May 07, 2014 - Recently, son Sean, 14, was honored as one of the top 51 "scholars" of Shiawassee County. Something about having scored well on an SAT test these 8th graders took earlier in the year elevated their existence to this level of renown. It was a very proud moment for all the kids, their families and friends. Since I was in Kalamazoo this week learning new ideas for community newspapering I didn't write a column for you. But, I do have one sure to embarrass Sean I wrote in 2005. Enjoy!
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I guess there is some good news and some bad news coming from the home front.
The good news: Sean, five-years-old since St. Patrick's Day, has "written" his first book.
The bad news: Sean, five-years-old since St. Patrick's Day, has "written" his first book.
Hey, that sounds familiar?
Let me say up front, I'm very proud of little Sean, or "Bit" as he is called at home. He was able to get his idea for a book on paper. (I have tried for 20 years, without any success or completion.) His book is fun, sweet -- everything a five-year-old's book should be. I have shown and read his book to many (victims) here at the office. I admit, I probably glow too much when it comes to Sean and his older brother Shamus -- but the way I look at it, tough rocks, they're my boys and it's my right to boast. But, enough of what I think, back to the story.
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When I entered our domicile on April 25, in the year of our Lord 2005, the first thing a very excited Sean said was, "Dad, I wrote a book! Want to see it?" (As if I had an option as to what would transpire in the next 20 seconds.) He grabbed my hand and led me to three pieces of white, 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch, 20-pound paper, folded nearly in half and stapled twice.
On the top of what most folks would consider the "back cover" was Sean's "front cover." I looked at the title, The Mummy, closely followed by, Author Shamus and then Illustrator Sean.
"Hey Sean, did you write this book or did Shamus?" I asked.
"Shamus wrote the words I said, then I drew the pictures," Mark Twain, Jr. answered smugly. "It's called Me and the Mummy.'"
Really, I thought, taking a second glance at the title in front of me. Am I looking at the same book you wrote?
"Want to read it?" Sean asked again as if I had a choice. Of course I would, my son had written a book! So I started reading aloud, from the back (or Sean's beginning) to the front.
Me and the Mummy started out good:
Every time you see the Mummy he changes. This is the Mummy looking at me. Sean had drawn a "mummy" with big, scribbly eyes. The Mummy is shooting missiles out of his legs.
The kid's got an imagination, I thought. Then I turned the page and that's when things took a downward turn.
The Mummy is sleeping with our dad. Then, the Mummy scares our dad away.
I have a problem with this passage.
First, I don't sleep with mummies and secondly, Sean wrote that I was "scared" and ran away … so much for the propaganda I have tried to brainwash the boys with. For years, I have carefully orchestrated the persona I want the boys to have of me: rough, tough, brave (but kind and gentle, too). Not that of a bearded coward, who high-tails it out of the room at the first sign of trouble or the first mummy he sees. I want to be the hero, dang-blab-it! For goodnesssakes, I'm Don Rush, not Don Knotts!
Ego bruised, I turned the page and continued my son's piece of cheap, dime-store literature. Sean comes to save Daddy!
Oh really. . .
Sean is punching the Mummy! Yeah, right. Like a pint-sized midget is gonna take on and whip the Mummy? Mmmm, I don't think so. That's what dads are for. I turned the page.
Now Sean and the Mummy are friends. They are holding hands. How nice.
The "book" ends with a picture of a smiling head, with arms sticking out just below the ears, and two legs extending down from under the chin. Above the drawing: Dad is walking by me and the Mummy.
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But, what does it all mean? Does Sean have issues with his old man? Does he doubt me? Does he think I'd abandon him? Was "writing" his book the only way he could release his anxiety? Is this normal? Is he normal? What have I done wrong? Upon further consideration, I'm sure I am just overreacting. This is how Stephen King got started, isn't it?
Comments for the coward of the day, Rush, can be e-mailed to: Don@ShermanPublications.org
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org