Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Power of Words

I was just sitting down to blog about this:

Bush says he gave up golf out of respect for war dead

Last update: May 13, 2008 - 7:41 PM

President Bush said Tuesday that he stopped playing golf in 2003 out of respect for U.S. soldiers killed in the Iraq war.

"I didn't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf," he said in an online interview with Politico magazine and the Internet portal Yahoo. "I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them."

Bush said he made his decision after the August 2003 bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

And I was working myself up into a froth the way I used to in the old days on this blog about war and Bush and similar stupid stuff. I haven't seen something that good in awhile. He gave up golf. How...generous?

But as I was sitting down, John came in to the computer room with his eyes wide and his mouth thin. He had told me, 20 minutes earlier, that the main character in the book he was reading had been injured, but he was pretty sure the guy was going to come out of it OK.

The character? Charley King, age 12, drummer boy of the Pennsylvania 49th during the Civil War. The book was Drums of War, formerly Broken Drum, by Edie Hemingway. It's got everything: a homesick child, a bully-turned-best-friend, and a mystical connection with a grandfather's drum.

Spoiler: Charley dies at Antietam.

John sat down, took a deep breath, and said, "Well, he didn't make it." And he fell apart.

I held his hand and felt like I was asking him about a real friend. "What was his name?" I said. "What was he like?"

John sobbed and sobbed. He pulled himself together, only to lose it again when he told me about Charley. He cried for 10 minutes.

I can't quite draw the connection between Bush giving up golf and John's reaction to this book, but it's in there somewhere.


  1. John for president in 25 years! The kid's got heart.

  2. Oh!!! The wonder of reading, and how terrific it is to connect that way with a character! My son was watching me once, reading and weeping, and he said, "Will reading make me cry like that, Mama?" And I just told him I hoped so because it feels so great to feel so much.

  3. The connection is someone who gets it versus someone who does not.

  4. That's awesome!! I'm so much like that, and was as a child, too. I think I'm gonna go get me that book for Corwin - I'm sure he'll like it (he and I had a good cry when I read him Charlotte's Web).