News and Tribune

June 10, 2013

CUMMINS: A little child shall lead them

By TERRY CUMMINS
Local columnist

In Isaiah 11:6, we find, “The wolf shall also dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” 

What did Isaiah know? In his poem, “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold,” Wordsworth wrote, “The Child is the father of the Man.” Isaiah and Wordsworth were both wrong, I think.

My heart used to leap up, too, at rainbows and girls out picking daffodils. However, if you are aged, and your heart leaps too far, hope someone is there to dial 911.

 Per the commandments, I grew up obeying my elders, and they led me in the way I should go until I went out into the cruel world on my own. When I got there, I didn’t know which way to go because there was no one to lead me. I tried following the government, but they couldn’t lead a horse to green pastures or restful waters. If you follow Congress, you will fear being led in the only direction they know, in a shadow in the valley of despair.  

When I grew into manhood and began my responsibility of propagating the earth, I led my children, their children and am now leading their children on Skype. I used to sit at the feet of my elders, absorbing wisdom. Did it take? Some did. I remember my grandfather telling me, “Son, never shoe a stud horse when a mare is in heat.” And I remember him repeating something about sweat dropping down a brow.

I was led before computers and hyperlinks. Families back then were not as hyper as they are now, but were hyperlinked like fiddle strings to each other. But then, it was a television in each room, and then each family member had to have a “personal” computer. I remember when we had just one. That’s when my family showed the first signs of hyperactivity. I will say that if individuals are provided with enough gadgets, they will withdraw from society, and it’s the only time you’ll ever get any solitude.

We had friends back in the old days — some dear. George was dear, but he retired to Arizona. He recently came back to see me, and we relived the unbelievably good old days. Those days get better with age. You forget so much. We were having a grand time until George showed me his new iThing. He always liked to keep up with latest to stay ahead of the game. He had been a basketball coach and knew that you can’t score by freezing the ball. George fast broke when he needed to. He believed in staying perched on the cutting edge, no matter how sharp it was.

He said, “My new tablet thing here has my books in it. Let me show you.” He explained that never again would he have to carry bulky books. He could read the Library of Congress, anywhere and anytime. His new nerdy accomplishment made him very happy, but he became extremely morose when his book wouldn’t come up on the screen. He poked and tried every Apple thing he knew. Seeing a dear friend in distress, I felt so sorry for him.

Any true friend comes to the aid of a friend in anguish. I said, “George, here’s what I do when the computer gives me fits. I go outside and, if I see a kid go by on a skateboard or bicycle, I stop him with a $5 bill in my hand. Kids now don’t shoot basketball all day like you and I did.”

It worried me that he had to leave in a tormented state of mind. He had to rush to a dinner with a family in another town. I asked, “They’ve got kids, don’t they?” He knew what I meant. “Drive carefully,” I said, “and put that tablet in the trunk.”

A few hours later, the phone rang. “Hey, Terry!” It was the George I knew. Bliss engulfed him, but computers don’t care if you’re blissful or not, though they’re working on programming emotion into hard drives. He said, “Nine-year-old Justin had my book up in 15 seconds. He right clicked something.” 

Happiness is knowing what to click. Someday, a wolf shall lie down with a lamb, and a little child will lead them. Talk about hearts leaping up.

— Contact Terry Cummins at TLCTLC@AOL. com