“The most interesting information comes from children, for they tell all they know and then stop.” – Mark Twain
Two of the grandchilluns have been spending a few days here. This is a happy house with chilluns in it. Tonight after baths and stories read, and a few silly laughs, it was time for bed. Having been instructed properly by their parents who are their legal guardians, the chilluns were invited to say their prayers. Upon conclusion, their grandmother offered to add that they also ask God to bless mommy and daddy. Thomas told us he had already done that, and God would remember.
The uncluttered brilliance that comes out of little children can be quite refreshing. Sometimes, all that need be said is what they say, because it isn’t tainted. Those of you over the age of five may not know what I’m talking about, but hooray for those that do.
Recently, My wife and I stopped to get a bite to eat at a “fast food” place, as did other travelers. A three year old boy named Sam with a family we’d never met, was asked where he wanted to sit. He came over to our table and with a smile, said:
“I’ll sit here.”
And, he did. His family sat at the table next to us. When his mother asked him what he wanted to eat, he said:
“Oh, I’ll just eat some of their stuff.”
Of course he could’ve had it all if he’d wanted it, but as it turned out, we just shared a few curly fries. In a moment, his grandfather brought him some food of his own so he would have something to play with while the rest of us ate.
The boy was pleasant enough, and was quite into conversation for a three year old. Most of his sentences were short, and he only asked a few questions. He noticed we didn’t have children with us, and asked where they were. It never occurred to him that we didn’t have any, and he was correct. But our boys aren’t little anymore, and they’ve all been three years old at least ten times by now. I can still remember when each of them were coming around to three for the first time, and that they were small in size like Sam, but also like him, big in personality.
If we asked Sam anything, his answers were short, and often just one word, like “yes” or “no”. He told us he lived in Kentucky, and with coaching from his mother, he pin-pointed Lexington as his town. He showed no surprise that we knew exactly where that was, because I’m sure at his age, it is the center of his entire universe. He wasted no words unnecessarily but was generous with smiles. It is no surprise that we felt comfortable in his company.
Sam was polite, and refreshingly so for such a young man. Come to think of it, for a man of any age, I reckon. Politeness does break out now and then, but I’ve noticed no epidemic of it.
When we got ready to leave, I told his mother that it was a pleasure meeting Sam, and that he seemed like a fine boy. Further I added that I liked the name, as my favorite author was also named “Sam”. The mother looked up, and said:
Then, pointing at her son, she said:
“We named him after my favorite author, Sam Clemens. I’m a huge fan of Mark Twain, and I just love his stories!”
Looking down at young Sam, there was no doubt that he really had no idea what all was behind the legacy in his name, and I knew it would take a long time for him to get the full impact of it. For a brief moment, I wondered if he would grow up to be happy about it, or just be bothered, and think it silly. So much can happen in the life of a child. I just hope he grows up to appreciate it.
I told Sam’s mother that I could understand why a person favors Mr. Clemens, and that I personally shared her enthusiasm. Her face lit up with a huge smile, and I felt it appropriate to join in on that kind of behavior. Folks often find meaner things to do than smile at each other. Besides, her face was pretty enough to look at, so I didn’t mind.
We both agreed that our interest in those wonderful books began in childhood. Silently, I wondered if today a lot of children were being deprived of that wealth, as reading literature may seem to be luxury only found in schools that can afford it in the curriculum.
Sam’s mother and grandparents seemed to appreciate that I thought naming a child after Samuel Langhorne Clemens was a wonderful idea. I told them that I’d probably spent more time with Twain’s writing than any other published author, and had been privileged to perform on occasion as a tribute to that man of letters. She thought that bit of information was quite a coincidence, but I assured her lots of other folks liked Mark Twain, too. Running into people that do is not all that unusual.
But for me, it was more than a coincidence. I figure it was about the best thing that had happened to me that day. The truth is, he was drawn to my wife, Brenda, and that I was an acceptable piece of baggage, that’s all. Brenda is drawn to little children and they to her. Maybe they see an aura – I certainly do.
Even if he was attracted to my wife, which I took as a complement, he didn’t seem at all annoyed by me being there, which I appreciated. Somehow, I felt grateful that after all this time, I finally got to meet Sam. And not just meet him, but have him walk right up out of the blue, and say he wanted to join us at our table.