Lydia darted past me in the kitchen and a moment later returned dragging her little brother by the arm. “Come. On!” She grunted as she pulled him towards the backdoor. “It’s so nice outside! I want someone to play with me.”

Gideon groaned and finally stopped struggling as he stood and stared out the sliding glass door into the backyard. “Okay. I’ll come out. But I get to pick the game.”

“Okay. Anything,” said his desperate sister. “What can we play?”

The boy stood up taller and straighter and looked at her sideways as if doubting she would agree. “We will play World War Two,” he said flatly.

“Really,” she curled up her nose. “Why?”

“Because that is the one with tanks and bombs and things.”

“Oh,” she thought about this for a few seconds, squinting in the direction of the neighbor’s house. “Is that the one with Nazi Germans and stuff?” she asked, as if it were an episode of a TV show.

“Yes,” the boy said. “Do you still want to play? Or are you scared?”

She shook her head, “No. We can play that. I’m just thinking that we might need uniforms or something.”

So, I dodged them again as they ran through the kitchen on their way to the coat closet. And then danced out of the way as they charged through a moment later wearing camouflaged coats and Alaska ball caps. “I’m going to pretend Alaska is just America,” Lydia explained.

The door closed behind them and I heard the rattle of machine-gun fire and exploding bombs shouted innocently from a pair of young mouths. An airplane whizzed low overhead. A soldier yelled and dove into a foxhole somewhere near the raspberry patch.

But it was only three minutes later when the two weary soldiers were already dragging themselves back through the door and peeling off their uniforms.

“Wait, what’s wrong?” I asked.

Gideon sighed and waved a hand at the door. “It’s too cold to play World War Two.”

“Too cold? To fight Nazis?”

“Yeah,” he said. “That’s why World War Two was in the summer.”


He started to walk away.

“I mean…”

He skipped down the stairs.