-ear.
"Well, you're one cool dude, Garth," I said as we all chuckled. He also loved the Mickey Mouse t-shirt and backpack we got him, as well.
The older boys wanted to go on the Space Mountain ride first, before the line-ups got too big. Garth thought he should go on it too, but we told him he was too small. He wasn't too disappointed, as he was a little apprehensive when we got there and he saw the ride. Dana also wanted to go on the ride with the boys, as she loved that type of thing. I was definitely not into thrill rides, so Garth and I went on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority ride, which was a skyway vehicle that took us on a tour of Tomorrowland. When it was finished, the boys and Dana wanted to go on some other rides that we knew Garth couldn't go on.
"Why don't we see what things we can find that are more our speed," I said, as I gave Garth a pat on the back and a big smile.
For the next two hours, we went on a number of kids rides such as the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, where we were in Pooh's Hunny Pot riding through the woods. We saw all of Pooh's friends, such as Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Gopher, Kanga and Roo. Garth was giggling the whole time.
"Now you can tell Pooh tonight that you met his friends," I said.
After that we went on the Big Thunder Mountain railroad. He was holding on for dear life and laughing at the same time, as we were supposed to be on a runaway train that rushes through the gold-mining Old West town of Tumbleweed.
"Did you hear that clackety-clack sound? That happened every time we went up those big hills," he said, after we got off the train.
"I know. That was right before you grabbed a hold of my arm each time," I said, as I laughed.
When we hooked up with the others, he had to tell them all about our adventures. They were very patient with him as he went on at length about each of the rides. We ended up the day in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. When things started they were very loud and Garth moved closer to Dana, as he was sitting beside her. He was a little intimidated by some of the pyrothecnics and a few times he buried his head in Dana's arm.
"You missed some of the best parts, Garth," Jake said, as we left the theatre.
We topped the day off by eating in the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre near the Indiana Jones attraction. The boys were starved and had a great feed of the burgers and fries that they ordered.
"I remember these movies from last year. They're still lame," Sean said, as the boys laughed.
Garth was happy as he got to eat a hot dog. We didn't let the boys have them at home, so this was a treat for him. I hesitated asking him why that was different from a sandwich, but I was curious as to his explanation.
"The dog's in a bun. It's not bread like a sandwich," he said, as he stuffed another bite into his mouth.
"And what about the ketchup. I didn't think you liked tomatoes," Dana said.
"There's no tomatoes, it's ketchup," he said, after he had swallowed the last bite.
We weren't going to burst his bubble, but we all got another chuckle out of his interesting logic.
It had been a big day for all of us and the older boys were nodding off as we took the shuttle back to the resort. Garth lasted about a minute and had plopped himself against Glen's arm and was out cold. I couldn't resist and I took a picture of our four sleeping beauties. I carried a very sleepy little mousketeer into the lobby and up to his room, when we got back to the resort.
The next day we spent some time in Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park. One of the first things we did was make our way to the Cinderella Castle, which we had missed the day before. We ran out of time, so we made sure we did this as the first thing of the day. Glen took numerous pictures and then set up a group one in front of the castle. He asked another tourist to take it after he had us all positioned. The three older boys were in the front of Dana and I and they were holding Garth horizontally between them. It took a few moments as Garth couldn't stop giggling.
"You had your hand on my butt, Glen. That's why I was giggling," he said, as he was still laughing minutes later.
"No I didn't," Glen said with a devilish grin.
Sean, Jake and Glen wanted to go off to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. We knew that Garth wouldn't like them, nor was he old enough to go on them. We let the boys go off by themselves to do those rides, while Dana and I took Garth off to do some of the rides that were appropriate to his age group. As much as Dana had enjoyed the bigger rides with the older boys, she missed seeing Garth.
He wanted to go on the Mad Tea Party ride, where you were sitting in a tea cup as it turned around like a merry-go-round while the cup also twirled. I remembered this ride when we were down in Disney in the early 90's with Lorraine and the girls. That's when I discovered I had an inner ear problem, as I exited the ride and was dizzy. It took about an hour before I could walk in a straight line again.
"How about I watch you two from out here," I said.
We also went on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, where we were trying to stop someone called the Evil Emporer Zurg from stealing the Universe's cystollic fusion cell supply. Garth had great fun shooting at the targets. He didn't hit too many, but he was laughing and giggling the whole time. When it was finished we happened to be very lucky as Mickey Mouse was passing by as we exited the ride. We got a great picture of him with Garth tightly hugging him.
"You were squeezing Mickey so tight, I thought he was going to pass out," I said as we chuckled.
We had just enough time to do one of my favourite attractions, which was the It's a Small World ride. This was my mother's favourite when she was there in the mid 80's with my sister and her family. I knew Sean and Jake didn't want any part of it, as they had made that clear the year before. We had our revenge on them as Garth found the music very catchy and was humming and singing it for the next hour.
"We might as well have gone on the ride with you guys. Now I can't stop humming that stupid song," Sean said, with a disgusted look on his face, after we had hooked up with the boys.
Sean and Jake had told Glen about the Haunted Mansion and how much fun it was. We checked and they allowed Garth's age group on the ride as well. We told him that it might be scary, but he wanted to go on it since his big brother was. He was in between Dana and me and much to our surprise he wasn't too scared with most of the ride. He thought the ghost that was playing the organ was funny, however, he wasn't prepared for the skeleton that jumped out near the end. After that he was glued to Dana's side as we finished up the ride. The boys were in the car ahead and it was obvious Sean and Jake hadn't told Glen about that part. We could see him almost leave his seat and yell as he was surprised.
"You didn't tell me about that part," Glen said to the boys.
"We didn't want to spoil the ride," Sean said, as he joined Jake in a hearty laugh.
We had impressed upon the boys and Garth that we wanted to make sure someone was holding Garth's hand when we were in crowds. When we were all together, all three boys took turns holding his hand. We were quite pleased that all three of them were being responsible.
One of the last things we did as we were leaving the Magic Kingdom, was to go into the pavilion right by the entrance. Periodically a retired illustrator from Disney would be there doing pencil drawings that he personalized and gave to the people for free. Glen had seen in one of the brochures that there was one available that day, so we stopped in. The man was in his 70's and had worked on the Cinderella animated movie and other famous Disney animations. He took a lot of time doing a drawing that included Mickey Mouse with caricatures of Glen and Garth in it, after Dana told him Glen was a budding artist. He signed the print and gave it to Glen and Garth. We told them we would get it framed when we got home.
"Why don't you show me what you can do," he said, as he handed him a template sketch and pencil.
Glen was taken by surprise, but he quickly recovered and finished the partially drawn Mickey Mouse and put in a caricature of Garth holding his Pooh bear.
"That's me," Garth said, as he gave him a big smile.
"That's also very good, young man. You have some talent," the illustrator said.
He gave him his email address and told him he would help Glen with his art if he sent him a scan of whatever he wanted critiqued. Glen was very appreciative and on cloud nine as he thanked him. It was if he had just met his favourite hockey player.
Glen was sitting beside me on the plane ride back. We had a good talk about the week and how he was looking forward to playing golf in the summer and seeing Mara once again. He was starting to develop a much more positive attitude, as he shed the negativity that had been part of his persona since he had come into our family.
"Dana and I have liked the Glen we've been living with over the last couple of weeks. We know you're trying really hard and we're very pleased at how you've been able to change your behaviour," I said.
He didn't say anything, as he was still very guarded about showing his emotions, but he did give me a big smile to acknowledge my praise.
"Thanks for all you've done for my brother and me," he said.
"You and Garth are two wonderful kids. We're happy we've been there to help you," I said, as I patted his arm.
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