“Mom I bought you a book”
“Really?! thanks love..” I kiss my son on the forehead while holding on his shirt sleeve, he bowed down. I mussed up his hair and he tackled me on the bed. Teenagers… what is it with coiffure that makes them react so violently.
“what!?! you can mess up my life but don’t you dare mess my hair!” a wrestling match ensued, after a few moves and a pretend choke hold I got on him, he tapped the bed three times to signal defeat. You know you can never win against your mother right? 🙂
You have to let mothers and/or your wife win. Your mother, because eternal damnation awaits you on the other side if you don’t, and your wife because eternal damnation will await you right here right now.
“It’s How to kill a mockingbird” he announced. I hid my disappointment. I love a variety of subjects, unfortunately taxidermy is not one of them. I like to eat my stuffed chicken, I don’t like them staring down at me.
Then I saw the book, I smiled. Although I knew it was the classic, I didn’t get to read Harper Lee when I was young.
Maybe because I was so deprived I couldn’t afford the book, and my English teacher didn’t make it required reading so I could visit the library. I always thought it was all about American birds.
I fell for Scout, Jem, Dill and Atticus Finch. I loved the innocence. Then the growing up, the realization of kindness, cruelty, love, hatred and irony. I can almost smell Alabama in my native tropical climate. I guess in every neighborhood, in a every child’s mind there will always be a Boo Radley.
I can remember that I was always a precocious little brat going out of the way to annoy adults that announced they wanted to be left alone. I just wanted to know why and asked, then offer opinion like it mattered. An eight year old child blabbering about, telling grown-ups what she thought was a good solution.
Babies suck milk from their mommies breast don’t they? Can’t she just make extra so that the siblings (there were four I remember) can have some too? At least nobody gets hungry. I could now sleep without having to hear the baby’s older sibling whimper in the dark all night, mumbling that he’s hungry.
Sometimes they would dismiss me, oftentimes my father would just wring my ears until I swear they tore off.
Some grown ups never know how to handle truth from a child, and I never learned to shut my mouth.
Some grown ups try to survive life by boxing everything up and putting labels on them, including the people they deal with. Atticus Finch didn’t like it either and tried to show Scout and Jem it doesn’t have to be the way it’s supposed to be.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Grown ups got too many hang ups, filters and fences, we’ve forgotten what its like to have none at all.
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
“That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
Why would you want to shut up something that never bothered you in the first place and never did anything ‘cept sing?