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That Old Roy Magic

woods drive florence sc

I am deaf. DEAF, I TELL YOU. I am at Dad’s, forcing him to actually help make a plan for our March-April jaunt to the Natchez Trace. For the next two days, here’s how every conversation will go:

“Those people who read your writing, they think I was handsome, don’t they?”

“Sure, Dad.”

“Huh???”

“I SAID YES, DAD!!!!!”

“Well, I was, and I knew I was.”

“WHATEVER, DAD!!!!”

At least, I know why Roy is deaf.

He NEVER turns off the television. NEVER EVER. I sat on the sofa in the den, typing with ear plugs inserted, lest I suffer from hearing loss usually associated with Metallica concerts. Jet engines. Explosions.

After two hours, I couldn’t take it anymore.Β I headed out for my daily walk.Β I’m putting in anywhere from five to twelve miles a day right now, with one rest day per week, in preparation for my March/early April 444 mile walk of the Natchez Trace.

I stomped out of the house where I grew up. Hung a right at the end of the concrete driveway.

And, I was nine again, just like my character Emmaline.

My feet pounded the pavement toward my childhood friend’s house two blocks away. I juggled Barbie dolls by their hair and dropped microscopic shoes, my mind whirring with stories of what Barbie and Ken might do together when I finally got there. Would they stay boyfriend and girlfriend, or would my Donny Osmond doll steal Barbie’s heart with his purple leisure suit and polyester socks? Would Barbie lust after my friend’s Ken doll, because he was complete with his original swim trunks, while my Ken had to cover up with clothes that didn’t belong to him?

A trek that took forever when I was nine turned into eight minutes yesterday. I stood in front of the house where we played. Our ghostly voices shrieked in the back yard. I could almost see the room where I first heard the Beatles and danced to Saturday Night Fever. That house was magical when I was nine.

It was just as magical yesterday.

Can you still see the world through a child’s eyes? Do you think it’s important to try sometimes?

To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis. By Andra Watkins. Coming March 1, 2014.

Several readers have contacted me about walking a bit of the Natchez Trace with me. If you are interested in doing a sliver of the trip between March 1 and April 3, please let me know in a comment or message me via e-mail at andra(at)positusonline(dot)com. I’d love to have the company for a mile or several.

73 Comments Post a comment
  1. Andra, I would love to walk with you but the task of getting there is going to interfere with this thing called work. 😦 I will be there with you in spirit though. I think that your journey is going to be awesome. I am glad you are doing it.

    January 7, 2014
    • I was surprised that anyone wanted to do it, James. One reader has already purchased plane tickets for the end of the trip. Meaning I HAVE to finish. πŸ™‚

      January 7, 2014
      • Yeah I wish I had the sort of job I could do remotely because it would be fun to roll out with you

        January 7, 2014
    • Who knows, Kenneth? Maybe you will by then. πŸ™‚

      January 7, 2014
  2. Now you must know that my cameras are nagging me to find a way to do this…

    January 7, 2014
  3. Still, you dad makes me laugh. How funny that he never turns the tv off. Trying to see the world through a child’s eyes is part of the challenge of writing my memoir.

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    January 7, 2014
    • I sometimes feel like I spend too much time seeing the world like a child, but it looks a little better that way. πŸ™‚ (I already cannot count how many times I have seen the freaking Life Lock commercial……….)

      January 7, 2014
  4. Our adult minds seem to remember extremes – so if you remember something today that was magical, it was most likely just a normal day. Same thing for bad things (well maybe not as much with the bad because of their long lasting impact on people).

    But I still believe in fairy tales and magic wands – it’s just that my wand needs to go to the repair shop because it doesn’t do a thing I want it to do when I wave it.

    January 7, 2014
    • That I can remember anything is magical at this point. Ha. Here’s to finding a wand repair shop.

      January 7, 2014
  5. No, Barbie! Don’t fall for Donny!

    I try not to relive my childhood too much. There’s plenty best left forgotten.

    January 7, 2014
    • I remember so much that was good. Even many of the bad things are very funny now.

      My Barbie fell for Donny all the time. Probably because I loved him so much.

      January 7, 2014
      • Were your parents aware that Donny O was Mormon? Oh, the shame of it all.

        January 7, 2014
    • Yes. Mom knew it. I remember thinking if he could have multiple wives, maybe I would have a chance someday. Ha.

      January 7, 2014
  6. You are fortunate to still be able to relive your past in its original venue. That is something that is no longer available for me.

    I do sometimes go back in my mind and remember how things were when I was a child. I end up smiling at the young [studious] version of me from the perspective of the old [relaxed] version of me. I took things much too seriously back then.

    January 7, 2014
    • I was so regimented when I was younger, too. I planned everything to the hilt. I can be pretty organized now when I have to be, but I’m much better at going with the flow now.

      January 7, 2014
  7. You are more def than deaf.

    January 7, 2014
    • Ha. Thank you. Day number two may make me more deaf than def.

      January 7, 2014
  8. What would happen, and I am not advocating this for fear of loss of life, but what would happen if you just reached over and turned his television off? What would he do?

    I know where you are coming from though, both my parents and Nancy’s parents have their televisions on all the time. All. The. Time. I just don’t understand it. And then my father is says I am being rude by looking down at my phone. Excuse me? You have the television on and blaring so loud that no one can hear themselves think, much less talk. I have to look at my phone so that I can text with my daughter who is sitting across the room. It is the only way we can communicate since … THE TELEVISION IS ON.

    OK, done ranting now.

    I hate those damned things.

    January 7, 2014
    • Turn it right back on. That’s what he’d do. Plus, he guards the remote with his life. I’d have to unplug the thing………heeheehee, maybe I should unplug it when he goes to Starbucks. When he gets home, he might think it’s broken.

      January 7, 2014
  9. My Dad never turns off the TV either – unless the radio is on full blast. Sometimes he’ll have both going at once. Drives my Mom nuts. We play the “Dad loves me best” game based on how long we can sleep in the morning before the TV wakes us up. 6am is a little early for me.

    January 7, 2014
    • Sigh. I know. I kept the door closed and my head covered up, but I still heard the thing this am. Dad had the tv on and the computer going showing the ball game last night. I felt schizo.

      January 7, 2014
  10. Laura, my lovely wife, says I am a child.

    January 7, 2014
  11. Jim Kane #

    I understand the conversational issue quite well. My mom, who came through two major cardiac procedures last year, was told of hearing loss a few months ago. She was miffed and refused to get hearing aids. So I avoid the 7 to 8 PM hour at her house as I refuse to talk over Alex and Pat on TV! πŸ™‚ Best wishes on your walk!

    Regards

    Jim

    January 7, 2014
    • Dad has hearing aids but refuses to wear them. He even got new molds for his ears yesterday, and I was like, “LET’S ATTACH THESE RIGHT NOW SO I DON’T HAVE TO SCREAM AT YOU!!!” And he just walked off and forgot about them. I feel your pain, Jim.

      January 7, 2014
      • Jim Kane #

        And I yours!

        Jim

        January 7, 2014
  12. When I drive through my old neighborhood I have that same feeling. My parents still live in the house I grew up in.

    Kids don’t roam the neighborhood like I remember from when I was a kid.

    January 7, 2014
    • They really don’t here, either. There are a couple next door, and they like to come visit Mom.

      January 7, 2014
  13. The movie Saving Mr. Banks is a great illustration of seeing through a child’s eyes. This led P.L.Travers to write Mary Poppins.

    January 7, 2014
    • I haven’t seen it yet. I have quite a long movie-viewing list right now.

      January 7, 2014
  14. wonderful post, i love the ongoing loud tv, like a soundtrack in his life. love the childhood memories, and think it’s important to feel and remember like a child at times.

    January 7, 2014
    • I can’t write without being childish…….in a good way.

      January 7, 2014
  15. You bring back such memories! The Donny Osmond doll. I’m sure I had one of those. πŸ™‚
    I so love this post. Thank you for reminding us all to keep the child within us alive (but not acting childish :-D)

    January 7, 2014
    • I adored Donny and Marie. My mom probably still has those dolls somewhere.

      January 7, 2014
  16. My in laws each have a TV and one is on Fox and one is on CNN–all the time. “Tis hard to hear over them to be sure. Since I don’t go to the upstairs FROG where Bill’s dad hangs, I don’t hear that one. I usually just get the remote and turn it off or hit mute.

    I do remember my childhood, but whether or not I can really experience life today as a child is more complex.

    When I used to get sick at school and Mama would come get me to take me home, I always marveled at the cars and people on the streets…I had that strange feeling of seeing something hidden and secret…and sometimes I still feel that when I see or hear bits of things in nature that I know most don’t attend to…that’s my way to re-experience childhood awe.

    January 7, 2014
    • I used to do the same thing, Cheryl. I felt like I could see magical things. It still happens sometimes. I’m glad I’m not alone. πŸ™‚

      January 7, 2014
  17. Sadly, I remember very little “seeing the world through a child’s eyes.” I recall being mostly a people-pleaser as a child; well-behaved (I think the term when I was young was “ladylike”), regimented, level-headed, no nonsense . . . Looking back, I’ve generally always understood why I was/am that person, but I feel I missed a lot.

    I think your ability to project such joy about life rubs off a bit, and it’s one (of many) of the things that keeps me coming back here. πŸ™‚

    January 7, 2014
    • It is a joy about life attitude, isn’t it? Kids seem to have joy about everything, because they don’t yet know what life can do to them on a bad day. I’m glad I succeed at projecting that.

      January 7, 2014
  18. My dad and Roy would get along just fine. TV is on 24/7 and my dad would happily spend all day, every day on the couch if he could.

    January 7, 2014
    • I’m on the couch watching tv with Roy right now. I finally got him to turn the volume down……..seeing him interact with your dad would likely be very entertaining.

      January 7, 2014
      • Holy shit, can you imagine the struggle for control of the remote? My dad carries his around on those rare occasions that he must leave the couch.

        January 7, 2014
      • Dad never lets anyone touch his. He went to the bathroom earlier today, and I turned it off while he was gone. πŸ™‚ I’d really love to see that fight. Ha.

        January 7, 2014
      • I’d buy tickets to that.

        January 7, 2014
  19. You do know Roy has plans for that trip you have not dreamed of, right? Yeah, you’ll have a time keeping track of him:

    That and you can’t get away with ONLY posting music from Saturday Night Fever, missy. You need to get people up off their butts and dancing (and laughing) at the greatness that is Travolta:

    I tend to drop anything I’m doing if this film is on and that scene is close. Even the worst day I’ve had was kicked into a new sort of thing after this. Eyes of a child? Not so much. Brain of a very disturbed person? Check!

    January 7, 2014
    • Dad has already highjacked my trip with a side jaunt to some friend of his from high school…….just because she remembered his nickname from that era…………

      January 7, 2014
  20. tarakianwarrior #

    What a lovely memory! Childlike glee…that’s where you took me. πŸ˜€

    January 7, 2014
  21. I would come and walk with you in a heartbeat if I lived anywhere close. Instead, can I be one of your cheerleaders?

    January 7, 2014
    • Cheerleaders are the best. I don’t really expect anyone to do it, but when several people expressed interest, I wanted to make sure people knew they could.

      January 7, 2014
  22. My parents also always have the television on at full blast. ALWAYS. And then they complain that they have to yell for the other one to pay attention. What is with those cats?

    January 7, 2014
    • I’m sitting here on the computer now, while Dad watches some hunting show…….AND HE DOESN’T EVEN HUNT…….And, he will look at me every so often and say, “You’re still on the computer? You’re addicted to that thing, Andra.”

      January 7, 2014
  23. I’d come down if I could, Andra. It’s for the best that I can’t. I’d fall down a ravine or trip over a tree root. I’ll be rooting you on, though.

    Yes. I can still see the world through a child’s eyes, much to the glee of my granddaughter. I enjoyed taking that walk with you and Barbie and Donny.

    January 7, 2014
    • I will surely trip multiple times, Penny. But I have to agree with you, having read several episodes on your blog. πŸ™‚ Hope you and Tom are warm tonight.

      January 7, 2014
  24. I think it’s important to see through a child’s eye…I’m relearning it..hopefully ..though at times it’s a little tough.

    January 7, 2014
  25. Childhood stories are always nice πŸ™‚

    Maybe he needs a better sound system for his tv, if it sounds clearer, maaaybe he wont need to turn it up so much.

    Theres also the headphones options, but I guess he should ask the ear doctor about it.
    I use big wireless ones, you can easily move around and still perfectly hear, my cat loves the relative silence.

    January 7, 2014
    • He won’t wear the headphones. Mom bought him some, and he refuses to use them……..or anything that will help.

      January 8, 2014
  26. Playing with my nieces and nephews reopens that whole world… just over Christmas we all went upstairs and turned out the lights and played Hide and Go Seek In The Dark– which I absolutely LOVED as a child. It was such a simple thrill.

    January 7, 2014
    • It doesn’t take long to feel childlike when we play with kids. How old are they?

      January 8, 2014
      • I have ten of them! Ranging in age from 6 months to 13 years! Magic πŸ™‚

        January 8, 2014
    • That’s awesome, Aussa. Plenty of inspiration to see the world through their eyes.

      January 9, 2014
  27. You’ll have to get Roy a Wrist-Watch TV so he doesn’t miss any of his favorite shows!

    I SAID, YOU’LL HAVE TO GET ROY A WRIST-WATCH TV!!! :mrgreen:

    January 8, 2014
    • He doesn’t have any favorite shows. I figured that out over the past three days. He just watches anything.

      January 9, 2014
  28. My mom is going through the same thing. I feel your pain.

    January 8, 2014
  29. I loved Saturday Night Fever, Andra. I am so tickled you like it, too. I would have thought perhaps that one would have eluded you! πŸ™‚ The walk is so exciting and it’s a thrill to see the announcement of your book–complete with a date! What an exciting spring. ox

    January 8, 2014
    • My spring is going to be the Exhausted Spring. Ha. But I’m very excited about it.

      January 9, 2014
  30. Hi Andra,

    I found these couple of sentences intriguing, and I quote from what you have written.

    ” At least, I know why Roy is deaf.He NEVER turns off the television. NEVER EVER.”

    You seem to be satisfied with ‘knowing’ the cause of Roy’s deafness. But have you ever thought of what could be behind Roy NEVER turning off ( or wanting to turn off) the TV?

    Shakti

    January 9, 2014
  31. I am ashamed to say I would have to look up where the Natchez Trace is, but it does sound intriguing. There is a Natchez Trace State park in TN. Re whether we should still try to see the world through a child’s eyes? My answer is that we should never STOP seeing the world through a chid’s eyes.

    January 9, 2014
    • It runs from Natchez MS to Nashville TN. And, I agree. πŸ™‚

      January 9, 2014
  32. This is me, wondering why it doesn’t go through North Dakota!

    January 16, 2014

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