‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘is for Travis.
If a remake of The Andy Griffith Show were made today, my grandson, Travis, would be cast as Opie. He’s cute. He’s funny. He’s ten years old. He’s what I see when I think of John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Barefoot Boy.”
Travis is smart. His mother might say “too smart for his own good.” I’m his grandfather. I don’t have to go there. I’m impressed by what he knows and how he knows it. “Papa Dennis,” he said one morning last January, “the temperature’s below zero in Chicago.”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“It was on the news.”
“Really,” I said.
“Yeah,” he said. “It’s the first time the temperature dropped below zero in 711 days.”
Mr. Personality, Travis engages everyone in conversation. If he knows you, he knows your interests. He knows I enjoy travel and that I was in New York City last September. Last night we were seated next to each other in the back seat of the car. “Papa Dennis,” he said, “I’ve been to New York; but, I haven’t been to New York City.”
“Maybe you’ll have a chance to go there sometime,” I said.
“I read on the Internet there’s a lot you can do for free there,” he said. “I’d like to explore that.”
If the conversation is about football or baseball, be prepared. He knows players, numbers, scores, statistics.
Enthusiastic, in the moment, up for anything, he’s pure of heart and guileless. Blond hair, blue eyes, freckles, he is The Barefoot Boy.
Outward sunshine, inward joy:
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy!
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