Friday, July 11, 2008

Jake, aka "The Clever One"

Well, well, well, it looks like we're nearing the end of my much acclaimed sibling posts. And today is the day we will talk, laugh, and reminisce over Jacob Reuben Nelson (or Bocaj Nebuer Noslen if you prefer). Man oh man...where do we begin with the crazy one that is Jake....

Well, I suppose I'll begin by explaining why we sometimes call him Bocaj Nebuer Noslen (which is most of the time shortened to Boc). You may remember me mentioning the Disney Cruise during my post about Adam and his insane luckiness. Well, it was during this same enchanted voyage that Jake, at the age of....61/2 I think.... let us all (including each of the Hubbards) know what our full backward names are. During the cruise we all carried around personal room keys/ID given out by Disney that had our full names (as well as other stuff) printed on them. Jake has always been one to quietly sit back and study things and after doing so he usually comes up with a rather random and entertaining revelation. So, we were all surprised and strangely enough, delighted when Jake let us all know that from then on we could address him as Bocaj Noslen. Immediately we all wanted him to translate our names into backwards speak. He obligingly did so, and we spent the rest of the trip and pretty much the rest of the years after the trip thoroughly enjoying his 6 year old discovery.

As a small child, Jake had a fondness for making up his own words. Sometimes these words were just a variation of a real word, and sometimes they were completely made up words that he liked to use as insults. For instance, if Jake got particularly outdone with one of us, he would shout angrily, "You boon!" I think this was meant to cut us to the quick....although I'm not quite sure why. Another favorite "insult" of his was to call someone a "doody pizza." This was usually used in a more good humored way, maybe more like calling someone a dork. Yeah, not nearly as hurtful as being called a Boon.
For the longest time Jake either wasn't able to, or just didn't feel the need to be able to pronounce the "cr" sound in a word. This resulted in words like Fritter(his favorite books by Mercer Mayer), Fristmas, and Frocodile. We would even write on his Christmas presents, "To Jakey, Merry Fristmas." He saw nothing wrong with this yuletide greeting. We were all thoroughly amused by Jake's lack of pronunciation skills. I think we were perfectly willing for him to go on the rest of his life using the "fr" sounds for his words. So what if he one day made it to the MLB and during an interview or press conference he said something like..."We were down with bases loaded, and I took off at the frack of the bat." He would more than likely be such an amazing player that people would think it was some kind of trademark of his or something.... Sadly enough, one fateful day, Daniel Hubbard took baby Jake under his wing, and drilled him and coached him until he no longer asked us to read him a fritter book, or insisted that he wasn't being frabby. It was a sad period in the Nelson household, I'm not sure if we have ever forgiven Daniel.....haha

In his early years Jake had a special talent, that he doubtless inherited from Mother (only Mom really possesses this talent, and Jake's was just a ruse). No matter what any of us chose to present him as a Christmas gift, Jake always knew exactly what it would be. We have this recorded for proof on home videos. He would start out picking up the present, "I bet I know what this is...." Then he would skillfully babel and make small talk, distracting us, all the while unwrapping the present. Once he could tell what he was receiving, he would joyfully exclaim something to this effect...."lion king slippers! I knew that's what it was going to be!" Once for his own cruel amusement(heck I would have done it too), Dad tried to catch Jake in his little tricks (or should I say "fricks"). "Wait Jake, don't open it yet, tell us what you think it's gonna be. Tell us!" But, like an old pro Jake just continued on his usual course "This is easy, I know what it's gonna be...." *rapidly talking and unwrapping all at once* "Oooh, a Fisher Price Castle, I knew it!" If I remember correctly, Jake didn't have this amazing gift guessing ability when opening birthday presents, it was mostly reserved to Christmas time. Maybe it was something in the Christmas cookies.....

Jake was a very stout little boy....which, aside from his love of hot dogs, and lemons, was surprising, because he was a constant bundle of movement. Literally, you could walk into the den at our house, and find Jake in the room alone having generated a full-on workout type sweat. Usually this would happen from his doing something like starting at one couch and throwing a ball in the air towards the other couch, and seconds later diving through the air onto the couch across the room to catch the ball while it was still in the air. He would do this about 100 times.....seriously.

This was just the type of thing he would do if there was no one available to have some friendly competition with. Jake was always up for a round of pool baseball, yard baseball, basement ball, or any other type of competition we had worked up for the day. And although he was the youngest, we never felt the need to humor him. All of this intense competition and physical activity set him up to be a much more fierce competitor than anyone among his own peers. We have tons of hilarious stories to tell about Jake in t-ball, machine pitch, and basketball. It would take far too many posts to tell them all. But, probably my favorite is the time that his basketball team played below their potential, and got eliminated from a tournament in which they should have taken first place. Jake was, of course, disgusted, whereas, more than half of his teammates were just elated to be getting medals. When Jake's medal was presented to him he did exactly what I would have felt like doing, but would not have possessed the guts to carry out. He walked straight to the nearest trash can, and was right on the verge of chunking his medal. But, before he could trash it, Dad ran frantically over to stop him, and probably give him a little talk on good sportsmanship (not that Dad thought the medal was any less worthless).

This competitive spirit, and drive for performance to full potential comes out in Jake when he's just a fan too. When he is a grown man, and not playing sports competitively, I can see Jake clearly, he's watching the Braves flub up a game, or seeing Tennessee make a ridiculous fumble. He'll shake his head, do a couple of his patented sarcastic claps, and throw a pillow at the tv for good measure. And we'll all chuckle a little because we all know that at the moment, he is actually practicing a lot of self control.

Jake has always been a voracious reader. Ok, wait, not voracious...that word has always creeped me out a little. It puts a mental picture in my head of someone carrying a stack of books to their kitchen table, and then cutting them up with a knife and fork and chowing down on them like a meal. Jake really likes to read. Yeah, I like the sound of that better. I like to credit Jake's love of literature, to my own, superior skills of reading aloud. Yes, these days Jake reads books about Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Horatio Hornblower, and (shudder) Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, but back in the day the 2 of us had more cultured tastes. We read things like "Detectives in Togas," "The Wheel on the School," and "Kildee House (what a bizarre book!)." If I have kids of my own one day, we will hopefully be reading a lot of the same books that were read by Jake and me. I will definitely be telling them stories of how Uncle Jake just complained and complained whenever it was time to do his read aloud, even though he secretly enjoyed it. I will also tell them how Uncle Jake and I didn't (even secretly) enjoy "Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry" or "The Great Turkey Walk." I will tell them how Jake attempted to hide his tears, when we finished "Caddie Woodlawn." Ok, maybe I just made that last part up, but they would never believe that big tough Uncle Jake would have done that anyway. So, what I'm trying to say better watch out Jake, your future nieces and nephews are going to be hearing a lot of crazy stories about you!!!

*****I am proud to announce that this hearby ends my much acclaimed "sibling posts." I will not be posting anything about Andrew, mostly because he has not lived long enough to merit one of these posts. So, Andrew, I'll get back to you when you're at least 15. For now.......I am going to enjoy my accomplishment of being finished with 4 very unique Nelson children posts!!!*****

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