Today I was sitting in my home office working intently on the half-dozen projects I have going simultaneously.
Then I heard it.
The faint strains of "Skip To My Lou" in a ragged, warped, electronic kind of way.
But I knew at ONCE what it was.
From when he was a baby.
I went to the toy box in his room and dug it out from beneath the Bey Blades, Lincoln Logs and various assorted toys from the past 10 years.
Hard Ball was his favorite toy from the time he was strong enough to carry the plastic orb around. If memory serves me correctly, and it might not the closer I get to 40, Dad picked out the ball on a trip to Toys R Us when Curtle was pretty young. He carried Hard Ball around with him EVERYWHERE. We were able to pinpoint his location in our house by the location of the lilting tunes. We knew he was asleep when we didn't hear the mechanical music of Hard Ball any longer. The unyielding plastic of Hard Ball sometimes got slammed into the tile floor. I remember once when Hard Ball went into the potty.
Dad repaired the wires on Hard Ball more than once. Hard Ball has survived every yard sale for the past 10 years. The $10 toy became priceless.
Hard Ball was a frequent visitor on car trips. "Frequent?" Ha! We didn't leave home without it. Each shape played a different tune. We went through enough batteries to fund Curt's college education.
Today, when it went off, it was in reaction to Curt slamming down the lid on the vintage wooden toy box where Hard Ball resides, while he was retrieving his Titanic book.
When I took Hard Ball out of the toy box to memorialize him on a blog post, Curt quickly claimed the old friend as a prized possession.
"Oh! Here's my old ball," he said, as Hard Ball cringed under the label of advanced years.
"I love this thing."