I don’t know when the age of innocence begins and ends but as I daily move about the universe, I’m grateful for the presence of the little children I encounter here and there.
Their boundless energy, inquisitive faces and unpretentious “just as I am” attitudes captivate even strangers’ hearts.
Not long ago, my daughter unearthed an excerpt from a long-ago column that illustrates to some extent the time of life over which I’m reminiscing.
My daughter, Katherine, barely 7, had returned from visiting her across the street friend, Elizabeth Anderson.
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“What did you do?” I asked. “Played,” she said.
“What did you play?”
“Well, we played we died. We went to Heaven and then we graduated from Heaven.”
“Where do you go when you graduate from Heaven?” I asked.
“We go to the moon,” she said matter-of-factly. “Elizabeth said we were moon angels. And we went around with a candle turning on stars.”
Later, as she cuddled in my lap at bedtime, I reminded her that 7 is a very wonderful age to be.
“Yes, I know it is, Daddy,” she said, scrawling words painfully in cursive when she’s supposed to be printing.
Late that night I found her scribblings on the sofa. It was a list of “Things to do with Elizabeth.”
The list was impressive:
1. climb trees
2. plant seeds
3. hula hoop
4. write poems
I daily grieve for all those innocent children suffering so cruelly in war-torn Syria and elsewhere. Televised images of their tear-stained faces or their inert bodies haunt my waking hours. I fervently wish for a time when all children can, at least in their imaginations, go around with candles turning on stars or climbing trees or writing poems.
Mel Hanks of Holly Springs provides clarification on why TV commentators use the term “reporting live from …”
“As a former TV news investigative reporter, and occasional news director for over 30 years in Arkansas, Missouri, and Arizona, I feel compelled to reply,” he wrote.
“Saying ‘live’ is an almost indispensable tool nowadays in all areas of broadcast news. Highly-paid consultants have told broadcast newsrooms that in the day of so much competition from cable outlets and the internet, the audience will leave you in a heartbeat if you don’t give them an immediate reason to stay.
“That’s the key to keeping an audience, getting ratings, and therefore attracting more advertising revenue: Giving the audience a sense of immediacy and excitement is essential.”
During our e-mail exchange, I asked him what he liked best about North Carolina.
“I would say the friendliness of the people is really at the top of my list of the things I like about North Carolina,” he replied. “Also, the weather. Florida and Arizona were too hot. California had too many weather-related fires. (As a kid, I grew to hate and fear the Santa Ana winds.) Kansas and Missouri were way too cold for a kid from Key West.
“So I’d say that North Carolina is like the porridge in the Goldilocks story: just right!”
One of these days I’ll ask you newcomers what’s wrong about the Tar Heel State.
One of many benefits of retirement is not having to fight traffic in the trek to and from work. I’m reminded of that when I occasionally venture out at 8:15 a.m. to meet a friend for coffee.
Quite often, as I note the anxious, stressed-out expressions on the faces of some of the drivers, a little ditty by writer E.B. White pops to mind:
Commuter: One who spends his life
In riding to and from his wife
A man who shaves, and takes a train
And then rides home to shave again.
The North Carolina Insurance Foundation recently alerted us to the hazard of deer on the move this time of the year.
No, these aren’t Santa’s mythical deer rehearsing for their upcoming Christmas Eve mission. These are for real.
If drivers aren’t alert, they may find a doe or buck resting on their windshields, or worse, an antler piercing a driver’s heart. That happened during a near-Christmas night some years ago to Wake County’s then-superintendent of schools.