By Robert Eringer, Santa Barbara Current
The Dino Diner
My best buddy in the whole world is my four-and-a-half-year-old grandson and what he likes most is to take short road trips with me somewhere fun and interesting, so off we go-go-go.
I call him “my little guy” and “my buddy” and sometimes “The Dude” and I love that he’s cuddly and affectionate and lightly touched by autism, which I look upon as a gift and a blessing, as if kissed by an angel.
I help The Dude into the car and buckle him into his child seat and power up an iPad to ensure his contentment during a 90-minute ride from the American Riviera to the big city where I lived when I was his age.
My little guy giggles with delight as he battles dinosaurs that eruct comical side effects from his screen. Dinosaurs are his passion, and he has collected many toys reflecting his passion, from plush ‘sauruses of one type or another to hard plastic dinosaurs in all shapes and sizes, to a walking, roaring, lit-up Dominus T-Rex – his favorite dinosaur of all, almost as tall as himself. He knows more names of dinosaurs than I ever knew existed, along with their habits and appetites and every piece of trivia associated with the movie Jurassic Park, which he has watched multiple times.
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