Too Many Calvins, No Hobbes

At lunch today, our sixth grader quoted Calvin and Hobbes for the millionth time.

“It’s funny. Every time I build character, he saves a couple hundred bucks.”

He knows the comic strip so well that he can now take a real one (like that one) and alter it slightly to fit the current circumstance so that you don’t know if it’s Bill Waterson’s version or his. He uses it most often at the expense of his parents… always grinning… blue eyes twinkling… somehow coming off as innocent… like Calvin.

Laughing, I pointed out that the benefit of reading the same thing over and over is that you can quote it at just the right moment.

“That’s because Calvin and Hobbes is the perfect guide to childhood,” added his big brother.

“Many before you would say that’s what the Bible is for,” said Dad.

“But you are such a Calvin,” we all agreed of the sixth grader.

“What about me?” asked his little brother.

“You’re Calvin too.”

“Then who’s Hobbes?”

Silence.

“Dad?”

Nope. Another Calvin at the table.

Gettysburg Left an Impression

On July 3, 1863, Robert E. Lee’s command, a Confederate General named George Pickett attacked the Union center at Gettysburg with thousands of men. The fire from that many guns was seen for miles. But in a surprising turn of events, the Union Army stood its ground with most of Pickett’s soldiers surrendered, killed or wounded. A turning point in a war that seemed never-ending.

During the spring of 2015, my sixth grader visited the scene of that carnage, walking the grassy field where all those young men fought, reading the inscriptions on stone markers and monuments, looking for our last name on the lists of the dead.

At the same time, he was obsessed with Calvin and Hobbes, a favorite comic strip from my own childhood.

And from that merging of pathways in his brain, connected only by the moment in time, he has concocted a plan.

When we go to Buffalo this Christmas, with the expectation of much snow, he is preparing to build a reenactment of Pickett’s Charge out of snowmen.

And as he fills us in on this snowman battleground based in American history – how on the hill from the Buffalo farmhouse to the pond, he will post snow-artillerymen as if it were Cemetery Ridge, 1863 – I cannot help but admire his creativity, smarts and ceaseless energy.

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