Sometimes I don’t think. I always feel but sometimes I just don’t think. It is common for me to drive right past the entrance to a restaurant two or three times before it dawns on me what I am doing. I sort of “feel” my way through life and forget to think.
I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. One summer I worked for a couple weeks on the farm with grandpa. He was mostly a thinker… a real good thinker. That summer I think he took on the proect of making me think some.
In the morning we would run the lines down at the pond to see if we got any fish during the night then we would do the chores. After the chores we would sit down to breakfast. Grandpa would go over the day’s work and expect me to remember the details and the sequence of the work. Usually I would forget…just too many wonderful distractions everywhere I looked. Too many things to feel to do much thinking.
One day over lunch Grandpa went over the afternoon work. I paid little attention. I was distracted by fried catfish, fried mushrooms, and fried puffballs. I was distracted by piles of buttery-fresh calico sweet corn crisp from the garden. I was distracted by garden ripe fresh tomatoes. I gave lunch my full attention. Between Grandpa and me we turned a huge platter of sweet corn into a pile of furry cobs, cleaned up, and headed for the afternoon work.
Grandpa got up in the tractor seat. I jumped on the wagon. He started the tractor?I whistled for the dogs. I leaned my head back and smelled the good farm air. My stomach was full, my heart was light and all was right with the world. I forgot what grandpa said we were supposed to be doing?but that didn’t matter. I was a fifteen year old boy in the farm with an afternoon of work and an evening of fishing ahead of me. At night would lay on the porch in awe of the night sky. When I was too tired to stay awake I would lay in the upstairs bedroom with the widow open to the cool night and smell the new-mown hay or the lilac on the breeze.
Grandpa throttled up the old Ford 9-N, let out the clutch, and drove away. The wagon didn’t move. He was going up to bring down a load of hay so he pulled the pin on the drawbar on the way in to eat lunch. When he drove away the wagon tongue just fell to the ground. I stood on the wagon watching the tractor pull away. I jumped down and ran to catch up. I grabbed both fenders and jumped up onto the towbar. Grandpa chuckled– “You need to pay attention and plan ahead a little, Kenny,” he said.
I’ve been working on that now for about thirty years, but I am still a better feeler than a thinker. I would rather be that way then like some people I know. They think a lot but don’t seem to feel much of anything. If they feel anything you really can’t tell by looking at them. I suppose it’s best to do some of both. Feelers ought to work on thinking and thinkers should think about feelings sometimes. Come to think of it thinking and feeling are both a big part of living. At least that’s how I feel about it.
At a park overlooking a lake in Genesee County Michigan on Sunday afternoon
July 25, 200