On the night I finished the book, I pulled into my local grocery store, and sat in my car for about ten minutes, listening to the final chapter. Two young men were getting into the car parked next to me. I remember thinking the one kid was TOO TALL to fit into the cramped back seat...then I realized it was my great-nephew, Parker and his brother Landon.
It was such a fluke meeting. These kids are BUSY...and except for holiday family dinners -- I rarely see them nowadays. They had just eaten Chinese for supper, and were waiting for their parents (who were grocery shopping).
Because the mosquitoes own the night in Iowa -- I got into the front seat of their car, and we had a nice long visit. Parker will be a senior this year. Wow. Where does the time go?
It seems like just yesterday, Parker was a baby, and he came to my house one day every week. It was my Parker Day. For many years, my rule was, "one kid at a time, one day a week..." I enjoy all of my great-nephews and nieces...but Parker was my first.
On this night, Parker was talking about being on the football team, and how important it was to him...and I started telling him about The Boys in the Boat, and how that team experience changed the lives of those 9 young men.
Parker had never heard of the book -- then I said, "It's in my car...and if you will listen to it -- I'd love to take you out to lunch so we can discuss it."
Even though there is a CD player in the car he drives to school, nobody Parker's age listens to CD's. So, ...I wasn't hopeful.
But guess what?? Just a week later -- Parker called me!! He'd listened to the book, AND HE WANTED TO HAVE LUNCH..
|Me and Parker, getting ready to go out for our special book club lunch...|
|We went to Rastrelli's, a wonderful family owned Italian restaurant in Clinton, Iowa.|
Parker never knew a life before cellphones, bottled water and Google. How could he imagine a life without indoor plumbing or a family to care about you...Well -- if you read the book, you know we had a lot to talk about.
|And, seriously-- this is Rastrelli's version of mozzarella sticks? Parker said this lunch was the best food he ever ate in his life.|
|Last week, Parker was on the Homecoming Court. My niece, Nicole, and her husband Bill. With their remarkable oldest son. His name is Parker Martin Kearney -- and he comes in peace. (it's a private joke)....|