Saturday, January 15, 2011
Happy Birthday Dr. King
I was attempting to clean the kitchen table before supper.
More like moving The Pile to the counter in order to make a hole for the plates, but I call it “cleaning.” My first grader, Brennan, decided to help by unloading his backpack from the school day. He pulled out a paper birthday cake and laid it on the spot I had cleared. “Happy Birthday Dr. King!” it read.
“Who’s Dr. King?” I asked him.
“Well, he’s a guy that said people could ride on a bus,” Brennan replied.
I was pleased with that answer. Brennan tends to miss the morals of a story and focus on the horrific details.
“Oh!” he exclaimed, “you know what else?”
“What?” I was excited to see him excited.
“He got shot!” And there it was.
“Yeah, I know. That’s very sad,” I answered.
“Do you know what happened to the bad guy?” Brennan asked. “He went to jail. Where’s jail? What do the bad guys eat in jail? Where do they sleep? I wonder-“
“What else did Dr. King do, Brennan?” I asked.
“Do you want me to read the book?” The birthday cake had a book stapled to the bottom of it.
“Sure.” I said and sat down at the kitchen table. It is amazing how far his reading skills have come since the beginning of the school year.
“Dr. King was a preacher at a church,” Brennan began.
“BIRTHDAY CAKE!” It was as if Garrett dropped from the ceiling.
He snatched the paper from Brennan’s hands and began to sing. “Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday to Garrett, happy birthday to-“
“Garrett!” Brennan cried, “It’s not your birthday. “
Brennan grabbed for the paper. Garrett turned away and held the cake up higher than Brennan’s reach.
“Birthday cake! Yummy, yum. I’m going to eat,” Garrett sang as he made an exaggerated display of bringing the cake to his mouth.
“It’s mine!” Brennan hit Garrett in the back. Garrett swung his leg around in a counter attack and kicked Brennan. I stepped between them and grabbed Garrett’s wrist.
“This is Brennan’s homework,” I said to Garrett and took the paper back.
“NOOOOO!” Garrett screamed. He crossed his arms and stomped his right foot. “Humph,” he snorted for added effect.
And then Garrett turned and stomped off towards the stairs. No doubt in a search for another item of Brennan’s that he would wave above his head and begin Round 2.
Brennan turned to the second page. It was a picture of two hands shaking with a dove flying above them.
“He believed that all people should live in peace,” Brennan read.