Sunday, March 3, 2013

Good Morning Justin...

Letter to My Son
Sunday, 3 March

Chocolate Ribs for Justin

Good Morning Justin…

Can you believe baseball season is nearly upon us?  What do you think the Red Sox’s chances are this year?  The Yankees are getting old.  It could be neck and neck for the race to the top in the American League East.  You’ve been a Sox fan since forever.  I remember one day when your sister, Jessicca, told you Manny Ramirez had been traded from Boston.  Oh, no, not Manny!  You couldn’t stop crying even when she told you she was only kidding.  You were no more than three at the time, or so it seems.  You’ve always been the kid with the big heart and you probably still are.  The last time I saw you we were throwing the football around with your brother Jack and you had a big sauce stain on your T-shirt from where a glob of spaghetti dropped from your fork on the way to your mouth.  Big deal.  You didn’t care.  People get all excited over nothing things like that.  You would have worn it to church if your Mom would let you.  That wasn’t going to happen, though.  She’s checking you – shirt tucked in, even in back?  Your belt isn’t twisted, is it?  Pull up your zipper.  Left shoe not tied.  What a hassle.

Here’s another memory that just came to me.  When you were a little guy you used to draw just the way I did.  It was making sure you drew quick, a kind of short-hand.  People were only slightly more than stick figures and things like planes were drawn just well enough that you knew what they were.  It was all about getting the exciting story down on the paper.  You even had the same squint I had when I drew and made noises with your mouth that fit the unfolding story as it was drawn.  You were so absorbed.

Actually I thought I drew pretty good when I was a kid.  Your brother Jacob, though, is the guy that can really draw and from a very early age, too.  His trains and robots and cartoon characters could run circles around what I did.  He has such an imagination.  His topics were fanciful.  Yours were like mine – more serious in nature.  You just can’t be goofing around when the whole world is at stake.  Your drawings were always going to save us from the bad guys. 

I started drawing again.  It began with drawing a picture for Jessicca’s birthday last month.  I called it Rodger Dodger Jessicca.  It’s filled with pent up energy – like if you squeezed a powerful, stiff coiled spring into a tight little box.  I don’t know where that idea came from.  I wasn’t thinking about it.  That’s just how the drawing came out.  I’m midway through a second drawing that has similarities with Rodger Dodger.  I tell myself I want to draw something cool and abstract.  I’d like to do something mature, a real adult theme.  It doesn’t seem to happen.  Here I am mashing crayons right into the paper, again.  I should probably smack some baseballs into the outfield or something before I start drawing.  Actually, I don’t think that would help.  You just have to carry through with an idea and see where it takes you.  Eventually the idea runs out of steam.  You try to draw one too many pictures of a theme and it begins to look like a flat tire hobbling down the road.  So you wad it up and play basketball with the waste basket.

It’s Sunday.  Time for church.  Time to throw on something spaghetti stained and slip into the back seat before Mom catches you.  Cross your fingers and hope Jack won’t squeal you out.


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