Just Saying


Sue Lile Inman '58


“Say what you will, Mom, at the end of the day, it is what it is--” Henry spouts this b.s. with his mouth full.  I resist admonishing, Don’t talk with your mouth full.  We’re sitting on a gorgeous mountain side well away from the group, eating the picnic I packed and carried in my backpack all the way up:  two cans of Vienna sausages (used to be his favorite), a sleeve of saltine crackers, sardines in mustard sauce (my ophthalmologist advocates eating sardines to improve eyesight), two fresh peaches cut up and sealed in plastic bags, raw carrots--cut just the way Henry used to like in his school lunch every day.

            I say Hmmm, non-committal enough to give me time to decipher what in heaven’s name he’s talking about.  After all, I haven’t seen my son for months that’s turned into years.  He’s tall as ever with a full head of dark blond hair although his once clean-shaven face now sports a mustache and something of a beard and his midsection seems decidedly thicker than I remember.     He’s ranting on about the amendment that guarantees his and every other red-blooded American man the right to own, hoard, and carry guns.  Even automatic weapons.

            “So I wrote my congressman.  You know, Mom, the fact of the matter is there’s been a paradigm shift.  We must defend ourselves.  No one-- Yada yada yada...”

            I yawn, open another Vienna sausage can and the sardines, place the crackers near him and say, “Henry, son,  don’t have a conniption fit.  You’re preaching to the choir.”

            “What?  Mom, you can’t keep ignoring the elephant in the room.  The government wants to register guns so they can confiscate our weapons.  And don’t call me Henry.  I’m Hank now and have been for five years.  And why did you bring such smelly food?  We’re going to attract bears.”

            “Relax, Henry--er Hank, this is what we’ve always enjoyed together.  Remember before you left for 3500 miles away, even after college and your first girl friend.”

            “Hold the bus.  Mom, why’d you say--‘preaching to the choir?’”

            “Darling, bless your heart.  I have a license to carry and it’s a good thing--because yonder comes a black bear with her young’un.”

            Henry jumps up and shouts, “Stand tall as you can.  Don’t run.  Make loud noises.”

            The bears continue to amble and sway in our direction, as if they might be near-sighted and in need of sardines.

            Henry says, “Man, that sucks.”

             So I reach into my handy-dandy backpack, pull out my Magnum 38 and shoot toward the oncoming furry beasts.  Not bad.  Close enough.

            The black bears, mother and son, stop, turn and waddle into the forest below.

            “Mom, let me look at your weapon.  Sweet.  My mom carries.  How cool is that?”

He whips out his phone and snaps my picture.  “Just wait.  I’ll post them on Facebook.  And you can read my tweets on Twitter.”

            “Your what?  Henry, er Hank, you’ll do what?”

            “I’m just saying.”