We talk a lot about tolerance, but this is it. He has never fallen out with a classmate and rarely speaks badly about anyone. He doesn't gossip about what goes on at school - I wouldn't catch a whisper of the occasional drama if I weren't good friends with the girls' mothers.
|Harley, age 6. First day of school, 2nd Grade
|Harley, age 13. Last day of school, 8th Grade
|Harley's yearbook photo
Though he never had any interest in computer games, his computer skills have us slapping our heads. Slumped in his chair, facing half-on to the computer, leg up on the wall and other hand texting on his iPhone, he can do anything on my blog, photos, in-box or whatever. I confess I might have collected him from his classroom once or, er, twice to get out of a computer pickle. When that seemed extreme, I would call him or email. "Mum" he whispered from the bathrooms once: "I'm at school, stop calling me...I already told you...just click on computer and the devices button... "
|Harley's mother embarrasses him again by taking too many photos
But get him on burgers and he will talk for hours. Are In'n'Out burgers better than Wendy's? Could go either way. But the best is Nations. No further edification and extrapolation, that's pretty much the tenor of the argument.
|Harley (right) and schoolfriends at Stinson Beach
After a day abseiling in Mexico, rock-climbing in Santa Barbara, playing basketball with Oakland's best or attending a carnival-like party in San Francisco, you will ask him how it was. "Good". That written four letters cannot convey how he says that word. As Darth Vader can suck the air out of the room so too can Harley suck the emotion from any given word.
He helps without being asked: he has made his own lunch since he was seven and everyone elses' since he was nine. He brings the groceries up without being asked. For years he has babysat the younger kids if we go out close by. And is always ready with a "Want to play baseball Cy?"
Though he hates being photographed, or any kind of attention, he knows to show respect. This weekend he was invited to be in the court of a classmates' Quinceanera, a coming-of-age ceremony, and he was happy to wear a tuxedo.
|Harley signs the book for Victoria at her Quinceanera
And he was often heard to mutter: "Oh bloody hell, not another Learning Centre again!"
The girls in Harley's class kept telling him before graduation: "Your mother will cry so much at graduation. You're her firstborn. She'll be so sad." Harley replied: "Oh she's not like that. There's no way my mother will cry."
|Harley at his Promotion