Selasa, 25 Mei 2010

Jim the Boy

Tommy called me from school yesterday with a stomach ache, wondering if I could come get him. That's a rare call -- I don't think I've gotten one this year -- and I went right away. He never actually got sick, but he felt miserable enough that all he wanted to do was lie in bed and listen to me read. I was happy to do that, and it was a treat to have him home and have that time to read. We started Jim the Boy, by Tony Earley. It's about a boy in rural North Carolina in the first half of the 20th Century. The boy's father died a week before he was born, and he is being raised by his mother and her three brothers (one a farmer, one a cotton gin operator, and one a storekeeper...though they all help with the farm work). It's also about a time and a world that is not entirely gone, but is certainly more than endangered. It's a time and a world that I want Tommy to carry somewhere inside him, and I think he does, and I think he will. He loves the book, and I don't think he'd love it if he didn't already have some of that world in him.

This morning I read an op-ed piece by David Brooks in The New York Times. Midway through, there is this: "Burke, a participant in the British Enlightenment, had a different vision of change. He believed that each generation is a small part of a long chain of history. We serve as trustees for the wisdom of the ages and are obliged to pass it down..." Yes. And Tommy is getting some of that wisdom from Tony Earley and Jim the Boy.

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