Wild and dirty



“You look like a street urchin.”

That’s what my Dad used to say — back when I was growing up — when my grubbiness exceeded normal childhood levels.

I’m fairly sure that I haven’t heard street urchin in years. It’s not part of my vernacular.

But last weekend my brain retrieved it from its recesses.

Actually, Brynn brought it back in fashion.

It was Saturday night, after a busy, outdoorsy day, and the kids were eating dinner.

How do I describe Brynn?

Dirty. Unkempt. Unclothed. Matted hair. Menacing expression. Savagely shoveling food into her mouth.

Unfortunately, I don’t have great photos. Armed with only a cell phone, I didn’t have time to get my camera. (As any wildlife photographer knows, seconds matter when you’re documenting animals in their natural habitat.)

But take my word for it: the kid was disheveled, especially next to clothed, combed siblings.





“Pssst,” I hissed to Martin, tipping my head at Brynn — who was swigging milk and eyeing me warily over her cup.

“Look at her,” I whispered.

“Holy cow! She looks like she’s been raised by wolves!” Martin announced.

I snapped a few pictures, then studied her a while. “I think that’s an insult to wolves She looks like a street urchin to me.”

And maybe that’s an insult to street urchins, too.



wanted: hair conditioner


Postscript– For kicks, I looked up urchin in the dictionary. The obvious definition fit the bill: a mischievous and often poor and raggedy clothed youngster.

But the second one stopped me: a hedgehog.

Really? A hedgehog?

Personally, I’d avoid either definition of the word.