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Dear Garrison, Our family of

June 28, 2006 |

Dear Garrison,
Our family of four traveled from Riverside to the Hollywood Bowl for an evening none of us will ever forget (that is, until we get forgetful). Thanks so much!

There was a line in the show about silver-haired fathers, at which point my daughter Claire (age 9) hugged me (I'm 61) with that kind of tight hug of a child's love that surely added two years to my life.

My older daughter Anna (age 11, and an avid reader) remarked on the long drive home, as she munched on leftovers from our picnic, that she was having her first midnight snack. My wife Susan --from Minneapolis-- extolled the genius of Meryl Streep and your wisdom about men.

Meanwhile, I was thinking of rural Illinois and your story about manure spreaders, something I know about. It was a brilliant stroke to fuse the image of the traditional manure spreader with that of the septic tank pumper truck. But should you choose to use this image again, might I dare make a suggestion: If manure is to be shot from a nozzle at so many gallons per minute, it would be more accurate to speak of "hydrogenated manure," wouldn't it? To old, no-longer-bachelor farmers, these details matter.

Devotedly,

David G.
Riverside, CA

Glad that you and your brood enjoyed the show, sir, and that "Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine" moved your daughter Claire to hug you. I can imagine that an impromptu hug from a little girl made the evening for you. And yet, even in that state of dizzy pleasure, you listened with a discerning ear to the story about the posse on the honey truck chasing down the vandals who beat on mailboxes with baseball bats and firing pig manure out of a cannon, and you make the editorial suggestion of "hydrogenated manure." This is the sort of suggestion that the late William Shawn of The New Yorker delighted in, ever seeking to make things clearer, and it's the sort of suggestion that I the writer reject. I think the term "hydrogenated manure" only causes a little blip of a question mark in the listener's mind, and when you have manure shooting out of a cannon at a truckload of miscreants with baseball bats, you don't want the listener to be distracted. The manure is obviously liquefied in order to be shot from a cannon, and that implication is all you need. Or so I would argue. But now you've made me curious and I will have to look into it further.

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