Dear Jack: You Saved a Cricket, I Saved a Possum

4 years, 8 months. 

Dear Jack,

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Yesterday morning as I was driving you to school, you shared your thoughts with me:

“Daddy, if everybody was vegan and vegetarian, then the animals wouldn’t have to die.”

With a statement like that, an outsider might assume I brainwash you daily with those sorts of thoughts.

But that’s not how I believe in parenting you. I sincerely want you to come to your own conclusions, based on daily observations, regarding the reasons why our family doesn’t eat meat.

I don’t feed you information like this- I only explain it after you think to ask these questions on your own first.

Your epiphany was all your own crafting.

After all, you are truly an animal lover; or at least a stuffed animal lover. Between stuffed animals and Legos, you really don’t play with much else. Those are the things you spend your money on.

My response to your “animals don’t have to die” comment was this:

“Most people still believe that in order to get enough protein, they have to eat meat. But you and I are obvious proof that’s not the case. We’ve lived without meat for years. And we’re both very healthy; as our family doctor has recently confirmed. And that’s why I made that Green Meanie video about it last week.”

I carried our deep discussion with me to work. As I took my first 10 minute walk of the day during a break around 9:00 AM, in which I walked to the end of the cul-de-sac of where I work, I discovered a young possum in a cage trap.

By noon, it was still there, in the horrible summer heat. So I walked into that building and informed the lady at the front desk. She called the building manager, who freed the possum by the time I left work.

Apparently, foxes and possums have been getting into the dumpster behind that building.

But I’m no specist- I don’t care what kind of animal it is: a domesticated dog, a wild dog, or even a lowly scavenger possum…

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I don’t want to see any animal suffer. So I made sure the possum was freed.

When I came home from work, I was excited to share my “I saved a possum!” story with you.

You then shared your own story with me:

“Daddy! I saved a black cricket today. I saw it crawling on the floor in my class at school, so I picked it up and took it outside! And then after my nap, I got to feed our class pet frog two crickets!”

Yes, there is some certain irony in saving one cricket from being stepped on, yet feeding two other crickets to a frog; all in the same day.

Ultimately, you and I share a love to protecting animals.

But really, you rub off on me more than I do you, I think.

Love,

Daddy

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A Snapshot’s Worth a Thousand Words: At My Parents’ House in Alabama

Here are 17 snapshots.  Plus the 301 words in the body of this post, not including this heading.  You’re dealing with around 2001 words, my friends.

Today I’m taking a break from writing to share some random items in my parents’ house in Alabama, where my wife and I spent the weekend.  It’s true that every picture has a story.  And these little stories make up our lives- they make up who we are.  So by looking through these snapshots of the house I grew up in, you’re taking a look into my memory pool- the same one I use to write from.

This is Samantha Shell.  In September, she turned 20 years old.  Samantha is a Cockatiel.

This is one of two windows in my bedroom.  My parents bought that little guitar for me when they went to The Philippines in 1995.

This is my sister’s bedroom, which has recently been transformed into a guest nursery for Baby Jack.

Here is my dad’s 1988 Ford Ranger he bought nearly new.  It’s still his main vehicle.

You never know when you might have to blow your nose while driving to work; less than a 10 minute drive for him.

He put these plastic lizard in the dashboard several years ago.  He says it successfully scares away flies.

This cross used to be dark red and white.  It was crocheted circa 1993 and has been hanging on his mirror since then.

This cross is my Italian grandfather’s.

And it opens up, as my mom demonstrates.

Two monkeys and my sister the ballerina.

Yours truly, from 1986 to 1999.

My parents and I in 1982.

My friend David Smith and I broke this Nashville mug that my dad bought for my mom when he went on a business trip.  We stayed up until after 1 AM to superglue it back together.  I’m not sure that it actually still holds liquid.

Classic frog and shroom.

My sister and I in 1991.

Local newspaper clips on the fridge. Busted!

Double busted!