Marshall is five, with the round face, strong chin, and frank blue eyes I've known for 45 years in his grandmother's countenance. More than that, he has her spirit, the same spirit that earned Grandma the nickname "Crash" on her mission decades ago. On her mission.
Last week, wedged firmly between both parents at church, Marshall still managed to wiggle about, count the house, and zero in on members of the congregation who held the most interest for him. At one point, his mother realized he was smiling and batting his eyes with particular intensity at someone behind him. She turned to see a handsome woman beaming at him and returning his interest.
It was Gladys Knight.*
His Dad later told him that Ms. Knight was not auditioning any new Pips. At the word, Marshall perked up even more (and he perks pretty high to start with).
"I'm a pip!"
No doubt he's heard that rather often in his young life. We have no idea what he thinks it means, but I'm pretty sure he'll be catechizing Sister Knight about it soon.
*Footnote, in the unlikely event that it is needed: Gladys Knight was one of the great R&B soul singers of all time, who with her group, The Pips, delighted music fans from 1953 until 1989.
Knight is pre-eminent in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and still does occasional gigs. She became a Mormon some years ago, and currently leads the Saints Unified Voices choir.