The Gift of Time and Experience

“Students, we have time for one more presentation. Chad, can you explain this picture?”

(collective gasp)

Fish Tank & Live Music

“That’s my homework assignment! Remember? You told us:

“So a picture is worth a thousand words?
Songs, with far less words, paint worthy pictures,
And tell stories, like family trees! Deterred?
Don’t be. Trees grow in parks. Take this mixture:

Pictures. Trees. Parks. Families. Territory
Defined. Your assignment? Tell a story.” ~ Chad, with eyes rolled back, a mixture of trying to remember the words, and, “Duh.”

“Where is the park, Chad? The story? Or the families? Or the trees? That’s a horrifying display of dead fish, and a harpist…”

“In Italy. And pee-ew! Stink-a-roo! The picture reminded me of the time I went camping with my friend Cindy at Lassen National Park, and on the way we stopped at the hospital where I was born, for my genealogy research. Photos, records, something. They kept a fish tank in the lobby, where a jazzy combo played ‘Vincent,’ and — ”

“In the hospital?”


“Why not show a picture of that?”

“I have one, but it’s not very good.”

“Let me be the judge of that.”

Fish Tank & Lobby

“That is a far more appropriate picture. The underwater plants resemble trees, plus real trees are visible in the reflection. Lassen counts as the park. There’s a family connection to the story. Change your mind, turn in the second photo instead, and possibly get a passing grade.”

“Thank you, no. I’ll stick with my first photo. I want more than a passing grade.”

“Young man, it may seem we have the same intentions here, but like with marriage vows, our interpretations might prove wildly different. Nevertheless, I will respect your choice. Time and experience often bring knowledge to those who refuse wisdom. At least tell me your song selection is, ‘Vincent.’ ”

“I like the opening ‘Starry, starry night’ line, and that totally connects to my trip to Lassen, but the story in the song doesn’t speak to me. Plus, I couldn’t bring myself to use only one line of the lyrics out of context, like some people.”

“Chad! Behave! What song did you choose?”

” ‘Amazing Grace,’ because the story behind that song represents such a pivotal moment, and that’s what Lassen meant to me. Also, because the harpist at the restaurant played ‘Amazing Grace’ as her first piece, and that’s also what we heard the Elf Man playing when we got to Lassen.”

(sigh) “The ‘Elf Man’?”

“This guy:”

Lassen_Manzanita Lake_Musician

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