These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Monday, January 22, 2007

the pebbles

the past few weeks i've seen several movies taht have caused me to tear up. it's strange because movies never did that to me.

i watched "dances with wolves" again and once more it happened. it's tought o watch the stupid soldiers kill two socks, a needless killing. then it's heartbreaking to hear winds in his hair admit his friendship to the lieutenant. the other week i watched "field of dreams." this movie isn't as bad as "wolves" but it does have its moments. for me it's when he sees his father dressed up and ready to play at the end, then they finish up by playing catch. it's a heartwarming scene that can take any kid back to when they were a kid.

well, that did get thinking of when i was a kid and how my dad would sometimes play catch or toss a football with us. it comes back more these days knowing my dad will once again have an operation to remove a large portion of his liver thursday. it seems this time it's a go and so i hope all does turn out and it can be removed and then we'll see where things go from there.

then last week i was talking to a coworker and she told me about this author coming to town and how he used to imagine diseases his parents getting (when he was young), perhaps as a defense mechanism in case something did happen.

immediately, i dashed back more than 25 years and saw a kid doing a similar thing, although no disease was involved.

as a child i was terrifed of losing my parents in some way or another. it was me and my brother, but he was younger than me. and we wouldn't be alone because we had lots of relatives to take care of us. however, it scared me to think i could lose them in someting like a car crash.

so, i didn't like them going out together, alone. it didn't matter if we (all four of us) were in the car, but not the two of them alone.

as my coworker talked about this author, i was transported back one day wheni was a wee lad and was outside my aunt's house. she lived next door to us. my parents had gone out and i was outside by the long, concrete and gravel porch, sitting on the steps, looking longingly toward the dirt road, waiting for the sound of a car and my heart would race until i saw it and then everything would be fine.

in the meantime, i decided to prevent, yes prevent, anything fromhappening to them. i looked around and saw the side of the two-foot high porch was covered in smal pebbles embedded into the concrete. i walked over to them and pulled at one. it came out easily.

then my young, innocent and had a brilliant idea. i would protect them by pulling out as many pebbles as they were old. so if my dad was 40, i'd pull out 40 pebbles and do likewise for my mom.

i set to work on this task as the sun began to lower on the west behind the house. i would pull out a pebble and put it on top of the porch. i recall panicking that i wouldn't reach the number of pebbles i needed.

but i did find the amount. and as a kid, finding 40 pebbles seems like a lifetime. plus, finding an almost equal amount for my mom was tough. i think i found much more pebbles than i needed, which was fine by me. i don't recall the number.

and my parents made it fine that day to my obvious delight. and they've made it fine every time.

i hope my dad makes it fine this week and i hope in the back of my mind that that day as a silly little kid that i plucked 80 plus pebbles for my dad.


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