him. I told him how totally great that was, how there were people in any city in the world who would kill to have those tickets.
Then I recited all the reasons on my list of why he should go.
Correction. I didnât just recite the reasons. Nope, I acted them out like I was auditioning to star in a Spider-Man movie. With feeling. With guts. With all my heart.
My dad sat there and listened to me. He nodded thoughtfully. If you just looked at him, his head going up and down, a little smile curling up at the corner of his mouth, his chin resting calmly in his handâyouâd be 100 percent sure you were seeing a yes.
But if you opened your ears and listened, you would have heard him say one of the smallest words in the English language that goes a little something like this:
MY MOMâS DAD is named Papa Pete, and he is not only the nicest grandpa in the world, he is one of the smartest too. Papa Pete always tells me that a ânoâ is just an opportunity for a âyes.â So when my dad said no, that he had absolutely zero interest in going to a rock concert in Philadelphia or anywhere else in the world, I took it as an opportunity to turn that little tiny no into a big, fat yes.
âBut, Dad,â I said, running after him as he stomped off into the kitchen, âyouâve got to be open-minded to the possibilities of new adventures. Isnât that what you always tell me when I donât want to eat one of Momâs new food experiments?â
âHank, there is a big difference between you taking a bite of your motherâs meatless papaya trail-mix burgers with crushed cashews, and me standing in a stadium full of lighter-waving, leather-pants-wearing fans shaking their rumps to music without melody that gives me a headache.â
âDad, can you honestly look me square in the eye and tell me you want to miss out on all that fun?â
âYes,â he said, looking me square in the eye. âThatâs exactly what Iâm saying. Arenât you perceptive?â
âSometimes, Dad, you shock me, because knowing you as I do . . .â
âHank,â my dad interrupted. âI am not going to the rock concert in Philadelphia. End of discussion.â
He left the room and went into the kitchen. I could hear him opening the refrigerator to get out the cranberry juice and club soda. He mixes them together to make a half-and-half, a drink that to me tastes really sour, but he says is ahh . . . so refreshing.
I turned around to see Frankie and Ashley creeping into the living room. They had obviously been standing by the door, listening.
âOkay, so that didnât work out so well,â Ashley said.
âNo problem,â I answered. âWeâll just move on to Plan B.â
âYouâre a man of action, Zip,â Frankie said. âThatâs what I like. Now, what is Plan B?â
âI have no idea.â I shrugged. âI was hoping you had one.â
âThereâs got to be something thatâs going to make him want to go to Philadelphia,â Ashley said. âWe just have to figure out what that is.â
âMy dad says people travel to see something they love,â Frankie said. âLike when we went to Zimbabwe to see the village where my ancestors came from.â
âAnd my dad went to Moscow to look at videos of small bowel function,â Ashley said.
By the way, you should know that Ashleyâs dad is a doctor and not some kind of nutcase who loves to watch movies of peopleâs guts in action.
âWhat are the things your dad loves?â Frankie said to me as he plopped down into my dadâs easy chair. âBesides crossword puzzles, which we all know he loves more than cranberry juice itself.â
âHe loves my mom,â I answered.
I sat down on the couch next to Cheerio, who was asleep on his favorite pillow. Without even waking up, he cuddled up next to me and put