The bestest, greatest day with Drew and Janet

I was getting ready to write my weekly column when I heard the pitter-patter of little-boy-size-13 Nike tennis shoes running up my stairwell.

It was a surprise visit by my 5-year-old nephew, Drew Christoper Hommel.

We quickly decided to write my column together when I suggested we would write about an adventure like climbing the 80-foot tulip poplar in the garden and swinging down with a rope that he had tossed to the top.

Drew had a small, orange Wilson basketball — a constant companion — so I told him we could throw it in the living room and break the television and I wouldn’t even care. I then told him we could use the basketball to knock a hole in the ceiling and candy would fall out. He agreed.

When I began to fact-check that his high-top shoes were indeed size 13, egg-shell blue, he reported, “They were Isaac’s before me.” (The classic hand-me-downs pride because you love your brother).

Like any great reporter’s assistant, Isaac ran and got his coat, because he anticipated that my next questions would be to investigate the details on his coat: “Me and Isaac used to have the same coat, but then I got a new one so we don’t get them mixed up and not know whose is whose.” (Classic big family procedure).

By this time Drew is ready to go outside and shoot baskets, but I told him I wasn’t quite done writing. He inquisitively asked if I was the only one who writes for the paper, so I of course, showed him a few Daily Journal articles and asked him if he was interested: girls swimming sectional by Ryan O’Leary — “nope.” Franklin College soccer by Mike Beas — “nope.” Pacers column — “nope.” I pointedly asked him what Super Bowl team he was rooting for — Philadelphia Eagles or the New England Patriots?

Drew: “What team has the most points?”

Me: I don’t know, Drew, but the New England Patriots have won more Super Bowls.”

Drew: “Them.”

Me, changing the subject: “Drew, do you like Aunt Janet’s columns?”

Drew, looking away from his Nintendo DS palm-size game and making eye-contact: “Yes.”

Me: “Are you just saying that because I’m going to take you to McDonald’s?”

Drew: “No.”

I asked Drew if he could do anything with me today what would it be.

Drew: “Play football or baseball.”

Me: “How do we play with just two people?”

Drew, as he drew circles in his Baseball League composition notebook: “We need six.”

As he began tossing his basketball in the air toward the ceiling, we discussed the kinds of candy that might fall: SweeTarts, suckers, chocolate and peanut butter candy bars.

Patient until the last sentence, Drew and Janet left to find four more people to play baseball and football with … and to eat at McDonald’s.

Janet Hommel Mangas grew up on the east side of Greenwood. The Center Grove area resident and her husband are the parents of three daughters. Send comments to