So we’re driving to the airport, Tess and I, to start our most excellent weekend adventure to South Dakota. Tomorrow, it’s horse shows, Sunday, Rushmore and Custer, Monday back home after a presentation.

We’re cruising down the interstate and all of a sudden she pokes me from the back seat.

“I can’t help it,” she says. “I have to poke someone every thirty minutes.” She laughs, and I put a fake frown on my face.

But then, I start thinking.

“Hey Tess,” I say. “Remember how we talked about maybe you and Tucker writing books and then being able to send them out for Christmas presents?”


“Well, you know, that could be a pretty fun story to make into a book.”

Her faces scrunches up in the rear view mirror. “What? About a girl who has to poke people?”

“Yeah,” I say, with more than a tinge of enthusiasm. “Like, maybe it’s a disease or something, like the flu.”

She looks out the window. “Like the 24 hour-flu,” she says and smiles. “Like Pokinitis.”

I laugh. “Pokinitis,” I say. “Perfect. Maybe she wakes up with Pokinitis…”

“Yeah, and can’t help but poke her mom and her dad and her little brother…”

“And maybe her teacher,” I say. I can see this. It’s got potential. I look in the rear view to see if she feels it too.

“Hey Dad,” she says after a moment. “Could we really make this into a book? Like a real book?”

“Absolutely,” I say, thinking about George Mayo and Lulu and how cool this could be.

“I already wrote a book, you know,” she says.

“I know. You know how many people have read it by now?”

“How many?” she asks.

“Over 1,700,” I say, and I see her face brighten.


“Really. But we could turn Pokinitis into a book that people can put on their bookshelves.”  She looks out the window and the cars passing by.

“Maybe she goes to the school nurse and pokes her too,” she giggles. I laugh.

“So what do you think? You want to try to write it? On the plane maybe?” I’m hoping.

“Maybe…we’ll see.” I deflate a bit.

“You know what else?” I say. “You could write it, draw the pictures for it, and then when it’s all done, we could make a movie of it with you reading it so other kids could even listen to it.” Oy, I think. Overload. The curse of being so invested in all of this. But she’s thinking about it.

“We’ll see,” she says. “We’ll see.”

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