A walk I'll likely remember

Friday, August 23, 2013

During my regular efforts to impart some form of wisdom to my children, it is not uncommon for them to make me feel like they believe me to be simply a fan of hearing myself talk. If that is the case, then I enjoy it most when the subject matter is focused on either of them.

That easily puts this column as the most enjoyable piece of writing I partake of on a weekly basis.

It also means that when I am behind on my standard workload of writing assignments, this column is pushed to the end of the line.

I think most people would undertand my logic. I feel like I have an incredible ability to find time for the things I enjoy, yet motivating myself for some of the more mundane work requires much more effort and even some preparation. I know that if I really want to do it, I will put in the extra time and always seem to find a way to get my more enjoyable assignments done.

The past several weeks my procrastination overloaded my ability, and I find myself writing this week's column after missing three straight.

A conversation between Declan and Shawn, while we were camping this weekend, motivated me to put in a little extra effort.

The three of us were casually strolling from our campsite to the beach, at a lake near Norton, Kansas.

In typical fashion, the silence was broken by the boy.

"I never seen a dead body before," said Declan, matter-of-factly.

I immediately wondered what catalyst had pushed that topic to the top of his mischievouos brain. The movie "Stand by Me" came to mind and I was reminded of the scene where several young boys were strolling along a train track, having a similar conversation.

Just as I was about to ask Declan about the origins of his comment, Shawn responded.

"That's a good thing," she said dryly.

Shawn recently lost a very dear friend and had attended his funeral the week prior, sadly, I could tell by her tone that experience was fresh on her mind.

"You saw one?" Declan chirped with a childish curiousity.

"Yeah in a casket," Shawn replied in a slightly more somber tone. I knew she feeling the weight of the loss and  feverishly searched my memory banks for something to say, some piece of golden advice that would ease the sadness she felt.

I had nothing and opted to remain silent, feeling helpless.

"A castick? What's a castick?" Declan asked, continuing the conversation with his typically quizzical tone, oblivious to Shawn's demeanor.

"No a casket," Shawn responded.

"A...cas...tick?" Declan slowed his speech as he chopped the phrase into fragments but still struggled with the pronunciation.

"A casket," Shawn repeated, louder and with a hint of curtness.

Declan didn't skip a beat, "A castick?" he repeated with a cheerful yet innocent tone.

I choked down a laugh and maintained my silence behind the two, not wanting to influence the conversation. Shawn sighed outwardly before responding, although it was clear she too was beginning to find her brother's pronuncation issues more comical than annoying.

"It's a box they put the body in," Shawn replied with a light-hearted tone, appearing to fight back a grin.

Declan's brow unexpectedly shriveled up as he processed Shawn's response and then he trembled his shoulders in disgust.

Apparantly he was curious about seeing his first dead body, but the idea of a box for the body made the whole scenario appalling to him.

Shawn cracked a partial smile in response to his reaction and the general oddness of the whole conversation, which prompted me to break my silence by reminding Declan what a goofball he was.

As we neared the beach I thought to myself that too often I put emphasis on finding the right thing to say, when sometimes, just being there and opting for silence works just fine.

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  • EdMuskie said never say anything that will not improve upon silence

    -- Posted by dennis on Fri, Aug 23, 2013, at 1:50 PM
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