The tale of an old soul
The Ceremonious Goodbye to a Faithful Pair of Jeans
Even a small child can cast a voluminous shadow filled with dignity and respect. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping an open mind.
Coming in at an average height and weight, with his dark hair cut short, wearing a pair of jeans, a t-shirt and a ball cap, Wesley seems every ounce like a typical little boy. Looks can be deceiving.
Practical thinking began functioning early on in this child’s mind. In spite of being secure in his own opinions, Wesley’s convictions have always been considerate of the rest of the story.
Reason was capable of changing his stance. He was sure of himself, but yet possessed an innate understanding that knowledge is not finite.
My husband learned about my nephew’s distinctive trait over a piece of peanut butter pie at a quaint little diner on the main street of a small Kansas town. Wesley was dubious. He peered at the alleged pie resting on the small plate, fairly certain his taste buds would reject this concoction that dared to fly in the face of conventional fruit offerings.
“You don’t have to eat a whole bite of it. Just put a little on the tines of the fork and see if you like it,” my husband suggested, having not thought this all the way through to its potential conclusion.
You could read Wesley’s face like a book. He believed strongly in his dislike of this crazy pie he had never before seen or tried, but the request was a reasonable one.
He agreed to the terms with a silent nod and opened his mind to new information. My husband lost half of his pie that night to a little boy who discovered learning can be delicious.
Wesley was a miniature version of his grandpa, through and through. Same look, same interests, same mannerisms. The prime targets of their attention were anything with wheels, a motor and a utilitarian usefulness. Tractors, trucks, skid loaders, front loaders, lawnmowers … to name a few.
In the winter months this pair of comrades would head out the door with purpose, geared up in jeans, a button-down flannel shirt with two pockets, of course, and a matching pair of tan coveralls. Seeing their interaction was fascinating and adorable. Their branches of the family tree ran parallel to each other; the older and stronger branch protectively covering the younger and eager branch growing below.
Summers were similar, minus the tan coveralls and substituting the warmth of flannel for a cooler, short sleeved shirt. During one particular summer, weekends with grandpa began with grandma.
Holding his favorite pair of jeans with both hands and presenting the worn denim up to his grandma, Wesley would gently ask, “Grandma, could you please patch my torn jeans?”
No self-respecting grandma would ever turn down such young pleas for assistance. And so, the jeans were patched again and again and again.
As hard as she tried to extend the life of the beloved old jeans, the day arrived when the request could not be granted. She had to tell him it was over. Her voice filled with compassion as she broke the news to him.
“Wesley, I’m afraid I can’t fix them this time. There’s no material left to repair and patching the patches together isn’t going to hold. I know how much you love these jeans, but I can’t save them.”
Wesley listened to her words without argument. The rational facts of the situation were undeniable. Sadness and acceptance manifested on his face not in tears, but in solemn respect for a loyal member of the team.
This ordinary pair of denim pants had protected him well throughout his outdoor adventures with grandpa. The rips and stains were remnants of how this uniform stood between him and the rugged elements of sun, snow, rain, dirt and machinery.
Wesley has always been reasonable.
Slowly and carefully, Wesley ceremoniously folded the jeans for the last time. With a solemn deliberateness he carried the neatly arranged jeans to the trash can and respectfully laid them to rest with a gentleness befalling a loyal friend.
The perfect dignified goodbye for a trusted companion.
Life can take its toll on rational thinking. Maturity often weakens the fortitude to keep an open mind. Understanding the value of consideration and the limitations of one’s own knowledge requires a humbling grace.
Wesley is a grown man now, a loving husband and a virtuous role model for his children. He still visits his grandma, helping her with whatever she needs fixed and reminding her of how much he learned from his grandpa.
A typical young man living an ordinary life, still wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a ball cap. As he continues to travel through life’s peaks and valleys, I hope he remembers that reasonable little boy seeking knowledge through the power of a considerate mind.
Perception is only the beginning, a description for all to see. The rest of the story lies deeper.
Let’s Talk for a Minute:
Are reasonable people the result of nature or nurture?
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