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"Crazy" Can Be a Good Thing

November 17, 2004

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I've been in a quiet mood lately and listened to the show from what I like to call the "library." It's really just a spare room off the living room with a desk and a wall full of books and two windows with neither curtains nor blinds. The walls are paneled and it's warm, and when I stay up late and sit near the window I kind of enjoy how people driving by slow down to see what I'm up to. Sometimes they honk and I wave. Usually I'm reading or mending the kids' clothes. They tend to tear their clothes when they're on the trampoline and I find sewing to be rather relaxing so don't think I'm complaining.

So the show was on and there was gospel music and Prudence with her folk song about an old rocking chair. When I was young I had a friend named Daniel whose father made rocking chairs out in their barn. Daniel and I would sit on hay bales and watch until our backs got tired or we got bored. Then we'd run out across the pasture to the old silo where we went to talk or just fall asleep when the day was hot. Sometimes Daniel brought his French horn along and played songs he just made up on the spot. "This one's called 'Lavender,’" he'd say and then he'd close his eyes and play for a long, long time and I’d just listen. There was nothing at all like the sound of that horn echoing in that silo. Some people said you could hear it in town as far as the post office if the wind blew just right.

People thought Daniel was crazy. Some of the mothers shook their heads and the kids at school called him names. They laughed at the way he wrote on his forearms and how he got that nervous tic in his eye when he had to stand in front of class and give a speech on how to build a birdhouse. Mr. Simmons, our social studies teacher, was always telling him to pull himself together. I didn't think he was crazy. He was the only person I could talk to without being interrupted. Sometimes we didn't talk at all. We just sat there on the dock or the steps and chewed on grass. And we had the same favorite foods. Rainbow trout cooked over a fire, and deep-fried cheese curds at the county fair. The last time I saw Daniel he was laughing and waving a white towel on a stick from the passenger side of a moving van. I waved back. And I kept waving until the truck went over the water tower hill and out of sight.

You know, I was tempted to say I haven't thought about Daniel in a long time. But that isn't true. I've never stopped thinking about him, and how a little "crazy" can be a good thing.

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