Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Boy And His Book

Three months ago I posted about one of those wonderful days when everything went just right...the day The Boy participated in the commencement exercises from grad school. Yesterday his bound dissertation arrived in the mail, and I opened it to the acknowledgment section, where he recognized everyone that helped him along the long hard road to completion.
But this needs a bit of a backstory first.
We had always read books to him, bedtime stories, books during the day, books at night, from the time he had been able to concentrate on what he was hearing. The first nighttime book was Good Night Moon, with laminated pages for those lunging hands. As the years went on, the books became more sophisticated, but always age appropriate. Anyway, we were standing on the subway platform sometime during the Christmas season, going shopping somewhere for presents. He was 4 years two months old, and as we waited for the downtown train, he asked me "What does 'come home to red' mean?". And I asked him where he was getting the question from, and he pointed across the station. On the uptown side was a billboard for Johnny Walker Red. And I knew that at a very early age, he knew how to read, and had been doing it for some time, asking me the question only because he didn't understand the billboard.
The acknowledgment thanks everyone that ever walked in shoe leather, but here's the part I liked best, and I quote:
"My parents...always encouraged me to read and think about whatever my interests and passions led me towards, even (and perhaps especially) when those interests and passions included the back of the cereal box or the billboards in the subway station. That faith and support underlies this project in more ways than one."
That's my Boy, thanking me in the privatest way that he knew, harking back to the very beginning.

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