Monday, August 24, 2009
The Amazing Teaching Cat!
I learn new things all the time. I like the process of venturing into areas I haven't explored yet. Recently I've discovered that there are actually some history writers that take the trouble to make their subject interesting and even exciting. I wonder why we were never introduced to any of those writers during my school days. Public school history textbooks are as dry as noon on a summer day in Death Valley. They were, and I'm sure still are, dead, lifeless renderings of some of the most exciting events that ever occurred. It must have taken special talent to turn the Revolutionary War into just a series of battles, dates and places. The history textbook writers must have a special school they attend to teach them to remove everything interesting about history. On the other hand, there are historians who write about the people and what they did and why then did it in such a way as to bring a whole era back to life. I regret that I didn't discover this earlier in my life, but I am glad to have the opportunity to experience it now.
I'm learning a lot from Quint, too. He's helping me discover how much fun it is just to play. Each evening when Carol and I and Quint gather in the kitchen after dinner, we all get to change gears from whatever we were doing during the day and downshift into the simply joy of playing with each other. I didn't do very much of that sort of thing when I was a kid. I was kind of a loner, not from choice, just from circumstance. My family moved around quite a lot when I was young, from the city of Chicago to the suburb of Morton Grove to Peoria and then to East Peoria and then back to Peoria where we stayed from my junior high years until after high school. After that we moved to Idaho Springs, Colorado and shortly after that, I left home and lived on my own, mostly, until I met my wife, Carol. What with all that moving around, I didn't get a chance to develop any lasting friendships. I was always the new kid. Being the new kid sucks, or at least it did for me. You move into a neighborhood where all these kids have been hanging around together for years and you just don't have a common frame of reference to understand each other. The new kid doesn't get the inside jokes, doesn't remember the big snowstorm, and wasn't in Mrs. Brown's class last year. When I married Carol, her two boys where already five and seven years old, they already had a dad, and they would spend weekends with him fishing and all that other stuff that dads do with their kids. So, I didn't get to do much playing with my step kids.
It's not that I didn't want to play, it's just that once you're an adult there is all that making a living and keeping the cars running and working on the yard and all manner of stuff which keeps you very, very busy. And, so, finally I have arrived at a place where there is mostly just Carol and I and Quint. Oh, we have a group of friends who we like to get together with about once a month, but the rest of the time, it's just the three of us, mostly. And we play together in the evenings after dinner. We don't always feel like it at the start, but after awhile Quint is jumping around and running back and forth and Carol and I are laughing and laughing and all the nonsense of the day becomes insignificant and there are a few minutes right then when we just have fun. I'm grateful to Quint for teaching me how to properly play and laugh and enjoy a moment or two each day. Thanks, Buddy.