On November 22nd, I usually call my Honorary Nephew, Bryant to wish him a Happy Birthday. I vividly remember a beautiful sunny day in March, 1990. Bryant's mom was bundling him up and putting him in the stroller, preparing for a visit to SeaWorld- and his six year old sister was indignantly proclaiming "You're keeping us waiting!" to her 4 month old brother.
Time flies, and they grow up SO fast. That adorable little kidster is now in college, and recently hit the midway point between six feet and seven. (Having some familiarity with his Mom's cooking, I'm not at all surprised he reached six foot six, and I won't be the least bit surprised if he doesn't pick up a few *more* inches.) I kid his parents that on the first day of classes K through 12 he no doubt brought all the new kids in school home for cookies. (I mean, if you're a new kid, and you see a guy *that* huge, if you make friends with him, who is gonna mess with you?) He's smart, well-mannered, and kind-hearted (he takes after *both* his parents) and very good looking (he takes after his mom :). I look forward to seeing him again; I just hope he doesn't feel the need to bounce me on *his* knee. I can heard his mom now: "Bryant, put Uncle Kent down!"
I'm glad I've know him, partially because I now have an *entirely* different association with November 22nd than I did for the 26 years before he arrived. On November 22nd, 1963, a fellow 3rd grader named Greg Sopp told me that President Kennedy had been shot. I ignored him. A few minutes later, they let us out of school, and I ran home just as fast as my eight year old legs could carry me, because I as absolutely certain that World War III had begun, and Russian missiles were flying toward Columbus, Ohio. When I got home, and my mother gave me the bad news from Dallas, for about a second, I felt profound relief. President Kennedy was dead, but I wasn't going to die that day. This is still a dangerous world, but as least today's gradeschoolers don't have to deal with that kind of fear.