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i was walking anthony to school. to get there we walk down a long, wide grass median filled with tall, mature trees. it is flanked on either side by 80 year old tile-roofed, brick homes. it is a picturesque start to my day and extra so when i'm holding hands with my bright-eyed and chatty four year old. we've travelled the route enough that anthony knows where each tree is that he can reach when riding on my shoulders. he also knows where the acorns are deep and he can pretend to roller skate on them (largely due to the safety of holding my hand while his body slips and twist on the small and unpredictable orbs).

towards the end of the greenway there is a knee-high, decorative rock nestled between some shrubs and has a patina-green plaque fixed to its face. it is a stone memorial to a woman who used to live in the neighborhood. when anthony saw the back of the rock, he pertly said he was going to go see if the words were still on it and ran ahead. as he rounded the other side, he excitedly proclaimed, "they are! they are! the words are still there!" as i caught up he was studying the plaque and asked what the words said. i read aloud, "IN LOVING MEMORY OF LISHA GAYLE - FROM HER FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS."

ANTHONY
who was she?

TROY
someone who lived in the neighborhood.

ANTHONY
why'd she move away?

TROY
i don't think she did. i think she passed away. i think she died.

ANTHONY
how did she die?

TROY
i don't know.

ANTHONY
i think she tripped on this rock.

sometimes it's hard to know if kids help or hinder the mourning process ... and other times their role is infinitely apparent.

NOV2010

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