Peanut: I heard that Saint Patrick played magic music and all the snakes left the land, but that’s nonsense because there is no such thing as magic music.
Sassy: ‘Scuse me Paige, but it’s not nonsense. Remember, the Ancient Egyptians played music to make the snakes calm down and not bite the queen so maybe it’s not magic but it’s not nonsense.
Mo: I LOVE snakes!
Peanut: He liked four-leaf clovers too. We should decorate the house with them.
Me: Actually, the story goes that it was a shamrock…a three-leaf clover–
Peanut: What story?
Me: The one about St. Patrick.
Sassy: So this is all just a story?!? What are we talking about then? I’m talking real stuff. Really real stuff about Egypt.
Me: St. Patrick is real stuff too. It was just a very long time ago so it’s hard to know now which parts of the story are real and which are not.
Sassy: That stinks. They should have used hieroglyphics.
Mo: My shoe needs fixed. It’s broken.
Peanut, 7. Sassy, 5. Mo, 2.
In 9th grade, or maybe it was 7th grade…I’m not sure, I was putting together a poster board for social studies class. Do they even call it social studies any more? In any case, I made my poster. It was about Vietnam. Not the country. Not its history or politics. It was about the war, kind of. It was mostly about my dad.
It offered nothing about the experience of the people of Vietnam, the origin of the conflict, or even much about the experience of the American soldiers who fought, lived or died there. It didn’t say much.
I remember asking questions as part of the project. Carefully scripting the interview and then posing the questions to my dad. I don’t remember his responses. They were unremarkable, as were my questions. Somehow I knew that I wasn’t supposed to ask “big” questions. I asked about the food and the music he listened to when he was there. I asked about the weather. I didn’t ask the big questions. I didn’t show him the pictures I planned to use. Continue reading