Kevin is at Sarello’s, a wonderful eating establishment in Fargo, and I am at home, the best place to be to chat with my son. He calls while nursing a glass of wine and a half hour or so before others join him.
I’ve learned that a call from Kevin isn’t a fleeting thing; like the fine wines he prefers, it requires time to savor. Our conversations wind around the paths of daily activities, how our lives ebb and flow, his teaching, my efforts at publishing, his running or recent lack thereof due to a fractured pelvis, my medical attempts to be cancer free.
Tonight we talked about our childhoods and the books we remember that relate to them. I recalled Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series and Lucy M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. He listed others that weren’t even written when I was young. But we both glommed onto Charlotte’s Web even though we’re different generations. We remembered how we reacted when Charlotte, that wonderful spider, died. E.B.White must have been part of our extended gene pool.
I always learn what Kevin’s doing, what he’s thinking and feeling. But we often veer into literature, and that’s where I become truly educated. I asked him who his favorite authors were; in true fashion, he said they were the ones he’s teaching now in his class on the absurd. Kafka and others I’m not familiar with. He doesn’t ask what my favorites are. After all, he’s the professor and is used to offering pronouncements. But I’m prone to interrupting.
For the record I’m currently advocating Richard Russo, a master of the small town dynamic, and Anita Shreve, who runs hot and cold but has the distinction of writing the only novel that was ruined by my habit of reading the last page first. Email me at email@example.com if you want to know what book that was.